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COVID-19: Mt. Ascutney sees COVID-19 case cluster; Hanover Terrace outbreak hits nearly 90% of residents

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 12/8/2020 9:04:58 PM
Modified: 12/8/2020 9:33:31 PM

WINDSOR — The acute rehabilitation unit at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center has a cluster of patients and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The cluster in the 10-bed unit at the Windsor hospital includes three patients and four staff members, Otelah Perry, Mt. Ascutney’s director of quality, patient safety and compliance, said via email on Tuesday. The cluster was previously announced by Mt. