BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — The Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital is telling its employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or they will lose their jobs.
The organization-wide mandate that was issued Wednesday comes after an unvaccinated staff member caused an outbreak at the hospital by infecting other staff and patients, said hospital President and CEO Louis Josephson.
“So clearly, avoiding mandated vaccinations has not prevented service impacts to our operation,” Josephson said. “If anything, unvaccinated staff are a significant reason for disruption, illness, exceptional cost and effort related to the outbreak.”
Josephson told the Brattleboro Reformer three patients in the Retreat’s adolescent unit have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 100 Retreat staffers have tests that are pending.
“The patients are all doing well, which is the good news,” Josephson said.
Most hospitals across Vermont have imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees during the pandemic.
Josephson said the requirement was necessary to keep the Retreat’s patients safe.
“When you get an outbreak like this, it’s a moment of clarity. You just have to do the right thing,” Josephson said. “We are trying to do the right thing by our patients.”
On Friday, Vermont's Health Department reported there have been 47 deaths among people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since vaccinations began late in 2020, up 14 since the department's last every-other-week report, which included data through Sept. 22.
In the report released Friday, which included information through Oct. 6, there have been a total of 3,606 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 out of more than 458,000 people who have been vaccinated, or 0.8% of the total. Of that total there were 105 hospitalizations.
On Friday the Health Department reported 283 new virus cases, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to more than 35,200.
There were 32 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including seven in intensive care.
The state reported a total of 332 fatalities since the pandemic began.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 206.57 new cases per day on Sept. 22 to 180.14 new cases per day on Oct. 6.
The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 1.00 deaths per day on Sept. 22 to 1.57 deaths per day on Oct. 6.
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.