Dartmouth COVID-19 case counts continue to decline

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2021 9:33:27 PM
Modified: 3/8/2021 9:33:26 PM

HANOVER — Dartmouth College has begun easing COVID-19 restrictions after case counts continued to decline at the college over the weekend.

The relaxation of restrictions on Monday included reopening group spaces including Baker-Berry Library, Collis Center, Top of the Hop, Kemeny Hall, Alumni Gym and Zimmerman Fitness Center, Dr. Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston, the co-chairs of the college’s COVID-19 taskforce, said in a message to the community.

Despite the gradual reopening, students continue to be barred from visiting one another in their rooms or gathering in hallways, the message said. Common spaces and kitchens in residence halls remain closed and dining options will continue to be “grab and go.”

On Monday, the total number of active cases at Dartmouth had declined to 78, including 75 students and three employees. That was down 59 from the college’s total on Friday. The number of people in isolation and quarantine also dropped nearly 60% from 276 on Friday to 111 on Monday.

Dartmouth Provost Joseph Helble said in a Friday message that the college planned on Monday to ease some of the restrictions it imposed last month to try to contain the outbreak, including allowing in-person classes and undergraduate student laboratories to resume, as long as case numbers continued to decline and there were no “major” COVID-19 guideline violations over the weekend.

Adams and Keniston urged Dartmouth community members to continue to wear masks when they go out, to maintain 6 feet between themselves and others, and to restrict the size of their gatherings.

“Attending events and gatherings increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19,” they wrote in their Monday message.

VA opens vaccine clinics to all ages

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The White River Junction VA Medical Center now is vaccinating veterans of all ages against COVID-19, due to an increase in the availability of vaccine, according to its website.

To qualify, veterans must be enrolled in VA healthcare. To do so, they can call 802-295-9363 ext. 4004 or 5118.

Veterans who would like to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can call 802-296-5151. The lines will be busy and there may be a wait, the website said.

Upper Valley schools see cases

NEWPORT, N.H. — One student at Newport High School tested positive for COVID-19 on March 1, according to the superintendent.

Because the school had been on vacation the prior week, no changes to the school’s operations were necessary, said Superintendent Brendan Minnihan in an email.

One new case also was identified at the Claremont Christian Academy on Maple Avenue on March 4, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services dashboard of school cases. The school previously had identified another case on Feb. 23.

Signup starts forVermonters ages 55-64 with high risk conditions

MONTPELIER — Vermont is now in its next phase of vaccine distribution, with people ages 55 to 64 with certain high-risk health conditions eligible to sign up for the shots.

Registration for vaccine appointments opened on Monday. The eligible conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, are listed on the Health Department’s website.

Vermonters ages 16 to 53 with those conditions may register for appointments next week.

This week, the state is also expanding vaccines to teachers and school staffers, more public safety employees, and Corrections Department staffers who work in prisons.

The Vermont Health Department says teachers will get information from their employers about how to register for vaccines and when they will get inoculated.

UK variant confirmedin Vermont

Vermont health officials have confirmed the detection of the COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K., the health department said Monday.

The detection was not unexpected, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said in a statement, as it has been detected in most U.S. states by now. Nevertheless, he said, the variant was a concern because it can spread more quickly.

“The good news is that medical studies indicate the current vaccines are effective against this strain, and Vermonters should have confidence in the vaccines available,” Levine said.

He urged residents to maintain social distancing protocols and mask-wearing and encouraged testing.

The variant was detected in a specimen taken from a Chittenden County resident.

Twin State numbers

On Monday the Vermont Department of Health reported 113 new cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to almost 16,200.

There are 27 people hospitalized, with seven in intensive care.

The state has reported a total of 208 fatalities from COVID-19.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 116.57 on Feb. 21 to 126.43 on March 7.

The latest average positivity rate in Vermont is 1.58%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Vermont the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 1.48% on Feb. 21 to 1.58% on March 7.

More than 77,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 226 cases reported Monday. The number of deaths remained at 1,184.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks, going from 375 new cases per day on Feb. 21 to 205 new cases per day on Sunday.

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