SVMC opens respiratory evaluation center

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BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has announced the opening of a new treatments space particularly for patients with respiratory symptoms. It's called the Respiratory Evaluation Center.

"We recognize that, until a vaccine has been administered to the vast majority of our population and especially as the state and surrounding communities begin to open up, we are going to see some patients with COVID-19," Bob Schwartz, M.D., associate medical director of Dartmouth- Hitchcock Putnam Physicians at SVMC, said in a media release. "The REC is a unique environment created to safely and efficiently care for patients with respiratory symptoms."

The REC is located in the Toolan Building, at 120 Hospital Drive in Bennington, and is operated in coordination with ExpressCare staff.

There are three ways patients can access the REC. Patients can:

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1. Call their regular doctor, who can help patients to decide if they should be seen at the REC.

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2. Call the COVID hotline at 802-440-8844 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday for help determining where they should be seen.

3. Call ExpressCare at 440-4077 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily.

Note that all patients should call 802-440-4077 in advance of arrival to preregister for a REC visit. Once preregistered patients walk-in. No scheduled appointment is necessary.

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Symptoms that may warrant making a call include sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms, SVMC said.

ExpressCare remains open to treat patients for non-respiratory conditions, and the Emergency Department should still be used for all emergencies, even respiratory emergencies.

"As always, the safety of our staff and patients is foremost in our minds," Schwartz said. "We hope that this new area will provide appropriate safe care to those with respiratory symptoms and reassurance to those seeking care for non-respiratory conditions at our other clinics."


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