Highway Photos

Coronavirus Update


For Immediate Release


Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Launches COVID-19 Hotline
Screening at Entry and Digital Information Session Aim to Increase Information and Awareness


BENNINGTON, VT—March 12, 2020—Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), is continuously working to minimize the spread of COVID-19, while providing safe care for all patients. The most recent actions include the launch of a COVID-19 hotline and a respiratory etiquette check-in at the main entrance. 


“Proactive monitoring and protection efforts have made SVMC safe for those with appointments and procedures scheduled,” said Tom Dee, SVHC’s president and CEO. “We want our patients to feel confident that SVMC is open and ready to provide the care they need.”



A COVID-19 information hotline is now available at 802-440-8844. The most commonly requested information is delivered via a recorded message, after which a representative answers between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays.


SVMC recommends primary care providers as the best source for individual guidance and information. The hotline offers support for primary care providers and ensures those who do not have a provider get the information and services they need.


“Everyone’s situation is a little bit different,” said Paula Johnson, director of Quality, Safety and Value at SVMC. “The aim of the hotline is to deliver the information that patients need in a customized and timely way. We hope this will empower community members to take actions that will help ensure their safety and limit the spread of the illness.”


Front Entrance Check-In



Patients and visitors to the hospital will now notice signage that directs them to the touch-free automatic door at the main entrance. Patients have the option to go immediately to the Emergency Department for care or stop at a respiratory etiquette check-in, where they will be greeted and asked whether they have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Those with symptoms are given a mask, and all are given a sticker with the date and which department or unit they are visiting. These efforts will allow clinical professionals to take the appropriate measures to ensure safety for all patients, visitors, and staff.


“If someone in the building has a cough or a fever, we need to know about it,” said Trey Dobson, MD, chief medical officer for SVMC. “These new screening measures ensure that we treat that person appropriately and minimize exposure to others.”



The respiratory check-in is also provides an opportunity to reinforce the flu-season visitor policy, which recommends that those with symptoms of infectious disease (respiratory or gastrointestinal) wait until they are well to visit in person. In addition, visits are limited to those who are over the age of 18 and to no more than two per patient at a time. 


In addition, for the safety of patients and residents, the visitor policies at the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, on SVMC’s Bennington Campus, and The Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Hoosick Falls have been updated to exclude all except medical visits.


“We know it is difficult to forego in-person visits with loved ones in our care,” said Suzanne Anair, who administrates both facilities. “But we trust that the families of our patients and residents will understand our desire to protect them from exposure to this potentially devastating illness.”


Digital Information Session

The hospital is partnering with the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Catamount Access Television (CAT-TV) to present an online lunch and learn session for area business members at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 16. The session will feature SVHC’s President and CEO Tom Dee and SVMC’s Chief Medical Officer Trey Dobson, MD. Participants will be able to ask questions related to COVID-19. Chamber members and members of the public can access the session at www.facebook.com/CATTVbennington/.  It will air on CAT-TV and be posted to www.SouthwesternVermontChamber.com/lunchandlearn.


“We lean on the strength of our award-winning health care system to keep us informed and safe.  We appreciate all the hard work Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and our other healthcare members are doing during this crisis,” said Matt Harrington, executive director, Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “We hope this Lunch and Learn provides a regional perspective and good information to the many communities we serve.”


Drive-Up Testing


SVMC nurses conduct a drive-up test for COVID-19.

For patients who have a referral for COVID-19 testing from their primary care provider, SVMC offers drive-up testing. The service allows patients to remain in their cars. The process was initiated over the weekend to minimize potential viral exposure to other patients and staff for patients who do not need emergency care or monitoring. Clinical staff wear personal protective equipment (PPE), swab patients in their cars, and remind patients to practice self-isolation until results are known. Samples are sent to the Vermont lab for results, which typically arrive to the primary care provider within 96 hours. The State of Vermont is not charging for the test.


Dee continued, “We have an extraordinary team of professionals and dedicated community leaders all committed to ensuring, as best as we can, that this virus has as little impact as possible on the health of our communities. The situation is changing rapidly. We aim to keep everyone informed, so we can all work together in this important effort.” 


If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, call your state’s department of health. Telephone numbers and other COVID-19 information, including frequently asked questions and helpful resources, are available at svhealthcare.org. The site is updated continuously.


About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices. For more information, visit svhealthcare.org.


Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.


Media Contact:

Ray Smith
Director of Marketing and Communications | Public Information Officer

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center

(802) 447-50003



Community Policing Working Drafts Policy List

Working Drafts Policy List:
Please email any comments/suggestions to the Working Drafts no later
than Monday, December 7, 2020 to Bruce Lee-Clark – bleeclark@benningtonvt.org
Use of Force
Duty to Intervene
Use of Electrical Weapons

Police Department Policy Advisory Committee Meeting – December 2, 2020

Notice – Bennington Senior Center (Upstairs) Closure

Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program

Bennington Town Offices – Thanksgiving Holiday Closure, November 26th-27th, 2020

Select Board Meeting – November 23, 2020

To view the Select Board packet for the meeting of November 23, 2020, please click here: current Select Board packet

Revised Meeting Notice- Police Department Policy Advisory Committee Meeting

DPW Roadwork Nov 16-20, 2020

Town of Bennington Project List

Week of November 16 – 20, 2020

 **Remember: Overnight Parking Ban begins Sunday November 15th


East Road (Upper) : PFOA Contractors will continue new service line connection work. Men and equipment will be on the edges of the roadway.  Please use Caution when approaching these areas and expect minor delays.

