Coronavirus Information

Pandemic Information, Social and Economic Resources, and Office Updates

Coronavirus 2019 Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Can we throw in the towel and get Omicron to get it over with?
    1. No!
    2. Omicron is highly contagious (more contagious than chicken pox) and spreads through the air.
    3. It tends to cause a milder disease than the delta variant and tends to be more in the upper respiratory tract than in the lungs.
    4. However, it still causes suffering, permanent disability, and death.
    5. Virtually all hospitalizations in children have been in unvaccinated children.
      1. Most children don’t have the freedom to choose to get vaccinated.
      2. Please vaccinate your children against COVID-19!
  2. Is it safe to vaccinate my child against COVID-19?
    1. Yes!
    2. Reactions to COVID-19 vaccination in children have generally been mild and lasted 1-2 days.
      1. We’re seeing even fewer side effects in the 5-11 year age group.
    3. Myocarditis from vaccination is exceedingly rare.
      1. Your child is more likely to get myocarditis from not getting vaccinated than they are from getting vaccinated.  This is because the risk of myocarditis is about 0.03% in COVID-19 infection, and virtually all unvaccinated children will get COVID-19 within 3 years.
    4. Vaccination does not affect fertility.
    5. mRNA vaccines do not alter your child’s DNA.
    6. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
    7. Think about your child, your community, your world, and yourself.  We all want this pandemic to end.  The reason we keep getting new variants and surges in cases is because not enough of us are getting vaccinated.  Vaccinate your child for everyone’s sake.
  3. Is it safe for my child to be in school?
    1. This is a personal decision based upon your child’s health status and your risk tolerance level.
    2. Generally, we recommend that children attend school.  This is important for their learning, social and emotional development, and mental health.
    3. Some children are at high risk of severe COVID-19.  This includes but is not limited to immunocompromised children, certain genetic conditions, certain conditions affecting the heart or lungs, and certain neurological conditions.
      1. If you think your child is in this group, please call us for personalized advice.
  4. Why does my child need cardiac clearance after a COVID-19 infection?
    1. There is an approximately 0.03% chance of myocarditis in children with COVID.  This is likely an overestimate and is from data studying previous COVID strains.
      1. Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) also happens with other viral infections and is not unique to COVID.  It usually goes undetected and resolves on its own.
    2. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the American College of Cardiology have created guidelines for a safe return to physical exercise after a COVID infection to prevent complications from asymptomatic myocarditis.
    3. Clearance is needed for activities spanning in intensity from gym class through endurance sports.
    4. 10 days from a positive COVID-19 test, we will conduct a telemedicine visit to determine if a patient is cleared for a gradual return to physical activity.  This may mean a 7 day gradual return to full exercise.
    5. We know this is frustrating to you.  It’s for your own or your child’s safety.  Please be kind to our nurses when calling them about this.
  5. Can I breastfeed my baby if I have COVID?
    1. There is no evidence of coronavirus 2019 being transmitted in the breastmilk.
    2. However, there is theoretical risk of an infant at the breast being exposed to a mother’s infected respiratory secretions.
    3. Symptomatic mothers should wear a mask while breastfeeding.
  6. Explain the name to me.
    1. Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Coronavirus 2 = SARS-CoV-2 is the virus. It is shortened to coronavirus 2019.  The disease it causes is COVID-19.
  1. Where did it come from:
    1. Most likely from bats. Unclear whether it was transmitted bat to human or if there was an intermediate host.
  2. How bad is it compared to the Flu?
    1. The flu is also a terrible disease and causes tens of thousands of deaths per year.
    2. We have a vaccine that works pretty well for the flu. Please vaccinate your family every year!
    3. The mortality rate of influenza is 0.1%.
  3. How does it spread?
    1. Person-to-person transmission occurs by infected respiratory droplets and aerosols contacting a person’s mucous membranes.
    2. Droplets typically fall to the ground within 6 feet of the infected individual.
    3. Aerosols spread throughout a room and remain suspended in the air.
    4. Virus lives on objects for an unknown amount of time and is a minor route for transmission.
  4. When is somebody contagious?
    1. A person is most contagious in the 2 days before and after symptom onset.
    2. By 5 days, if symptoms have improved, a person is likely far less contagious.
  5. Should I bleach wipe the mail and groceries?
    1. Coronavirus can live on surfaces for an unknown amount of time. It is not known how often this mode of transmission leads to COVID-19, but it is thought to be very little.
    2. There is no good guidance on this one. The only reliable guidance, is that washing your hands well with soap, often, is important for reducing your risk of contracting the disease.
  6. Can my child have a playdate with her best friend?
    1. Outdoor play is fairly safe, with some caveats.
      1. Masks while playing outdoors are a good idea.
      2. Consider limiting the friend group to limit exposure.
  7. Are there any treatments for COVID-19?
    1. There are some effective treatments for COVID-19.
    2. They are limited to people at very high risk of severe COVID-19.
    3. Call us if you want to know if your child would qualify for treatment.
  8. How can I help?
    1. Maintain social distancing!  Wear a mask!  Wash your hands!
    2. Get vaccinated when you’re given the chance!
    3. Check in on your neighbors (while keeping distance).
    4. Do your best to support local businesses.

Social and Economic Resources for Families

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COVID 19 Resource List 

Please contact our Social Worker, Jordan Palker at 860-1928 ext 114 or [email protected] for any support during these challenging times. 

