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Retreat patient quarantined pending COVID-19 test results

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BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Retreat has one patient under quarantine as it awaits testing results to determine if that person has COVID-19.

"This is a recent development," said Meghan Baston, the Retreat's Chief Nursing Officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services.

Nonetheless, the Retreat had been planning for such an eventuality.

"We have assessed and prepared a clinical space that can serve effectively as an isolation unit suitable to meet the needs of patients with both psychiatric and non-life-threatening symptoms of the Coronavirus," wrote President and COO Louis Josephson in a message to the community. "The Retreat is also partnering with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital to help us provide medical support for presumed-positive or mildly symptomatic corona virus patients should that become necessary."

If a Retreat patient requires hospital care, he or she will be transferred to BMH, wrote Josephson.

"We were anticipating this washing up here," Josephson told the Reformer via video-conference on Tuesday. "We have taken a lot of early steps."

In addition to setting up rooms in anticipation of a COVID-19 test, the Retreat has limited its in-patient clientele to Vermont residents only. This is to make sure, said Josephson, that someone in Vermont requiring mental health care can be immediately sent to the Retreat instead of having to wait in an emergency room somewhere for a space to open up.

"Each time we admit a patient who would otherwise be stuck in a hospital emergency department suffering from acute psychiatric distress, we free up valuable medical resources needed to combat COVID-19 in Vermont," he said.

The Retreat is licensed for 149 beds. Before the national emergency, the Retreat held open 105 beds for inpatients. The Retreat has reduced its capacity to 92 beds and now has 72 patients.

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