Northwestern Medical Center, 2020

The Northwestern Medical Center has announced the first death of a patient at the hospital related to COVID-19.

ST. ALBANS – The Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) announced Monday a patient had died due to complications of COVID-19 – the first death attributed to the disease in Franklin County.

“NMC is saddened to share that in the past 24 hours, we have had our first death of a patient related to COVID-19,” the hospital’s chief medical quality officer, Dr. John Minadeo, said in a brief statement Monday afternoon. “This weighs on us all and we extend our sympathies to the patient’s family.”

According to NMC, eleven individuals within the hospital’s service area have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus now spreading through Vermont and the U.S.

Three of those cases have been severe enough to warrant hospitalization, according to NMC.

As of Monday afternoon, the Vermont health department attributed 12 deaths to COVID-19.

More than 256 have tested positive for the virus in Vermont, according to the latest health department figures.

While most cases of COVID-19 will likely be either mild or moderate, some cases can be severe, leading to complications requiring hospitalization and, in some cases, resulting in death.

According to health officials, the elderly and individuals with chronic medical conditions are most at risk of COVID-19’s more severe heath complications.

In their brief statement issued Monday, NMC repeated calls for the public to adhere to state and federal guidelines for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, including compliance with the governor’s “stay home, stay safe” order, reaching out to primary care doctors when ill, and practicing good hygiene and social distancing.

“With community spread of COVID-19 now present in our area, it continues to be crucial that everyone adheres to guidance relating to reducing possible transmission,” the hospital said. “These efforts help ‘flatten the curve’ of anticipated cases, which will help ensure the resources of the healthcare system continue to be available when needed.”

Guidelines and more information on the spread of COVID-19 in Vermont are available courtesy of the state’s health department at healthvermont.gov/covid19.

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