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Vermont battling Covid-19 at an apple orchard among migrant workers

Vermont is battling a Covid-19 outbreak among migrant workers at an apple orchard, state officials announced Monday.



a sign on the side of the street: 16528985: Vermont Orchards Covid Outbreak


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16528985: Vermont Orchards Covid Outbreak

Champlain Orchards in Addison County had 27 workers test positive over the weekend, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said on Tuesday. The commissioner had previously announced 26 cases, with one more test result being reported after the initial announcement.

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The first positive case was discovered last week. It came toward the end of the migrant workers’ quarantine period after arriving in the state in mid-September, and the person is believed to have become ill outside of Vermont, according to Dr. Levine.

State officials said that the orchard owner was complying with guidance and that apples were disinfected before being sold. The apples are sold in Vermont, parts of Massachusetts and in upstate New York and New Jersey, according to the orchard’s website.

As the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, the CDC has said that there is “no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.”

“The orchard owners and state agencies are working to make sure these workers have what they need — food, shelter and other things to isolate safely,” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott said in a news conference.

“In light of recent national events, I hardly need to remind Vermonters of the nature of the virus. People do not get sick because they are from a certain place, ethnicity or nationality — they get sick if they are exposed to the virus.”

Vermont has had the fewest Covid-19 cases of any state, with only 1,821 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state saw no Covid-related deaths or ICU admissions in September, according to state Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak.

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Virtual fitness classes allow this community battling addiction to gain strength during lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone — but for the nearly 21 million Americans battling addiction, it can be especially harmful.



Scott Strode sitting in front of a laptop computer: Scott Strode's nonprofit is helping people in recovery stay connected and supported during the pandemic.


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Scott Strode’s nonprofit is helping people in recovery stay connected and supported during the pandemic.

“For somebody in recovery, social isolation is a really slippery slope,” said Scott Strode, a 2012 CNN Hero. “It can often lead to the relapse.”

Strode knows firsthand the reality of being in recovery. He was able to overcome his addiction to drugs and alcohol through sports and exercise. Encouraged by his success, in 2007 Strode started his non-profit, The Phoenix, to help others deal with their own addiction.

The organization has provided free athletic activities and a sober support community to more than 36,000 people across the United States.

When Covid-19 hit, the organization had to close its gyms and practice social distancing. But the non-profit found a new way to keep those connections — and quickly pivoted to virtual programming.

Now, clients can log on to free virtual classes offered throughout the day — everything from yoga and strength training to meditation and recovery meetings.

“We hadn’t done virtual programming before, but we pretty quickly learned that it allowed the Phoenix to offer programs to rural communities that we historically couldn’t reach,” Strode said.

The group now has people in recovery joining classes from all across the US, and four other countries. They’ve also been able to bring their programming into prisons nationwide by recording content that is then distributed to inmates.

“I don’t think we’re going to find some magic solution that’s going to fix addiction in all of our communities,” Strode said. “I think we have to do it as a community and be there for each other — letting people step into the pride and strength in their recovery can get us out of this.”

CNN’s Phil Mattingly recently joined a Phoenix class and spoke with Strode about his work. Below is an edited version of their conversation.

Phil Mattingly: What is it about these classes that you feel really resonates with people who are generally going through a pretty tough time?

Scott Strode: I always say that people come to the Phoenix for the workout, but they really stay for the friendships. When we face that greater adversity of that workout together, we build a bond. And in that bond, we find a place where we can support each other in our recovery journey. Often times we keep our struggles in the shadows, in this dark place of shame. There’s something really special about finding a community where you can just be open about all the challenges you’ve faced.

I think we’re all in recovery from something. For me, it just happens to be a substance use disorder. And when I find a community that accepts me and loves me for who I am, it just allows me to build different kinds of friendships.

Mattingly: There’s no silver lining or bright

Virtual fitness classes allow this community battling addiction to gain strength during lockdown | Live Well

Mattingly: There’s no silver lining or bright spots for many people over the last several months. Do you feel that whenever we get back to normal, this will end up almost being beneficial for the reach you were able to achieve?

Strode: I do. The idea that people can find recovery support through Phoenix now, really almost anytime, anywhere in the world is really exciting. It’ll just allow it to reach so many more people because of this virtual platform. I didn’t realize how much that was limiting our ability to get our programs to people who really needed it.

It just always lifts my heart to log into a Phoenix virtual class and meet somebody in recovery who’s doing the workout in their basement somewhere in Tennessee, where we don’t even have in-person programs, but they can come to the Phoenix anyway.

Mattingly: For somebody who’s isolated at home right now, and either they’re in recovery or they have a loved one that’s going through it right now, what would be your message to them?

Strode: If you’re at home and you’re either in recovery or you’re even struggling with your addiction right now, just log into a Phoenix class. You just go to thephoenix.org, you pick a virtual class, you drop in. You can turn your camera off. You don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to. But check one out. And what you’ll realize is that there’s individuals just like you that have either overcome their addiction or are trying to overcome it maybe the same way you are.

