Covid Relief Funds To Boost Vermont Mental Health Services

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is going to be using $4.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to help improve mental health services in the state, officials said Friday.

The Department of Mental Health will use the federal funds to help local mental health and other service agencies provide services, the state said.

As part of the program Vermont is investing $600,000 for a one-year pilot to ease the strain on services in Rutland County, which has the highest average emergency department visits in the state for children and youth with mental health needs.

The program will be operational Oct. 1, at which time any Rutland County family can ask for immediate support, and a team from Rutland Mental Health Services will respond.

“This is a way to get families the support where and when they need them, before more intensive mental health crisis or hospital services are required,” said Mental Health Commissioner Emily Hawes.

Another $4 million will be distributed later this year to expand existing housing and community-based mental health services across the state or to make the facilities compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It would be hard to overstate how important these updates are,” Hawes said.

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NUMBERS

On Friday, the Vermont Department of Health reported 141 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 29,730.

There were 30 people hospitalized, including nine in intensive care.

The state reported one additional fatality, bringing the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to 284.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 120.14 new cases a day on Aug. 25 to 149.43 new cases a day on Wednesday.

The Associated Press is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.