Jack’s Dr (Private) : PFOA Contractors will continue new service line connection & pump station work. Men and equipment will be on the edges of the roadway.  Please use Caution when approaching these areas and expect minor delays.


Highway Crews continue to be in various locations across town conducting and completing smaller tasks from the construction season, this includes Street Sweeping roadways.  PLEASE USE CAUTION when approaching these areas men & equipment may be on the edge or in the roadway.  Delays may be possible.

All Work will be dependent on weather conditions.  Please use caution when entering a construction zone, men and equipment will be in the traveled portion of the road.


Please DO NOT rake or blow leaves into Town streets or Highways as this will clog storm drains and create both flooding and driving hazards for the entire community.

Residents and Contractors – Please make sure ALL LOADS ARE COVERED when taking leaves and or brush to the Transfer Station.  When disposing of leaf bags, you MUST empty the bags into the pile.

** Remember: Overnight Parking Ban Begins SUNDAY NOVEMBER 15TH
The Winter Overnight Parking Ban for all streets within the Town and Village of North Bennington will begin this weekend.  From November 15 to March 31 between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. NO overnight parking is allowed on the streets.  Police will enforce this ban by ticketing individuals who leave unattended vehicles on the street during that time.


Select Board Meeting – November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020
6:00 PM
       For public health reasons, Select Board members will participate
       in the meeting by videoconference. 
1. Executive Session 6:00 PM
A. Personnel

Town Manager’s Column – November 2020


Stuart A. Hurd, Town Manager

At its October 26th meeting, the Select Board unanimously adopted the new policy on Displays, Signs, and Art on Public Property. The policy, originally drafted by municipal counsel, Merrill Bent, is a very detailed document which outlines the process one must take to get permission to create public art and/or statements on public property. It is not intended to control such works on private property. It allows for a petition to also bring the desired work before the Board. It provides very specific guidance on design and installation and maintenance requirements after installation. It makes clear that the decision to approve the work rests solely with the Board.

The Board has continued working with Police Department leadership and the community to implement improvements recommended by the IACP Report. The Community Policing Working Group has created a process in which a Policy Advisory Committee made up of 4 citizens, a Select Board member, a Police Officer, and a Town staff member develop and recommend policies to the Select Board and Chief of Police. Officer Ferrara is a committee member. Dan Monks, Assistant Manager also serves on the committee as does Bruce Lee Clark, who acts as Chair. Four different community members meet with the three members listed above to review each designated policy. The work is scheduled to conclude in April 2021. It is expected that the first three policies reviewed will come before the Select Board on November 23. They are Use of Force, Duty to Respond, and Use of Electronic Weapons. Meanwhile, the Police leadership (all supervisors) will get more training from the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity before this year is out.

On the PFOA front, we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel for most of the remaining work. Contract 5 (Harwood Hill) is substantially complete except for the Sky Top units which are being worked on this week. Contract 6 (Apple Hill area) is substantially complete except for a road crossing on Route 7. Contract 7 (Willow Road. Marion Lane, Autumn Acres, and Carpenter Lane) is substantially complete. Contracts 8 and 9 remain to be completed (East Road, Chapel Road). Construction projects throughout the community began back in 2017. When concluded, Bennington will have brought municipal water to 352 affected properties.

The Governor has now restricted travel for leisure activity requiring travelers who enter the State or return to the State to quarantine. Please check the ACCD website for further details. The virus remains very active and the numbers of infected are increasing. We read every day of a new cluster of infections. As an employer, the Town of Bennington is exercising care in the decision to reopen. The Town Office remains on an appointment only visitation protocol. We are monitoring our employees’ travel plans to ensure that all safety protocols are followed upon an employee’s return. We, in Vermont, have done a pretty good job keeping the virus somewhat at bay. Unfortunately, it’s not over so be careful; stay safe; stay healthy.

There is a new program started by the State with CARES funds. It recognizes that some residents and businesses may have been unable to pay their utility bills (for the Town, its water and sewer bills) since March 2020. If you are in that category and can show a COVID connection, the State may pay your arrearage to the Town. Please find the press release for more information: https://benningtonvt.org/vermont-covid-19-arrearage-assistance-program/.

And finally, a petition has been filed with the Town Clerk’s office asking the Town to again consider the mayoral question through a Charter change. The wording is the same as was defeated in 2018.

Remember, if anyone has any questions or suggestions arising from this column or on any town matters, please contact me at 442-1037 or stop in at the Town Offices on South Street.

Stuart Hurd is Bennington’s Town Manager. He writes a monthly column on town issues.