FirstLight’s rapid response enables hospital to ready for COVID-19 pandemic surge

Albany, NY – June 2, 2020 – FirstLight, a leading provider of fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud, and unified communications services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast, announced today that Rutland Regional Medical Center has selected FirstLight to provide fiber connectivity to its standby emergency “surge site” at Spartan Arena in Rutland, Vermont.

Surge sites are temporary, makeshift medical clinics, made available during an emergency to treat non-critical patients to free up space in intensive care areas to treat critically ill patients. Surge sites have been created in many parts of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for triage, and are typically equipped with beds, chairs, and basic medical equipment.

Given that Internet and telecommunications play such a vital role in emergency response and coordinated health care, Jeremy Carrara, Rutland Regional’s Telecommunications Manager, played an integral role in helping to locate a suitable site. One of his first priorities was to contact service providers to inquire about services that were available at possible Alternate Care Sites (ACS). FirstLight provided the best solution and cost.

“Early on, Rutland Regional was evaluating sites that could support non-critical patients,” explained Carrara. “We were considering three possible sites a week into the stay at home order, in collaboration with the State of Vermont. We designated Spartan Arena as the best Alternate Care Site for our region.”

“Having selected FirstLight as the provider with the best solution and cost, we worked with our account representative to get documents signed, orders written, and service installed in a record three days.”

Located at the Diamond Run Mall Complex in Rutland, Vermont, the site was ready to accommodate as many as 100 patients.

Fortunately, as with other backup surge sites across the country, the Spartan Arena did not have to be commissioned, as the hospital has been able to fully accommodate patients at its ICU, and patient beds have been available. “Thankfully, we haven’t needed the extra beds,” Carrara
commented. “However if there is a second wave, we now have a proven plan for this type of situation or any other emergency requiring a surge site.”

“Hospital staff have rightfully been recognized as heroes during this pandemic, and this is one more example of how a hospital like Rutland Regional Medical Center and its staff have gone above and beyond in ensuring their patients and communities are well supported,” said Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight. “This pandemic has highlighted how important high-speed, low-latency connectivity is to society at large. It’s humbling and rewarding to know that Rutland Regional Medical Center turned to us during this unprecedented global situation, and we’re pleased to have been able to quickly mobilize and respond.”