COVID-19: Cases still surging at Dartmouth, long-term care facilities

  • Andrew Lane, COVID-19 coordinator and director of the Sharon Academy Middle School, right, collects a nasal swab in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, for a PCR test from a student who had an exposure late last week and was asymptomatic. With the PCR results expected in as little as 36 hours, the student also took a rapid antigen test, which was negative. As the Vermont Agency of Education issued a new test-at-home COVID-19 protocol for public schools last week, independent schools in the state are to continue with test-to-stay. Lane said that because of the small size of his school and his expectation that independent schools will receive the same test-at-home supplies in a matter of weeks, he is comfortable continuing with the current routine. “Once you do something every day, it becomes ritual,” said Lane. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • School Counselor Lydia Wood, packages up her nasal swab after taking a PCR test at the Sharon Academy Middle School in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Wood, who also works as an EMT and has family members who are immunocompromised, said she is testing weekly as a precaution. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

  • School Counselor Lydia Wood, packages up her nasal swab after taking a PCR test at the Sharon Academy Middle School in Sharon, Vt., on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Wood, who also works as an EMT and has family members who are immunocompromised, said she is testing weekly as a precaution. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/21/2022 10:30:03 PM
Modified: 1/21/2022 10:29:57 PM

HANOVER — Cases of COVID-19 remain high at Dartmouth College, which reported nearly 750 active cases on Thursday.

The college, where nearly 98% of students and employees have been vaccinated, has seen almost 1,200 new cases in the past week. Cases at the college have been surging since students returned for winter term earlier this month.

But as of Monday none of the student cases had resulted in illness serious enough to require hospitalization, according to Dr. Lisa Adams, a professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

“That’s great news,” she said. “What I think we are seeing is we can have cases without adverse outcomes.”

She also noted that Dartmouth knows about the large number of cases on campus only because it requires regular testing.

“Many of them we wouldn’t know about if we weren’t doing mandatory testing,” she said.

Adams, who co-led the college’s response to COVID-19 until last summer, has returned to her day job, clinical research, teaching and leading the college’s global health programs. But she retains a seat on the college’s scientific advisory committee that meets regularly to review COVID-19 data and track trends.

Cases and hospitalizations in the Twin States and beyond remain high, and deaths continue to climb. Adams said she’s watching the data for evidence that case counts are decreasing. She’d like to see seven days of decline.

“Sometimes the trend is only something we can see looking in the rearview mirror,” she said.

Once the numbers come down, she said she expects conversations will shift to how to keep them low. She expects that will include continued masking indoors, which Dartmouth currently requires for both academic and social gatherings. Adams is teaching this term and she requires students to wear KN95 masks, which the college is distributing, to class. She also requires some physical distancing. Students who are in isolation can watch lectures online, she said.

In trying to create appropriate mitigation strategies, Adams said, the college has to walk a fine line between keeping people safe from illness and supporting their mental health.

Dartmouth faculty are “just trying to be flexible and responsive to our students,” she said.

Long-term care facilities see outbreaks

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — COVID-19 outbreaks in Upper Valley long-term care facilities are on the rise in the Twin States.

New Hampshire reported a total of 24 current outbreaks in long-term care facilities on Wednesday and Vermont had 15 on Tuesday, according to the state health departments.

In the Upper Valley, outbreaks were ongoing this week at Grafton County Nursing Home in North Haverhill, Elm Wood Center in Claremont, Valley Terrace in White River Junction and the Village at White River Junction.

As of Wednesday, Grafton County Nursing Home had had a total of 14 cases in an ongoing outbreak there, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. That includes two residents and 12 workers. The Elm Wood Center in Claremont had a total of 10 cases, including six residents and four employees. Neither outbreak included any deaths, according to DHHS.

Meanwhile, the Village at White River Junction had six total cases as of Tuesday, according to the Vermont Department of Health. The count for Valley Terrace was not available.

Weathersfield offices temporarily closed

WEATHERSFIELD — The town of Weathersfield has temporarily closed its town office to the public due to a COVID-19 exposure, according to the town website.

Town employees are still available by email, mail and telephone. Non-cash payments can be left in a drop box.

More information is available by calling 802-674-2626.

Vaccination clinics set for Weathersfield, West Fairlee and Charlestown

WEATHERSFIELD — The Weathersfield School is scheduled to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people age 5 and older on Saturday.

The walk-in clinic is scheduled to take place at 135 Schoolhouse Road in Ascutney from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Friday, there will be a vaccine clinic at the West Fairlee town office, 870 Route 113, from 3-6 p.m. for people age 5 and older. Flu shots also will be available.

Charlestown Middle School, 307 Main St., is scheduled to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for ages 5 and older at 9 a.m.-2 p.m Jan. 30

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.




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