Update: More deaths at N.H. Veterans Home bringing total to 28 due to COVID-19 outbreak

  • The New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/8/2020 10:23:26 AM

The New Hampshire Veterans reported seven new resident deaths over the weekend, bringing the total number of dead veterans to 28. 

The COVID-19 outbreak rapidly tore through the home and its residents since it was introduced in early November, likely from a staff member who brought it inside. The National Guard was called in to help perform COVID-19 tests as more than 40% of the 117 residents have been infected by the virus and nearly a quarter have died.

On Sunday, the Tilton home made a plea to the public to apply to work at the facility, as the facility faced a rampant coronavirus outbreak and staff shortages in nearly every position— security officers, food workers, maintenance crews, laundry workers, and nurses. About 60 people have responded to the call for help

The spread of the disease at the facility has been swift. Here’s a timeline:

■Dec. 7: 46 resident cases, 45 staff cases, 28 deaths

■Dec. 2: 45 resident cases, 41 staff cases, 21 deaths

■Nov. 20: 32 resident cases, 26 staff cases, 8 deaths

■Nov. 19: 15 resident cases, 21 staff cases, 0 deaths

■Nov. 12: 9 resident cases, 1 staff case, 0 deaths

■Nov. 10: First case reported

New cases at local schools

A student at Merrimack Valley High School in Concord has tested positive for COVID-19, superintendent Mark MacLean announced. Hybrid learning will continue unless any connected cases arise, in which case the school will pivot to remote, MacLean wrote.

Two students at Merrimack Valley Middle School in Concord have tested positive for COVID-19. The cases are connected to community/household transmission and not school transmission, MacLean wrote Monday, and neither student was at school during the contact tracing window.

A staff member at Loudon Elementary School has also tested positive for the disease. The employee had attended a few in-person classes, due to the “responsibilities of the job,” MacLean wrote. Some staff members and students are in quarantine.

A student at Boscawen Elementary School and a student at Penacook Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19. Neither student has been at school for a while, so quarantining is not necessary for these cases, MacLean wrote.

There is also one new case at Canterbury Elementary School, according to the Shaker Regional School District’s online COVID dashboard. The dashboard was updated Tuesday.

State tops 1,000 new cases in single day

In a grim milestone that officials had predicted weeks ago, New Hampshire has now seen 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day.

On Monday, the state reported 1,045 new cases of the disease. That is more than 200 higher than the largest previous one-day tally of 782.

They also said 185 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, by far the highest number since the springtime peak, and the cumulative death tally is nearing 600.

The state also said that the positive rate for PCR tests is now over 6%, a sure sign that the disease is spreading widely in the population.

State prison outbreak

Eight inmates and 17 staff members at the New Hampshire State Prison for men have tested positive for COVID-19.

This comes just a couple of days after the first reported cluster of cases among inmates at the state prison. For much of the pandemic, New Hampshire prisons have avoided the clusters of outbreaks that have been reported in prisons across the country. Before this outbreak, only one inmate in the state prison system, which houses more than 2,000 people, tested positive for COVID-19. The men’s prison has administered 138 COVID-19 tests since the start of the pandemic.

Delayed return

Dartmouth College has decided to delay the return of undergraduates to campus next month because of concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases around the country and in New Hampshire.

Students were scheduled to return following the holidays on Jan. 5-6, with classes starting on Jan. 7. Classes will start remotely, instead, Provost Joseph Helble said Monday in a campus email. Students are now scheduled to return on Jan. 16-17.

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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