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COVID-19: Dartmouth requires daily screening 

Staff and wire reports
Published: 5/11/2020 8:57:15 PM
Modified: 5/11/2020 8:57:11 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College on Monday began requiring all employees working on campus to be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and also said the rules apply to visitors, such as outside contractors and delivery drivers.

All faculty and staff who plan to be on campus must check their temperature — either at home in the morning or at one of two designated screening sites — and confirm that they have not been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days and haven’t been experiencing any symptoms.

Anyone answering yes to any of the questions or who has a temperature exceeding 100 degrees must return home and should notify a supervisor and contact a primary care provider, Dartmouth said in an announcement of the new protocols, which the college said follow New Hampshire state guidelines for reopening of businesses.

Dartmouth employees were told to wear a cloth mask or face covering while they go to a screening center and are also being advised to do so while working if they can’t maintain a 6-foot distance from others.

Dartmouth is conducting its spring and summer terms remotely, and only about 125 employees have been working on campus in such fields as health services, buildings and grounds, and food preparation for some students, mainly from overseas, who have not been able to return home. (Those students are not required to do the daily screening unless they also are working a college job.) Some faculty members are also using their offices to teach their classes online, the announcement said.

Dartmouth officials said the screening protocols did not mean that new requirements to work on campus were being implemented.

“The number of employees performing necessary on-campus work isn’t expected to change significantly because of the new screening procedure and its implementation doesn’t constitute a call-back for employees to return to campus,” Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said via email. “All employees whose jobs enable them to work from home, and who have the technology to do so, should continue to work remotely.”

Testing site at UVAC

Officials at the Vermont Department of Health said they are opening three “pop-up” testing sites this week, including one in Hartford on Saturday, to screen frontline workers and Vermonters who are returning from out of state.

The sites require an appointment and are geared to asymptomatic health care workers, first responders or child care providers serving essential workers. The sites may also be used by college students or people returning from winter stays elsewhere or to second homes in Vermont if they are on at least day 7 of their quarantine, authorities said.

The sites will be open on Tuesday in Bennington, on Thursday in Brattleboro, and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center off Route 5 in White River Junction.

Go to humanresources.vermont.gov/popups to make an appointment.

Although the pop-up sites are not open to the general public, Health Department officials said Vermonters with even mild symptoms should contact their primary care provider for a referral. Those without a PCP can call 211.

Valley Regional Hospital to phase in some services

Valley Regional Hospital on Monday began resuming some services that it had stopped performing in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. They include “lower-risk procedures” such as some elective surgeries, imaging services, cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation and rehabilitation therapy services, the Claremont hospital said in a news release.

All patients and visitors will be screened at the hospital entrance and are “strongly encouraged” to wear a cloth mask, the news release said.

“We remind the public that Valley Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department is always open, and we encourage patients not to ignore the signs of a medical emergency — if you need medical care now, seek care now to avoid more serious repercussions to your long-term health,” interim Valley Regional CEO Deanna Howard said in the release. “We are safe, and we are here for you.”

NH nursing homes get a boost

New Hampshire nursing homes struggling to retain workers during the pandemic could get help through an emergency order.

The order issued Monday creates a new job position of “temporary health partner” to help residents with tasks such as bathing and grooming, as well as providing end-of-life comfort.

There have been outbreaks at 18 long-term care facilities statewide, including new outbreaks reported Monday at the Hillsborough County Nursing Home and the Community Resources for Justice.

While deaths at such facilities account for more than three-quarters of the COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire, they represent a smaller fraction of the state’s total nursing home population compared to some nearby states, said Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

By the numbers

The Vermont Department of Health reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths on Monday. Nearly 930 people in Vermont have tested positive for the virus, and 53 people have died.

Symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, have expanded from fever, cough and shortness of breath to include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said.

“We expect there are many more people who are infected than the 900-plus who have tested positive to date,” Levine said.

As of Sunday, 3,071 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 61 from the previous day. There have been at least 133 coronavirus-related deaths in the state.




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