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COVID-19: Guidelines to alert NH communities about coronavirus in schools

The Associated Press
Published: 8/13/2020 10:37:04 PM
Modified: 8/13/2020 10:38:05 PM

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu presented guidelines Thursday to alert communities if coronavirus cases develop in New Hampshire school districts.

Once a case is determined, public health officials will notify the individual and the school. Each school would have its own communication plan to notify the community of the case. While that individual remains at home, health officials will work with the family and school to determine any close contacts through contact tracing.

Students and faculty who test positive will stay at home until symptoms improve over 24 hours and it has been at least 10 days since the onset of those symptoms, Sununu said. They would be able to return to school once they’ve met those criteria and receive a letter from public health officials. Those identified as close contacts will also be asked to quarantine at home.

If multiple cases are detected, officials will determine whether they constitute a “cluster” or “outbreak,” Sununu said. A cluster would be three or more cases identified in one classroom or group working together. An outbreak is designated is if there is transmission identified between clusters. One example might be if two clusters were in a cafeteria, he said.

At that point, public health officials might recommend that schools transition to remote learning for at least 14 days.

He said public health officials will set up a website that will have updates on the status of schools.

Vermont Health Department: Winooski outbreak over

WINOOSKI, Vt. — The Vermont Health Department says an outbreak of COVID-19 that began in the city of Winooski is over.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said Wednesday the outbreak is considered over because 28 days have passed since any new infections connected to it have been reported.

“Now keep in mind this isn’t really a celebration,” Levine said during an online briefing with local officials. “The pandemic is far from over.”

The outbreak was first identified in June, primarily in the immigrant community in the densely packed city of Winooski.

The outbreak included 117 infections — 77 in Winooski, 22 in Burlington and 18 in other towns in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. Two people were hospitalized, but there were no deaths.

Statistics showed that 65% of the cases were among adults and 35% were among children. The health department says 60% of the people who tested positive didn’t report symptoms.

To help confront the outbreak, between June 8 and the end of July, the Vermont Health Department conducted about 10,000 tests at pop-up sites in Burlington and Winooski.

Vermont handing out thousands of free masks

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says the state will distribute 300,000 free cloth face coverings this month to the public, emergency responders and selected agencies.

On Aug. 1 it became mandatory for people in Vermont to wear face coverings in public.

Vermonters may access the masks through their towns.

The State Emergency Operations Center procured the masks from those donated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A list of distributors is on the website of Vermont Emergency Management.

Granite State nursing homes can host guests

Residents in most of New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities can now get indoor visits from one designated person, state Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette said Thursday.

The facilities also can allow limited nonessential personnel such as hairstylists, to visit, Shibinette said.

Facilities may be able to increase the number of visitors indoors to two per resident if they are in a county that sees a drop in coronavirus cases to fewer than 10 per 100,000 people for a 14-day period, Shibinette said.

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