What day is it? The legislature operates on a strict Tuesday through Friday calendar with very predictable times we meet on the Floor (Tuesdays @ 10am, Wednesdays at 1pm, etc.), when committees break for lunch (always noon-1pm), and deadlines when legislation has to be completed and sent to the Senate (second Friday after Town Meeting Day). With the legislature now having telephonic meetings seven days a week, being home confined, and having kids around all the time, every day is exactly the same. Except, of course, that everything seems to be monumentally changing daily. I caught myself today thinking it was Wednesday. So, as we jump into some information I have to share, let me wish you a happy weekend.
First, the Emergency Management folks shared this document overnight that relates to HIPAA issues for law enforcement, paramedics, and other first responders as they address COVID-19 cases. I will admit that I understood about 40% of this document, but you might want to make sure your town's emergency personnel have access to it. Here is a link.
Second, the Department of Health issued two bulletins on Wednesday evening that I found very helpful. The first is a bulletin on what to do if you've been exposed to someone with COVID-19. The second is a bulletin on what to do if you've been diagnosed with COVID-19. These may be increasingly useful in the coming days.
Third, last week I shared a list of online resources for people in addiction recovery who were unable to attend an AA or similar meeting in-person. It was a bit of an unwieldy list, but it could have helped in a pinch. Since then, the VT Department of Health has put up a website that is much more slick in connecting people to online recovery resources. Here is the link to VTHelpLink. I will also put this link on Jim/my website (JimandTimReport.com).
Fourth, I'm a numbers guy and my ears always perk up when I hear of some of the resources we have to address this wave that's about to break. VT has 572 hospital beds (this does not include what we might have access to locally at DHMC or Alice Peck Day). Of those beds, 45 are ICU beds, 283 are part of the medical surge capacity that has been opened up in the last month or so, 76 are isolation beds, and 120 are rooms that are negatively pressurized. All told those seem like pretty slim numbers. Glad I live near Lebanon, NH.
Fifth, for those of you who want to dig into what's in the federal stimulus bill, I highly recommend this link. It was put together by the National Council of State Legislatures. If you scroll down below the overview of the bill, you can click on one of the 20 tabs that shows you where the money is going. I was pleased to see some money going to support rural broadband deployment. Having functioning internet service has never been more important than now.
Sixth, the VT legislature's Joint Fiscal Office put together three very accessible memorandums on the federal stimulus bill examining different parts of the bill: the tax provisions, the unemployment insurance provisions, and the housing provisions. With over $2 trillion of stimulus in this bill, we will likely be unpacking the details in this legislation for awhile.
Have a nice weekend,