Vt. Man in Critical Condition With COVID-19

As awareness of the disease and infections grows, some consumers are turning to homemade hand sanitizers, but the CDC has context it wants Americans to keep in mind

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Officials at Vermont's largest hospital Thursday announced a man they are treating for COVID-19 is in critical condition.

The patient, who the Vermont Department of Health said is from Chittenden County and in his 70s, is in an isolation room in the intensive care section of the UVM Medical Center, according to the hospital.

"Our thoughts are with the patient that's here at the UVM Medical Center, their family, and with all across our region that are impacted by this pandemic," said Dr. John Brumsted of the UVM Medical Center.

The Vermont Department of Health said a team of employees is now methodically tracing the man's travels and alerting people he might have come in contact with about their possible exposure.

The Chittenden County case is Vermont's second known COVID-19 illness. The first was recorded in a man in Bennington County.

As COVID-19 concerns grow, consumers have been buying large quantities of hand sanitizers, which has left some people turning to do-it-yourself cleansers.

However, the Centers for Disease Control provides guidance on the use of hand sanitizers any DIY users may want to keep in mind.

"If you have soap and water, it's preferred," said MaryBeth Perilli, a teacher of family and consumer science classes at Essex High School.

Perilli has been giving her students reminders to limit contact with others, to disinfect surfaces they use a lot, and above all else, to wash their hands well and often.

"Keeping our hands away from our face and mouth and eyes," Essex senior Logan Tourville said, adding an example of another way he and peers are trying to stay healthy. "Being smart about it — like you would with any other sickness or disease."

"It definitely is scary that it's traveled all over the world so quickly," Calvin Leo, another Essex senior, said about COVID-19. "For me, I'm stressing more about my grandparents and my dad and all the older people."

Thursday, some of Perilli's students were making their own hand cleansers, using a recipe that called for aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol — an ingredient that, like name brand sanitizers, has been hard to come by in stores.

Perilli told the students rubbing alcohol was sold out at more than a half-dozen stores she had visited.

In a pinch, the students were using the astringent witch hazel, but they were aware the CDC really wants everyone to go the good old-fashioned route: using soap and water on all surfaces of their hands and in between their fingers for a minimum of 20 seconds.

In other words, hand sanitizers are more like a temporary fix, and not a replacement for a sink and soap.

If you do use them, medical experts want you to rub the sanitizers over all surfaces of your hands until they dry completely.

The CDC says sanitizers should have a minimum of 60% alcohol. Anything else may just slow the growth of microbes, but not kill the threats, the CDC warns.

Click here for more information from the CDC on hand sanitizers.

"I'm washing my hands quite a bit," Tourville said, adding that he primarily uses sanitizers between opportunities to wash his hands.

The education in the age of coronavirus has evidently set in with these high schoolers.

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