Voters who went through Pembroke Academy, Belmont High School have tested positive for COVID-19

  • Voters utilizing privacy booths at The Barn at Bull Meadow voting area November 3rd, 2020. ALLIE ST PETER

Monitor staff
Published: 11/12/2020 2:39:17 PM

Several polling sites, including Pembroke Academy and Belmont High School, have been identified as places of potential community spread for COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

Commissioner Lori Shibinette said the department identified four people at four separate polling places – Pembroke Academy, Souhegan High School, Belmont High School, and Newfields Elementary School – who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last couple of days and who were unable to social distance while waiting in line to vote.

Throughout the day, 4,631 people cast votes on Election Day at Pembroke Academy according to a joint statement from the town manager and town clerk. The person who tested positive for COVID-19 arrived at Pembroke Academy between 7 and 8 p.m, said Ann Bond, the chair of the Pembroke Board of Selectmen.

Bond said poll workers were notified of the potential exposure, even though many of them did not come within 6 feet of voters.

“We all had our masks and stayed six feet apart,” she said. “The only person that may have come within 6 feet was the town moderator because he supervised the ballot box,” Bond said.

In Belmont, Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin said the town was alerted to the problem shortly before Thursday’s press conference and was sending notices to town residents.

“Anyone who voted should be monitoring themselves for any symptoms,” Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin.

The state did not indicate what time of day the sick person voted, she said.

Slightly more than 4,000 people cast ballots Tuesday at the polling place at Belmont High School. The school, with a current enrollment of 394, is on a hybrid model with some in-building classes.

Shibinette asked anyone who went to a polling station on Election Day, regardless of if it was one of the four locations noted, to monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus. 

This news comes as new cases in the state are skyrocketing – every county now has a “substantial rate” of community spread. Gov. Chris Sununu said given the high rates of cases, anyone who was in line to vote on election day at any polling location should be careful.  

“This could have been a situation almost everywhere,” he said. “Take it seriously.” 

Sununu lives in Newfields and voted at the elementary school Tuesday morning. 

Teddy Rosenbluth bio photo

Teddy Rosenbluth is a Report for America corps member covering health care issues for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. She has covered science and health care for Los Angeles Magazine, the Santa Monica Daily Press and UCLA's Daily Bruin, where she was a health editor and later magazine director. Her investigative reporting has brought her everywhere from the streets of Los Angeles to the hospitals of New Delhi. Her work garnered first place for Best Enterprise News Story from the California Journalism Awards, and she was a national finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists Best Magazine Article. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology.

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