Grace Cottage prepares for COVID-19
This illustration reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Grace Cottage prepares for COVID-19

TOWNSHEND — Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital has had plans in place since January to address the situation if the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 becomes widespread in this area.

According to a news release, initial preparation began in late January with signage about this new coronavirus at all entrances on the hospital's campus. Using standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Grace Cottage also developed and implemented a protocol to screen patients based on their symptoms and travel history.

The local COVID-19 strategy includes staff training with prompt, regular updates dictated by the changing nature of this crisis. This training involves staff in all departments, including the outpatient clinic, rehabilitation services, emergency department, inpatient services, retail pharmacy, support staff, and administration.

The internal website provides staff with detailed instructions specific to their roles including information on phone triage, health department contacts, and refreshers on how to use protective equipment if there is exposure to coronavirus.

The Grace Cottage website provides reliable information about COVID-19 provided by health officials in the state of Vermont and Federal governments. For more information on COVID-19, visit or

“We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and are focused on being prepared should the virus reach our community,” said Dr. George Terwilliger, Grace Cottage's chief medical officer and director of the emergency department.

Heather Boucher, director of infection prevention at Grace Cottage, added: “Simple measures like thorough handwashing, staying home when ill, and avoiding others who are ill can help decrease the spread of illness.

“Get an annual flu vaccination!” she advised.

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