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New Hampshire coronavirus cases up to 26

By NANCY WEST - InDepthNH.org | Mar 17, 2020

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced nine new positive test results for COVID-19 just before 5 p.m. Tuesday saying some are community-based transmission.

The new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are all in adults, including five males and four females. Persons are from the counties of Rockingham (4), Hillsborough (3), and Grafton (2).

That brings the total to 26 in New Hampshire.

“Several individuals from Rockingham and Grafton counties have no identified risk factors indicating that New Hampshire is experiencing community-based transmission of COVID-19,” according to the press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, said, “The increasing number of cases and new evidence of community-based transmission raises concern that the COVID-19 outbreak is intensifying in New Hampshire.”

There was no mention earlier in the day at Gov. Chris Sununu’s press conference that there were more positive cases and the first report of community-based transmissions.

The press conference focused on help available to people impacted by COVID-19 such as expanded unemployment benefits and the prohibition against utility and fuel shutoffs, evictions and foreclosures during the State of Emergency Sununu declared four days ago.

All patients are isolating at home and have not required hospitalization.

“The State has put into place measures to help prevent larger scale transmission at schools and larger gatherings; however, it is critical for everybody to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and practice social distancing. We know that this novel coronavirus can be spread very easily through close contact, and the virus can be spread even when people are only having very mild early symptoms of illness,” Chan said.

Symptoms of COVID-19 most often include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough. However, early mild symptoms can include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and chills. Fever may not develop until several days into illness, or not at all, but people can still transmit the novel coronavirus. People that are concerned about COVID-19 should discuss their symptoms and any risk factors by phone with their healthcare provider before presenting for testing.

“We recommend that testing be performed in individuals with more serious illness (e.g. hospitalized patients), healthcare providers, and individuals who have contact to more vulnerable persons or large groups of people. But as COVID-19 becomes more common in our communities, confirming infection for every patient presenting with fever and respiratory symptoms becomes impractical and does not change how a person’s illness is managed,” the release said.

The release also said:

Further, presenting for testing potentially exposes the public, healthcare workers, and vulnerable persons to COVID-19. For most people with this infection, symptoms will be mild and easily managed at home, as you would for flu. Anyone who develops symptoms should stay home and self-isolate.

Additionally, we must preserve our limited personal protective equipment and specimen collection supplies for our healthcare system to be able to care for the minority of patients who develop severe COVID-19 illness over the coming months.

Given the increasing spread of COVID-19 worldwide and in the United States, all people should take the following precautions to protect themselves and help prevent further community spread:

• Stay home and avoid public places when sick (i.e. social distancing)

• Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing=

• Wash hands frequently

• Avoid being within 6 feet (close contact) of a person who is sick

• Avoid sharing drinks, smoking/vaping devices, or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva

• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

For more information on COVID-19 in NH, please visit www.nh.gov/covid19. For the latest information from the CDC, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.


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