The news from the Vermont Health Department regarding COVID-19 cases was upbeat at Governor Scott’s January 27 press conference. Case numbers are down, deaths are down, positivity rates are down and testing is up. And 29,000 Vermonters over the age of 75 are registered to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

All these things are heartening and it’s great to get good news. The state’s ability to provide easy and free access to reliable testing has been critical to both the lowering of the positivity rate and the ability to identify asymptomatic people and help stop the spread of the virus.

Enter the Mad River Valley Ambulance Service – our local all-volunteer emergency medical response service. Since mid-December, volunteers have been staged in the parking lot of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on one weekend day. People can register for testing online or simply drive-in.

They’re well-organized, have a good system and protocols that work to make the testing incredibly fast and easy. These folks are giving up their weekends to make sure those who need to get tested can do so. For most of us, driving to the phone company parking lot is a pretty short journey.


With the news last Friday that there were two positive cases at Waitsfield Elementary School, there was suddenly the need for a lot more people in the community to get tested and so they did. The school community and the greater community is lucky to have this resource and even luckier to have it staffed by volunteers.

Keep in mind that MRVAS volunteers are staffing this testing site while volunteers are also providing 24/7 EMS support for five towns and three ski areas. That’s a lot of volunteering!

We’re always grateful for our 50-year-old, all-volunteer ambulance service whether they’re responding to car crashes, ski accidents, household trauma, etc., but now – more than ever – we’re incredibly grateful that they’re willing and able to offer this service for us.

This week a local parent said she was having her teenager (with a service sector job) get tested every week because it was his civic duty to keep his community safe. MRVAS is making that possible.

Testing is free. Register online at