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Virtual fitness classes allow this community battling addiction to gain strength during lockdown | Health

Mattingly: There’s no silver lining or bright spots for many people over the last several months. Do you feel that whenever we get back to normal, this will end up almost being beneficial for the reach you were able to achieve?

Strode: I do. The idea that people can find recovery support through Phoenix now, really almost anytime, anywhere in the world is really exciting. It’ll just allow it to reach so many more people because of this virtual platform. I didn’t realize how much that was limiting our ability to get our programs to people who really needed it.

It just always lifts my heart to log into a Phoenix virtual class and meet somebody in recovery who’s doing the workout in their basement somewhere in Tennessee, where we don’t even have in-person programs, but they can come to the Phoenix anyway.

Mattingly: For somebody who’s isolated at home right now, and either they’re in recovery or they have a loved one that’s going through it right now, what would be your message to them?

Strode: If you’re at home and you’re either in recovery or you’re even struggling with your addiction right now, just log into a Phoenix class. You just go to thephoenix.org, you pick a virtual class, you drop in. You can turn your camera off. You don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to. But check one out. And what you’ll realize is that there’s individuals just like you that have either overcome their addiction or are trying to overcome it maybe the same way you are.

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Breast cancer awareness: Battling depression post-treatment

It took about a month of biopsies, more mammograms, MRIs, ultrasounds and genetic testing in my suburban Chicago hospital before I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. I then had a unilateral mastectomy, followed months later by reconstructive surgery.

I was lucky that my type of cancer responds well to hormone therapy, with no chemotherapy or radiation. Despite my excellent prognosis and low chance of recurrence, my breast cancer almost killed me.

That’s because although my medical team did an excellent job getting rid of the cancer, I was left to my own devices with the surprise bout of depression that took its place.

As frightened as I was during the initial call with my doctor, where she informed me that I had cancer, I had little time to think during the month-long flurry of tests and appointments.

My local hospital’s nurse navigator took my many phone calls, answered my questions and helped me make appointments for everything. She held my hand during a painful biopsy. I had a mastectomy and five months later, a breast reconstruction procedure.

The symptoms I wasn’t expecting started shortly after my breast reconstruction. Before my reconstruction procedure, I was told to plan on two weeks of recovery time. But six weeks later, I was still suffering from pain, swelling in my chest and face, and limited mobility in my shoulder.

The onset of depression

My medication was putting me in menopause, triggering hot flashes, weight gain and sleep disturbances. Insomnia-fueled Googling convinced me that I still had cancer. I cried all the time. I slowly began to realize that I was depressed.

This was not my first bout of depression. I suffered from depression in my 20s and again after the traumatic birth of my first child. The difference was that I had prepared for postpartum depression. Every gynecological and pediatrician’s visit included a depression screener.

No one warned me that having breast cancer and a mastectomy could lead to depression — not my cancer doctors nor the nurse navigator who helped me through the maze of treatment. My depression made me feel guilty and isolated. I assumed that I had failed because I wasn’t sufficiently grateful for my “lucky” stage I diagnosis.

CDC study sheds new light on mental health crisis linked to coronavirus pandemic

I learned later that post-breast cancer treatment depression is common.

The lasting effects of a mastectomy, the post-surgical maintenance drugs and fear of recurrence can all lead to depression, according to Tasha Chasson, an oncology support counselor for Wellness House, a cancer support center located in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Many women find themselves in “survival mode” during treatment and only have time to consider their emotions when treatment is over, Chasson said.

Cancer patients can feel worse when they compare themselves to people with different diagnoses and prognoses, according to Kelley Kitley, a Chicago-based psychotherapist and women’s mental health expert.

Support is key

Luckily, I had scheduled an appointment to meet with my general practitioner to discuss my sleep issues. Having known me for 15 years, she was concerned about my

Nebraska Medicine to resume appointments, procedures after battling cyberattack | Live Well

That incident, too, began on a weekend. It, too, left doctors and nurses to rely on paper backup systems.

Nebraska Medicine officials said last week that the health system’s emergency rooms have remained open since the outage began early Sept. 20, a Sunday, and no patients had been diverted to other hospitals.

No patients’ electronic medical records were deleted or destroyed, the health system said at the time, thanks to the system’s “back-up and recovery processes.”

But when asked whether patients’ medical or financial information had been exposed, a Nebraska Medicine spokesman said the statement the health system provided contained all the information officials could provide.

Nebraska Medicine’s outage also affected hospitals in North Platte, Norfolk, Hastings and Beatrice for which the health system hosts electronic health records systems.

Electronic records at Great Plains Health in North Platte came back over the weekend and were up and running Tuesday with a few small exceptions, said Megan McGown, a health system spokeswoman.

“It’s a great system,” she said. “We missed it while it was down, and we are very glad it’s back up.”

During the outage, staff with Great Plains, like those within Nebraska Medicine, had to record patient information on paper. Patient care was not impacted, she said, and to her knowledge, the hospital did not have to delay any procedures. No patient information was accessed or stolen.

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