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COVID-19: Woodlawn nursing home in Newport limits visits after multiple positive tests

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2021 9:37:43 PM
Modified: 10/21/2021 9:37:51 PM

NEWPORT — Woodlawn Care Center is now limiting visits to essential purposes due to three recent cases of COVID-19 in employees, according to the facility’s Facebook page.

The Newport nursing home’s leaders learned of the third case in an employee, a member of the nursing staff, on Wednesday. Another nurse and a clinical employee also have tested positive within the past week. The three people with active cases were not exposed to each other at Woodlawn and they appear to have picked up the virus elsewhere in the community, the Facebook page said.

Newport schools also continue to see COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, masks were required at Newport High School because there were three cases there, said Brendan Minnihan, the superintendent.

There was one case at the middle school and none at the elementary school, so masks were optional according to the school district’s masking protocol, which requires masks only if there are three or more cases in a particular school.

Newport had a total of 86 new cases in the past two weeks as of Wednesday, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. That rate puts it behind neighboring Claremont, which has had 188 new cases during that time. Charlestown, to Claremont’s south, has had 71 new cases in the past two weeks, and Newport’s neighbor to the east, Sunapee, had 36 during that time.

In the past week, three people in Sullivan County, where Newport sits, have died after contracting COVID-19. In total, 36 people in Sullivan County have died after getting COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Randolph-area superintendent seeks community help on COVID

RANDOLPH — The superintendent of the Orange Southwest School District is asking community members to get vaccinated and curb activities that might lead to unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

Layne Millington, superintendent of the Randolph-area district, made the ask in a Thursday Facebook post after announcing more cases affecting elementary schools in Randolph and Braintree, Vt. As a result, one class in Braintree switched to remote instruction.

He also urged families and employees to sign up for the district’s surveillance testing program in order to identify asymptomatic cases sooner rather than later. In particular, Millington urged students planning to participate in winter sports to sign up for the weekly surveillance testing.

“Given the rise in cases we’re seeing, it will take a concerted effort to reverse this trend,” he said.

Single cases popped up at several other Vermont schools during the week ending Oct. 18, including at Bradford Elementary School; Elm Hill School in Springfield; Hartford Memorial Middle School; Hartland Elementary School; River Valley Technical Center in Springfield; Springfield High School; Thetford Elementary School; Union Street School in Springfield; White River School; and Windsor School, according to the Vermont Department of Health.

More NH hospitals require vaccines for workers

MANCHESTER — Several hospitals in southern New Hampshire are requiring that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a news release.

Catholic Medical Center, SolutionHealth (Elliot Health System & Southern New Hampshire Health) and St. Joseph Hospital, along with the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, have announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies for their organizations. Each organization has developed its own policy, but all allow for medical and religious exemptions.

The hospitals said that vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the highly transmissible delta variant persists.

The announcement came in advance of a federal mandate the Biden administration has said is forthcoming for health care workers.

HCRS to require vaccines

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Health Care and Rehabilitation Services will require its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 1, according to a spokeswoman.

Though about 90% of the Springfield-based mental health agency’s workforce has been vaccinated, approximately 90 workers have yet to get the shots, said Alice Bradeen, a spokeswoman.

“It really does come down to providing the safest environment for the people that we serve as well as all of our staff,” she said.

Employees may apply for religious and medical exemptions to the mandate, she said.

The nonprofit mental health agency provides care to people in Windsor and Windham counties. Three employees who became fully vaccinated in HCRS’ vaccine clinics held in conjunction with the Brattleboro,Vt.-based Rescue Inc. this fall won $500 e-gift cards, according to a news release. Another three employees who were fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 won $1,000 e-gift cards.

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

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