NH Coronavirus: Transmission Warning Issued For Northwood, Salem

Tony Schinella

This article originally appeared on the Concord Patch

CONCORD, NH — State officials said Thursday another 21 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the new coronavirus — and issued two alerts concerning potential community exposure in both Northwood and Salem earlier this month. The new cases included 15 women, five men, and a boy. The boy is the third child to become infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak.

Eleven of the new patients live in Rockingham County, four live in Manchester, and two live in Merrimack County, specifically, in the Concord area, according to Concord Hospital.

Twenty-five of the patients are hospitalized, about 16 percent of those tested, according to Jake Leon, a public information officer with the New Hampshire Health and Human Services Department.

"Community-based transmission continues to increase in the state and has been identified in the majority of counties," Leon said. "The remaining cases have either had travel to domestic or international locations or have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis."

According to the state, 3,395 people have tested negative for the new coronavirus after tests by the state, LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and other samples sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before the state began testing for the virus. Another 2,721 specimens have been submitted to the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories with 592 tests pending at the state labs. This number doesn't include tests pending at commercial labs, according to the state. Approximately 825 are under public health monitoring in New Hampshire.

State officials also issued two new warnings about potential community transmissions in both Northwood and Salem.

In Salem, the department has determined a coronavirus patient visited the Honey Dew Donuts/Season's Corner Market on South Broadway in Salem on three occasions: Between 5 and 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17; 5 and 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18; and 5 to 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 19.

"Any individuals who visited the Honey Dew Donuts on the dates and times above may have been potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus and should observe their health for fever or respiratory illness," Leon said. "Any person who visited the facility and develops symptoms should stay away from other people, and immediately contact their healthcare provider."

A second potential exposure occurred at an event at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at the Garrish Gym at Coe-Brown Academy on the New Hampshire Turnpike in Northwood.

Anyone attending the event should also watch their health for fever and respiratory illness. If symptoms develop, attendees should stay away from others and conduct their health care provider, Leon said.

The risk of exposure only applies to the gym during the 7 p.m. event and no other school activities, Leon said.

The latest coronavirus data released by the state's health and human services department on March 26.

Tamworth Distilling Joins In Hand Sanitizer Fight

Another Granite State distillery is switching gears to move from creating spirts to lifting spirits, in a way, by manufacturing hand sanitizer and raising funds to assist health care workers fighting the coronavirus.

Tamworth Distilling has just created its White Mountain hand sanitizer and is donating 95 percent of its production to the Tamworth Community Nurse Association.

The bottles, which come emblazoned with "Live Clean Or Die" on the label, a play on New Hampshire's state motto, are available for purchase in 16 ounce bottles for $9.

It is being sold online only, here, at the company's website, beginning Friday.

Survey: Social Distancing May Hit NH Hardest

A new survey ranks New Hampshire as the third most social state in the nation — and noted that Granite Staters might have difficulty adjusting to the social distancing strategy being encouraged to stop the spread of COVID-19.

LendingTree.com looked a number of different factors such as non-work time spent socializing, time spent volunteering, and communication.

"New Hampshire came in third with 153 minutes of potential nonwork social time per day," the study said. "In terms of pure socializing for fun, New Hampshire residents rack up an impressive 68 minutes per day."

Rhode Island is the most social state with Idaho coming in second. Vermont was seventh, Maine 21st, and Massachusetts 30th.

Read the full study online here: Where Social Distancing Hits Residents the Hardest.

Statehouse To Remain Closed

All legislative activity is being suspended through May 4, according to Statehouse officials.

State Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, and Speaker of the House Stephen Shurtleff, D-Penacook, made the announcement Thursday after the Gov. Chris Sununu warned the public that a stay-at-home order would be issued Friday.

The Statehouse and Legislative Office Building will remain closed to legislative members, legislative staff, and visitors, during that time.

"In conjunction with the Governor's stay at home order issued today, we have extended the suspension of legislative activities through May 4 to protect the health and wellbeing of our members, staff, and the public," they said in a statement. "While lawmakers are not at the State House, we continue to work with our communities, state agencies, and Governor Sununu to address this outbreak and curb the health and economic impacts as much as possible."

Volinsky: 'Thank You, Governor'

District 2 Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who led the charge on requesting Sununu to issue a shelter-in-place, thanked the governor for his decision.

"It is reassuring to hear that Gov. Sununu has taken the prudent steps to shut down non-essential businesses and has instructed Granite Staters to stay at home," he said. "We've lost precious time in the last week, but I am hopeful this action comes soon enough to still save lives. Today's stay at home order and provision to provide childcare for essential workers are the right things to do."

