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Monday COVID Update: Prison staffer tests positive; equipment shortage shut mobile lab

  • N.H. COVID-19 cases —Courtesy

Published: 4/6/2020 7:33:43 AM

Hotels, inns and short-term rentals like AirBNB can rent rooms to “vulnerable populations and essential workers only” under a new executive order from Gov. Chris Sununu.

The order, issued Monday, does not apply to public and private campgrounds.

Among those eligible to be housed are people “at risk of domestic violence,” the homeless, those receiving “long-term specialized medical care” and people stuck in New Hampshire due to “flight cancellations, border closures” or other problems. 

 Essential workers include employees of businesses ruled essential as well as health-care employees. 

In other details, the order said online reservations are put on hold; reservations can now be made by phone only.  Existing guests can remain through the end of their current stay. Police “shall have the authority to enforce this order.”

Prison worker tests positive

The NH Department of Corrections has learned that an employee who works out of the NH State Prison for Men had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3, and is now quarantined at home.

This employee last worked in the facility March 25, and did not return until April 1, at which time the employee was denied entry based on the COVID-19 screening process and was directed to follow-up with their healthcare provider. That follow-up resulted in the positive test confirmation.

As of Monday, no other staff or prisoners have tested positive for  COVID-19.

N.H. road traffic continues to plummet

Fewer than a million transactions were recorded by New Hampshire tollbooths last week, the lowest figure in recent memory, as people are staying at home rather than driving.

A total of 934,000 trips were recorded through Sunday, April 5, about 100,000 fewer than the week before and only about 45% of the average weekly total before mid-March.

The number of trips by cars has fallen much more than trips by trucks. Car traffic was at 40% of the recent average last week while truck traffic was down only about 25%.  

COVID tally rises in N.H.

The tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in New Hampshire, hitting 669 on Sunday with 49 new cases, including cases in Coos County, which until now had not had any positive test results.

A total of nine deaths have now been attributed to the disease in New Hampshire, all but one in a person over 60 years old.  

Of positive patients, 40% are female and 60% male, which echoes reports from around the globe that the disease seems to affect men more than women.

So far, 92 of the 669 positive cases have been hospitalized – 14% or about one out of every seven.

Sixteen of the new cases have no identified risk factors, indicating that the disease continues to spread from person to person. 

Equipment shortage shuts mobile test lab

A shortage of testing equipment and safety materials has officials to close a mobile COVID-19 testing at the New Hampshire National Guard Armory in Manchester.

“This decision was made in consultation with local partners and is based on several factors, including, but not limited to, shortages in available personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing swabs and the need to clean and service equipment at the testing site,” Manchester Emergency Operations Center officials said in a news release.

Since March 14, the mobile site has tested about 1,000 people in the Greater Manchester area.

According to the release, the site was set up in partnership with Manchester Health Department, Manchester Fire Department, Manchester Police Department, Elliot Health System, Catholic Medical Center, the New Hampshire Army National Guard, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and American Medical Response.

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