CONCORD, NH — Another three elderly Granite Staters have died as a result of COVID-19, according to the State Joint Information Center.
Two of the three women lived in Hillsborough County while the third woman lived in Rockingham County. Two were connected to long-term care settings, according to the state's data dashboard, and all were 80 years of age or older.
Their deaths bring the fatality count to 427 in the state. According to the state's health data, 81.3 percent of deaths in New Hampshire are connected to long-term settings while 63 percent of the fatalities were Granite Staters who were 80 years of age or older.
Another 19 new positive COVID-19 test results were reported by health officials Wednesday including a child. Fifty-three percent of the cases were male. Six of the new patients live in Manchester, five reside in Rockingham County, four live in Hillsborough County outside of Manchester and Nashua, two live in Merrimack County, and two live in Nashua.
The state has 7,036 accumulative cases while 90 percent or 6,347 have recovered from the virus. There are currently 262 active cases in New Hampshire.
Health officials said there were no new hospitalizations and 12 patients currently receiving more extensive care. Seven of the new cases, however, have no identified risk factors meaning that "community-based transmission continues in the state," the report said.
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On Tuesday, the state collected 2,293 specimens. So far, more than 188,000 people have been tested with polymerase chain reaction tests while 28,837 residents have been tested with antibody lab tests. The state has 922 tests awaiting results.
Approximately 2,375 people are under public health monitoring by the state.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock To Eye Wastewater
Researchers have begun eyeing the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the wastewater of cities and towns.
They decided to look at the waste after realizing 60 percent of patients were shedding the virus in their waste. The research could be a "valuable complement to human diagnostics, and an efficient, cost-effective and less invasive 'heads up' of a significant spread of the virus, especially in institutional settings," according to officials.
Clinical Chemist Jacqueline Hubbard, PhD, and Medical Microbiologist Isabella Martin, MD, along with Project coordinator Gregory Tsongalis, PhD, vice chairman for Research and director of the Laboratory for Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technology in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock are leading the research, nicknamed RECOVER, which stands for Regional COVID-19 Virus Evaluation in Recrement.
"The idea of testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 bubbled up early on in the pandemic around the globe," said Martin. "So it seemed like a good way of improving our overall understanding of the pandemic here in our region."
The research comes on the heels of a push from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which launched the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) to collect data nationwide — to better understand the data and determine best practices for testing.
"Not only can you see a spike of the virus in wastewater up to seven days sooner than you see patients presenting with symptoms, but you can test a large group of people all at once, regardless of symptoms," said Hubbard. "In facility specific settings, you can save a lot of resources required to constantly test individuals. Plus, the workers at the municipal wastewater treatment plants have been so enthusiastic about participating, which has been rewarding for us."
The project will be done in three phases including testing methods, testing the wastewater in three communities daily for two weeks to refine the testing, and then surveillance in more communities in New Hampshire and Vermont including nursing homes, prisons, and colleges.
"There is definitely national momentum behind this topic," said Martin. "Here at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, we feel well-positioned to be at the forefront of testing in our region, contribute our data to the national effort and help develop the best methods for testing."
Stop The Spread Of COVID-19
The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory droplets, usually through coughing and sneezing, and exposure to others who are sick or might be showing symptoms.
Health officials emphasize residents should follow these recommendations:
Avoid any domestic and international travel, especially on public transportation such as buses, trains, and airplanes.
Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, including distancing while in waiting areas or lines.
When you can't practice 6 feet of social distancing, wear a face covering.
Anyone who is told to self-quarantine and stay at home due to exposure to a person with confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 needs to stay home and not go out into public places.
If you are 60 years or older or have chronic and underlying health conditions, you need to stay home and not go out.
Avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
Employers should work from home as much as possible.
There is increasing evidence that the virus can survive for hours or possibly days on surfaces. People should clean frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, grocery carts and grocery basket handles, etc.
Take the same precautions as you would if you were sick:
Stay home and avoid public places.
Wear a face covering.
Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
Wash hands frequently.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Guidance to schools can be found can be found here.
Instructions for returning travelers to self-observe for symptoms of COVID-19 are available are available here.
For more information on COVID-19 in NH, visit its site here.
For the latest information from the CDC, visit its site here.
To access the state's COVID-19 data dashboard, click on this link here.
To access the state's COVID-19 Interactive Map Dashboard, click on this link here.
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