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COVID-19: Cases keep cropping up in Windsor, Claremont

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2021 9:49:45 PM
Modified: 1/13/2021 9:49:41 PM

WINDSOR — A residential care home and two schools in the Windsor area have cases of COVID-19, and Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center is adding inpatient capacity to treat the growing number of patients with the novel coronavirus, according to its CEO.

“We have experienced increased emergency room and inpatient volumes due to COVID-19 in the communities we serve,” Dr. Joseph Perras, CEO of the Windsor hospital, said via email Wednesday. Windsor County had 26 new cases on Wednesday, and 235 in the past two weeks, according to the Vermont Department of Health’s dashboard. Orange County, to the north, had just one new case on Wednesday and 57 new cases in the past two weeks.

The Davis Home on State Street in Windsor has an outbreak of six cases, according to the Department of Health’s list of outbreaks in long-term care facilities. The facility’s owner, Jennifer Silva, acknowledged the cases that are listed but declined to say more about them other than, “Everyone here is healthy.”

According to Davis Home’s website, the Level III Residential Community Care Home provides care for adults with disabilities including dementia who do not require a nursing home level of care.

An employee at the Weathersfield School tested positive for COVID-19 last week during surveillance testing conducted by the state, according to Windsor Southeast Superintendent David Baker. In addition, Windsor School officials on Sunday notified families of two high school students who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Dartmouth may tighten restrictions

HANOVER — Due to increasing numbers of cases in the Upper Valley and among students slated to return to campus, Dartmouth College may have to scale back some of its plans for increased social engagement during the winter term, Provost Joseph Helble said Wednesday.

As a result, Helble sent an email to undergraduates offering them a chance to change their plans for winter term, switching from on-campus to remote learning. About half of the school’s undergraduate students are slated to return this weekend for the term that began remotely for all last week.

Pre-arrival testing required of all students planning to attend in person this term showed a 1% infection rate, Helble said. In addition, he noted that Grafton County, where Hanover sits, has 10 times more active cases per capita now than it did in October.

Students who opt to switch to remote learning will be refunded their room and board, Helble said. Students who return to campus may face longer quarantine periods; be required to eat alone in their rooms; see in-person classes shift to remote models; and have access to parts of campus, including the library and gym, “greatly restricted or closed,” Helble said.

Claremont cases continue to rise

CLAREMONT — School officials announced eight more COVID-19 cases in Claremont schools in spite of the fact that students have been learning remotely since last week.

Claremont School Board Chairman Frank Sprague said the School Board would discuss whether to extend remote learning to Feb. 1 at a meeting following a school budget hearing on Wednesday evening. Students are slated to return for in-person learning on Tuesday, after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Sprague, a former Stevens High School principal, said in a Wednesday morning phone interview that he didn’t know how the board’s discussion would go. But, he added that, “If we made a decision to go remote based on the former data, (and) the current data isn’t very encouraging, I think that we’ll be extending to Feb. 1.”

Claremont Assistant Superintendent Donna Magoon on Wednesday announced eight new cases in the district, including three at the preschool, three at Stevens, one at Maple Avenue Elementary School and one at Claremont Middle School, which officials had previously announced.

Two of the new Stevens cases and the Maple Avenue case were not in people who were in school during their infectious periods. Their names have been sent to DHHS for contact tracing, Magoon said. Contact tracing for the preschool cases was ongoing on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, she said. Contact tracing for the third Stevens case had been completed by Wednesday afternoon.

Magoon urged people to get PCR tests rather than rapid tests if they may have been exposed because PCR tests are more accurate, especially when people don’t have symptoms, she said. She asked that members of the school community who develop symptoms notify the school nurse immediately and she encouraged everyone to wash their hands often, avoid close contact with others, wear masks when out in public and stay home when unwell.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at or 603-727-3213.

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