On Monday evening, town and local officials from Orange County met with Dr. Mark Levine, the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, and Secretary Smith from the Agency of Human Services to discuss developments related to the COVID-19 outbreak currently unfolding in our area. Dr. Levine conveyed his deep concern about this outbreak, including the one in Washington County, and explained that we are likely to see high positive case counts in our area for the next two weeks stemming from exposure that had occurred towards the beginning of the month. While I know we are all tired of the impacts of this virus, and more than desperate to return back to our normal way of life, I write today to implore all Braintree residents to dig deep to find the patience and resolve to do all that we can to follow the state’s guidelines related to travel, quarantine, hygiene, and restrictions on gatherings. We need to do this for our kids, so that they can experience as much as possible all of the wonderful benefits of Braintree Elementary School; our health care workers, so that they can safely care for our community; and for our local economy, so that it can it can continue to grow and thrive.
Since I cannot say it better myself, I’d like to restate the poignant words of Governor Scott from yesterday’s press conference: “If you want to ignore or choose not the believe the science, there’s not much we can do to stop you. But the number of people in hospitals is growing because some care more about what they want to do rather than what they need to do to help protect others… The skeptics are right, they can do what they want. But please don’t call it patriotic or pretend it’s about freedom. Real patriots serve and sacrifice for all, whether they agree with them or not. Patriots stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened, and right now, our country and way of life are being attacked by this virus, not the protections we put in place.”
So please, everyone: stay put, stay safe, be mindful of your activity in the community and how it might impact others. I am confident that our small, rural community can do what is required to protect each other and weather this virus well.
Thank you, and take care,
Megan O’Toole, Chair, Braintree Selectboard