If you need immediate support dial 211 and you will be connected to the Vermont Resource Center. You can also go online to 

  • Food Support

-3 Squares Vermont: A change in income could mean you are eligible for benefits to support your grocery shopping. Call 855-855-6181 or text VFBSNAP to 85511.

-WIC: Nutrition support for families with children under 5 years old. Call 1-800-649-4357 or email [email protected]. You can apply online at the website above as well. 

-Spectrum is providing free to go lunch and dinner from 12-1 and 5-6 at their drop in center. Contact Christina at 777-3341. Their drop in center is currently located at 191 Bank Street due to renovations. 

-Chittenden Food Shelf:        Call 1-800-585-2265. 

-Feeding Chittenden Food Shelf: Contact the food shelf at 802-658-7939. They can provide free meals, products and can deliver in some cases. 

Check out this website for additional resources. 

-Find your local food shelf at:

-Schools are offering free Lunch & Breakfast. NO prior approval is needed. Some schools are delivering meals and others are offering pick up sites. If you go to your schools website it should have more information or contact Jordan at 860-1928 ext 114 for support findinging more information regarding your school or local food shelf. 

  • Unemployment Support

-You can now file a claim online: 

*Click the link and then the red bar at the top of the page to get started. 

OR via phone @ Toll-free Initial Claims line: 1-877-214-3330 OR 1-888-807-7072

Claimant Assistance Line toll-free: 1-877-214-3332

-Parental, Family and Short Term leave is available for most Vermonters. It allows for employees to take off time as needed for personal reasons (Appts, Childcare, etc) without losing their employment. Go to or contact your company’s HR person to support this process. The paperwork is available online. 


  • Healthcare Support

During the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont will be: temporarily waving financial verifications required for those seeking to enroll in health insurance, extending out coverage periods until after the emergency ends, suspending certain terminations of health insurance AND offering a special enrollment period (1 Mo) for those who do not currently have health insurance. Eligible Vermonters can continue to apply for and enroll in Medicaid at any time. 

-Medicaid and some other insurers are allowing early prescription refills so that a 30 day supply can be maintained. 

  • Internet & Phone Resources provides free government issued cell phones or cell phone data for eligible Americans. The phones have unlimited texting, 1000 monthly minutes and 3 gb of data. Apply online at the above website. You can also bring a phone over to the plan in some cases. 


-Qualifying income households can receive $10/month internet services through their Access program.

-They will not terminate any current customers due to an inability to pay their bill. They are also waving all late payments. They are also not charging overage fees currently.

-Burlington Telecom: 

-Free during covered period of school closure. Only qualifications are being a Burlington resident and having a student home who gets reduced lunch. 

-Go to  or call 1-800-540-0007.


-Xfinity hotspots wifi free for everyone across the country. Go to to see a list of hotspots. To join simply click on “Xfinitywifi” to join and launch your browser. 

-No disconnects or late fees.

-Internet Essentials Free to new customers for 60 days. Go to   


-Waving late fees from March 16-May 16 and will not terminate service to a customer who has been impacted by COVID-19. 

-Find your specific provider and the steps they are taking to support you at the following website:


  • Gas and Electric Support: 

-Burlington Electric: Late payments due to financial issues during this time will not be penalized with disconnection. If you think you may have a late payment or are unable to pay your bill contact them at 802-865-7300. 

-Green Mountain Power: Temporarily suspending all collections and disconnections until the end of April. If you are having trouble paying your bill call them at 1-888-835-4672.

-Vermont Gas: Temporarily suspending all collections and disconnections through the    end of April. If you are having trouble paying your bill call them at 802-863-4511. 

-CVOEO: Can provide fuel assistance. 

Chittenden County 1-802-863-6248 option 2

Addison County 1-802-388-2285

Franklin/GI County 1-800-300-7392

After Hours 1-800-479-61511


  • Transportation Support

GMTA buses will be offering fare free service until April 1, 2020.

  • Other Support

North Country Federal Credit Union offering no interest loans to members who have taken a hit as a result of COVID-19. Zero interest loans up to $5000 for people with existing direct deposit accounts. First payment isn’t due for 120 days and people will have two years to pay off the loans.

-Old North End “ONE” providing $100 grants to residents. Go to to apply. They can provide $100 gift cards or direct payments to utilities for Burlington residents whose income has been impacted by COVID19. 

-Service Workers financial support: 

-Vermont DMV 

  • Mental Health Support

-If you need immediate support Chittenden County First Call is available 24 hours a day at 488-7777. In Franklin/GI County you can contact NCSS Crisis services at 524-6554 or 1-800-834-7793. 

-Many providers are switching to telemedicine for support during this time. For a complete list of clinicians in Vermont you can go to

-Centerpoint is a large provider for adolescents and they are committed to providing full telemedicine support regarding mental health and substance abuse support during these times. You can contact them at 488-7711. 

If you need support connecting with someone or would like to speak with our social worker please reach out to Jordan at 860-1928 ext 114.

  • Substance Use Support

-Turning point of Chittenden County will be moving to phone and online formats. Go to their facebook page Turning Point Center of Chittenden County for updates or call the center at 802-861-3150.

-Turning Point of Franklin County will be moving all meetings to online formats. Go to their Facebook page “Turning Point of Franklin County” or call one of their recovery coaches 802-782-8454.

  • Domestic Violence Support 

-STEPS in Burlington staff will be working remotely, but are available via phone at 802-658-3131 and their hotline at 802-658-1996.

-Voices against violence in St Albans is available 24/7 on their hotline at 802-524-6575.

Stimulus Package Breakdown: