COVID-19 (Public Information)

In the midst of COVID-19, Vermont veterinarians are doing their best to balance the desires to care for their patients, protect the wellbeing of their employees and co-workers, protect the wellbeing of clients, manage successful business operations, and all the while doing our part to be stewards of overall public health. The VVMA wants to make sure you have access to current, relevant resources and the ability to connect with other veterinarians from the VVMA to share ideas and best practices to navigate this challenge before us. We commit to evolving our actions as needed to better meet your needs as things develop and change. Veterinarians are well-positioned to bring good, accurate information to those we interact with and have a true, public health role to play during this time.  If you have any information you think should be added to this resource page, please contact VVMA Executive Director Kathy Finnie at [email protected] or Associate Director Linda Waite-Simpson at linda@vtvets.org.  Please bookmark this page.

 

STATE OF VERMONT - ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDANCE, LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE

Vaccine Prioritization
-There has been a big change in the draft plan that the Department of Health published in the fall.  Here is the latest from Governor Scott:

"As we prioritize the distribution of a very limited supply of vaccines, we’re focused on saving lives. We know from the science that those who are older, and others with serious underlying chronic conditions, are far more vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19.  Vermont’s Vaccine Implementation Advisory Committee concurs with our approach for an initial age-based prioritization.  Our mission must be to save as many lives as possible and this is the best way to accomplish this."

This means that veterinarians and other essential workers (except for frontline health care workers)will be farther down the line for access to the vaccine.  You can view this plan on the VT DoH website.  Veterinarians are now in Group 1c with other essential workers.

New Cross-state Travel Restrictions for non-essential travel announced on November 10, 2020.  Governor Scott announced new travel restrictions and quarantine requirements as COVID-19 cases increase across the state.

Governor Scott announced an extension of the state of emergency and an update to his Executive Order which takes effect Saturday, November 14th at 10 pm. Multi-household gatherings, including all public and private social, recreational, and entertainment gatherings, indoor and outdoor, including large social gatherings incidental to ceremonies, holiday gatherings, parties, and celebrations are suspended until further notice. Restaurants must close all in-person dining at 10 pm each day. Bars and social clubs are to close indefinitely. Take out and curbside options can still be offered. Youth and adult recreational sports activities, not related to Vermont Principals Association sanctioned school sports, are suspended until further notice. All businesses, non-profits, and government entities shall reinstitute telework policies for all employees to the maximum extent possible. In-person meetings are strongly discouraged and should be held by telephone or video conference whenever possible. Full guidance can be found at the ACCD Guidance Memo.

Emergency Order extended until further notice.  Guidance from the Governor's office is here.  ACCD guidance for businesses includes mandatory VOSHA training.

Restart Work Safe Guidance

Ontario VMA Guide to Reopening Veterinary Medicine - shared with members as a courtesy.  This has not been adopted by the State of Vermont. (5/13/2020)

Veterinarians designation as essential workers
On March 24, 2020, Governor Phil Scott issued a mandatory stay at home order.  Veterinarians are now on the list of essential personnel.  If you feel you need AVMA's draft travel document, please let me know:  [email protected].  For information on finding childcare:  https://www.childcareresource.org

State Vet Board issues emergency rules:  please read!

Summary of VT H.742 - Omnibus Health Care and Human Services Bill - VT Legislature's response to COVID-19 emergency including provisions for UI and health care rules.

April 8, 2020 Update:  Industry Specific Guidance including Pet Care and Animal Care

Pet and Animal Care
Pet care, animal care and related businesses must suspend most-in-person operations under the Governor’s Executive Order. Section 6 (f) of the Executive Order specifically allows in-person business operations related to animal feed and essential supplies and Section 6 (k) allows for in-person operations of animal shelters and veterinarians. Under this guidance, businesses that sell pet food could continue in-person operations. Animal shelters for animals without permanent homes can continue in-person operations to care for animals. Dog sitting services, animal boarding (except for agricultural purposes), dog walking services, and doggie daycares should cease operations, unless the care of animals allows for essential workers related to the COVID-19 crisis to go to work. In situations where businesses provide essential services to targeted clients, they should not also provide services to the broad public. Individuals, non-profits and businesses that import animals as pets—or for other recreational use—including rescue animals and pleasure or competition horses—should suspend in-person operations.  Individuals who personally care for their own pets or other recreational animals may bring them to Vermont for ongoing care.

Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Vermont Health Department

Veterinary Licensing/CE requirements

Veterinary license renewal is May 31, 2021.  The Vermont Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation has issued a temporary policy for continuing education and impacts of COVID-19.  They are now allowing for online CE that provides a completion certificate – as opposed to an examination requirement in the regular rules.  A copy of OPRs new policy is available here.


FEDERAL GUIDANCE

CDC
Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Veterinary Clinics During the COVID-19 Response

DEA
COVID-19 information page on the Diversion Control Division's website.  This page contains important guidance concerning COVID-19 and the national drug supply, electronic prescribing of controlled substances, telemedicine, medicated assisted treatment, and other important federal and state information. 

DEA Exception to Regulation Order, March 25, 2020

DEA Guidance - Oral Schedule II Drug Prescribing Guidance - March 30, 2020


FDA

FDA Relaxes Federal VCPR Rules during Pandemic

FDA Food Safety

FDA webpage on availability of supplies

FDA guidance on conserving PPE 


INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES

Payroll Protection Plan loan forgiveness requirements and application

EMPLOYERS, PLEASE NOTE:  Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises.  DOL POSTER and FAQ document

IRS tax deferment
3/19/20 The IRS has issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest. This guidance does not change the April 15 filing deadline.

Here is the link to the press release: home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm948
Here is the link to the IRS Notice: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-17.pdf

Families First Coronavirus Relief Act - AVMA Summary​​

FAQ document from the Dept. of Labor

DOL Fact Sheet on FFCRA

CARES Act - Passed Congress on 3/30/20 and signed into law  AVMA Summary 

Suspension of federal student loan interest accrual.
Federal student loan borrowers will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.  Borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency.  More information:  www.StudentAid.gov/coronavirus

Vermont Business Guidance from the VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development: https://accd.vermont.gov/about-us/disaster-planning/covid-19-guidance-vermont-businesses

​​CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Vermont Department of Labor:  https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19 for unemployment insurance claim information

 

 

AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

Signage for Clinics:  For Curbside    For In-Person Safety

Comprehensive resources: https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19

COVID-19 Minimize Exposure Flow Chart (a resource NOT a directive)

AVMA BOD Talking Points on Resuming Non-urgent Veterinary Care

American Association of Veterinary State Boards letter on resuming non-urgent care

 

 

GENERAL

 

SUPPLY CHAIN/PPE

 
COVID-19 AND PETS 

Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people.  It is recommended that people wash their hands thoroughly before and after interacting with your pet. 

 

Tips for staying safe during a pandemic

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Wear a droplet (medical) mask if you must be in close contact with someone infected with the virus.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.  Discard the tissue right away and wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Make sure you have a supply (90+ days) of necessary medication, both prescription and over the counter.
  • Store a 2+ week supply of food and water
  • Discuss setting up a quarantine room with family members and reassure them that they will be cared for if they become sick.