Woodstock health center closed due to lack of clean water

Published: 07-16-2023 6:04 AM

WOODSTOCK — The Ottauquechee Health Center has been closed since Monday evening due to a lack of clean water and sewage treatment in Woodstock following flooding of the Ottauquechee River earlier in the week. 

The clinic, which belongs to Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, provides primary care, physical therapy and includes a pharmacy. On a typical day, there are 12 to 15 workers there, Belinda Needham-Shropshire, Mt. Ascutney’s administrator on call this week, said in a Thursday phone interview.

“We got through COVID,” she said. “You’re looking for a smooth run for a little bit. We’re all sort of tapped out on the crisis for the day.”

Even so, she said employees continue to show resilience and creativity. The pharmacy was able to reopen on Thursday, but the primary care and physical therapy offices aren’t expected to reopen until Monday.

The building was unharmed in the flooding, but clean water is necessary for safe patient care, she said. The Woodstock Aqueduct Company issued a boil water notice earlier this week.

It’s “all about infection control,” Needham-Shropshire said.

For the time being, the clinic’s appointments have been moved to Windsor where about 50% of patients with scheduled visits were able to be seen, she said.

Even if the boil water order remains in place on Monday, the health center expects to be able to reopen using bottled water for drinking and water containers for hand washing. Port-a-potties have already been brought in, she said. 

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