Town takes precautionary actions in response to COVID-19 outbreak

BRATTLEBORO — Town officials are updating emergency plans and coordinating extensively with other first responders, health care providers, and community leaders in southeastern Vermont to be ready if the COVID-19 coronavirus becomes present here.

As of March 2, cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but no cases had yet been confirmed in Vermont.

In a news release, Town Manager Peter Elwell told residents that state and federal agencies “are urging people in areas like ours where the virus is not currently known to be present to simply follow good, basic health practices such as frequent hand washing; coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand); staying home when you feel unwell; etc.”

All town employees have been advised of preparations within town government.

Fire Chief Mike Bucossi, who serves as the town's emergency management director, is coordinating a variety of pre-incident preparations related to a potential future COVID-19 emergency in Brattleboro.

“We are stocking up on applicable supplies and communicating about current preparations and potential future coordinated actions with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Rescue Inc., and our internal team of first responders at the Fire Department, Police Department, and Dispatch,” Bucossi said.

Elwell and School Superintendent Lyle Holiday have conferred about potential town/school coordination.

The town's management team is finalizing an operations plan for town government actions that may become necessary in case of an active outbreak of COVID-19 in town that requires individuals to be quarantined.

Per the town's overarching Local Emergency Management Plan, the COVID-19 Operations Plan will include a “continuity of government” section to ensure staffing of key positions in the event of an outbreak.

Bucossi added that a joint training meeting is being organized by Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and the Fire Department for area first responders, and that “contingency plans also are being coordinated with other agencies outside our immediate area for the provision of mutual aid, if needed.”

Town officials are encouraging the public to stay informed about this potential public health threat by monitoring the Vermont Department of Health's daily updates at

Additional information from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also available there.

The town has added a link to that website in the upper right corner of the town website home page at

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