In the statement, Volinsky's campaign mistakenly stated New Hampshire State Liquor and Wine Outlets would be closed — leading at least one journalist (me) who is not properly stocked for a liquor store lockdown scrambling to confirm the comment.

Linds Jakows, his deputy campaign manager, issued a correction about 90 minutes later, clarifying liquor stores would move to curbside pickup.

Community College Makes Donation

Staffers at River Valley Community College, where classes have moved completely online, came together to gather up supplies recently to donate to local hospitals.

The school donated ultrasound gel to the Widmer and Davis Artisan Distillery of Newport for hand sanitizer while paper, exam gowns, and gloves were donated to the Elm Wood Center a nursing and rehab facility. Valley Regional Hospital received a donation of N95 masks, surgical masks, and hair nets.

"There is no better time than now for our community to lend a hand to area organizations that are struggling to keep up with healthcare demands due to the current pandemic," said Alfred Williams, the president of the college. "I am proud of our administration, faculty and staff for showing their support by donating much needed medical supplies to local companies who need them most so they can continue to care for residents of our community during this difficult time."

Patch takes community journalism seriously and we want to be as much service to our readers as possible at this very uncertain time. If you are a public health worker, medical provider, elected official, patient, or other coronavirus expert — or you simply have a news tip you'd like to share — please fill out this form. We'll keep names and personal information private.

NH AG: When Giving, Be Careful

The attorney general is warning residents to be careful when making donations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Scanners, Gordon MacDonald noted in a news release, are taking advantage of people by selling "bogus treatment and prevention products," setting up fake charities, and sending what seem to be legit emails with bad links.

Before making donations, take the following steps:

  • Do your homework.
  • If the appeal claims to be from a charity, make sure that it is registered with the Attorney General’s Charitable Trusts Unit.
  • If the appeal is for an individual, think hard about donating unless you know the person needing help and that person’s circumstances.
  • Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation.
  • Check that you are dealing with a legitimate charity or individual and not an “imposter” with a deceptively similar name.
  • Do not assume that social media recommendations for donations are legitimate.

Don't miss updates about coronavirus precautions and information in New Hampshire as they are announced. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.

Also, beware of false claims and deception:

  • Do not be tempted by claims and advice on social media and online websites that certain products or treatments can cure or prevent COVID-19.
  • There currently are no prescription or over-the-counter pills, vaccines, oils, lotions, or other products available to treat or cure COVID-19. Always check with your health care provider before buying such products.

Beware phony CDC emails: Be careful about opening emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or from others claiming to have information about COVID-19. Clicking on links or attachments could cause a computer virus to infect your device.

Stay informed: For up-to-date information about the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the coronavirus info site in New Hampshire.

Doorway Programs Still Operating

Anti-drug addiction efforts via the "doorway" programs in both Manchester and Nashua are remaining open during the coronavirus outbreak.

Granite Pathways stated Wednesday that both locations will continue to provider services including assessment, referrals, and screenings, while also implementing initiatives being recommended by health officials to stop the spread of the virus.

The Manchester location, at 60 Rogers St., and the 12 Amherst St. location in Nashua, will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Grant Issued For NH LNAs

The New Hampshire Health Care Association received a $641,000 grant through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to recruit, assist and place upwards of 700 individuals in nursing homes across the state as licensed nursing assistants.

Individuals can be trained in as little as three weeks for the critical health care roles. There are also vacancies all around the state. Training funds are available for those workers who have been displaced or are eligible for Medicaid and additional efforts are underway to cover training costs for all.

"We’re in an unprecedented place right now in New Hampshire and across the country," said Brendan Williams, president and CEO of the association. "While COVID-19 strains our healthcare systems and has displaced thousands of people locally, we're hoping that more people will consider a career in caregiving to meet this massive need and challenge. That's what the NH Needs Caregivers campaign is all about."

Signup online at the caregivers website.

What You Can Do To Stop The Spread

COVID-19, not unlike the flu and other respiratory illnesses, 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.
  • Anybody who is told to self-quarantine and stay at home due to exposure to a person with confirmed or suspect COVID-19 needs to stay home and not go out into public places.
  • If you are 60 years or older or have chronic medical conditions, you need to stay home and not go out.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • Employers need to move to telework as much as possible.
  • There is increasing evidence that this virus can survive for hours or possibly even a few days on surfaces, so 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 when sick (i.e., social distancing).
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

More information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about coronavirus can be found here on the department's website.

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