The Vermont Health Department has confirmed that Copley Hospital in Morrisville had an outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus in mid-January.
Up to five people were impacted during the hospital outbreak, which was first reported Jan. 12, the health department said last Friday.
Copley officials and the Vermont Health Department did not make the hospital outbreak known to the public when first detected.
Joseph Woodin, Copley’s president and CEO did not respond to a message left seeking comment for the news story.
The outbreak only became known in recent days through a Vermont Public Records request that the state health department is now requiring before it will share public information about the locations of COVID outbreaks.
The health department recently responded with a written list of outbreaks that included numerous schools, long-term care facilities and several employers by name.
Initially, the department withheld the name of Copley Hospital. The reason why is unknown.
Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s health commissioner, frequently mentions the number of current outbreaks and the numbers of people impacted during his presentations at twice-weekly broadcast news conferences hosted by Gov. Phil Scott in Montpelier.
But Levine was stumped last week when asked to identify the Vermont hospital with the outbreak.
Vermont has 16 hospitals.
The health department in a follow-up email reported it was Copley Hospital, and downplayed the outbreak at the Lamoille County facility, with a spokesperson for Levine saying via email, “The outbreak was determined to be contained to a single department with fewer than 25 staff that does not provide health services and has no contact with patients.”
He did not elaborate.
It was unclear what type of department at Copley does not deal with patients in some way. It was also unclear whether it was located on the Morrisville campus and used the heating and ventilating system that would circulate within the hospital.
The health department also withheld the name of a Vermont fire department impacted by the virus — that remains a mystery.