COVID-19 Sunday update: N.H. deaths top 600

  • Lenora Kahn, her dog Bella, and Judith Albert dine outside of Marjoram Roux on Railroad Street in Great Barrington, Mass., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Even as the weather gets chilly, outdoor dining is safer than dining indoors at a restaurant. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP) Ben Garver

Published: 12/13/2020 8:21:45 PM
Modified: 12/13/2020 8:21:43 PM

A fourth person at Hanover Terrace died from COVID-19 this weekend as the nursing home works to contain an outbreak that has infected 64 of its 69 residents.

Martha Ilsley, Hanover Terrace’s temporary administrator, said in an email Tuesday that four residents are considered “seriously ill,” while 10 have recovered from coronavirus and five tested negative.

“We continue to test the negative residents daily,” she said, adding another round of testing is scheduled for Monday.

The nursing home has 27 staff members out of 95 who have tested positive for COVID-19, with 12 who have recovered and returned to work, according to Ilsley.

“I remain appreciative of all of my staff who are so committed and dedicated to our residents, and to all of our community for their ongoing support to our staff and residents,” she said.

First doses of vaccine arriving Monday

New Hampshire health officials say they expect the first doses of the new Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to arrive in the Granite State on Monday.

More than 12,600 doses of the vaccine will be available to at-risk health care workers, including front-line clinical staff who provide direct care to patients, according to a news release from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Subsequent doses arriving in the coming weeks will go to at-risk health workers, residents of long-term care facilities, and first responders, the release said.

“New Hampshire is ready to hit the ground running to do our part in delivering this game-changing vaccine,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement on Sunday. “It is an all-hands-on-deck effort for one of the most important undertakings in the history of our state. The State stands ready to get to work and distribute this life-saving vaccine to the citizens of our state.”

Guidelines call for two doses of vaccine to be administered 21-days apart, with a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% during initial trials. Those vaccinated were shown to be maximally protected 1 – 2 weeks after receiving the second dose.

New Hampshire deathstop 600

New Hampshire COVID-19 deaths topped 600 this weekend as state health officials announced that another 13 people died from virus-related illness.

The state Department of Health and Human Services reported Saturday that 10 people died from coronavirus-related illness, followed by an additional three deaths on Sunday.

All of those who died were at least 60 years old, according to HHS news releases.

The state also reported 1,513 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.

Of those, 395 cases were from Saturday while the remainder were from the past week.

There are currently 6,560 cases of coronavirus reported in New Hampshire, while 251 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to DHHS figures

Neighboring Vermont reported 80 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday morning, bringing its total of active cases to 2,206.

Vermont has seen 95 virus-related deaths and there are 22 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the Green Mountain State.

Massachusetts tightens restrictions

Restaurants across Massachusetts face tighter restrictions and indoor theaters are again closed under reinstated public health measures that took effect Sunday as the state experiences a second surge in COVID-19 cases.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced the rollbacks Tuesday, saying the state “cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here.”

Baker's move allows restaurants to remain open but requires diners to wear masks at all times except while eating or drinking. No more than six people are allowed at a table instead of 10, and there is a 90-minute limit for meals.

The maximum number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings has been reduced from 100 to 50, and anyone hosting outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people must provide advance notice to their local board of health.

Indoor theaters and performance venues are again closed, and outdoor venues will be limited to 25% capacity with no more than 50 people.

Rhode Island health director tests positive for COVID-19

The director of the Rhode Island Department of Health has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement Saturday night from the governor's office.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott is asymptomatic and will continue to work from home. She had attended the state's weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday.

Gov. Gina Raimondo tested negative Saturday and will continue to be tested throughout her seven-day quarantine, according to her spokesman Josh Block. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, Block and consultant medical director Dr. Philip Chan will also quarantine since they also attended Thursday's news conference.

Block said he tested negative and Commerce spokesman Matt Sheaff said Pryor tested negative on Saturday. Chan will be tested Sunday.

Alexander-Scott is the second member of Raimondo’s cabinet to test positive. Director of Administration Brett Smiley tested positive Thursday.

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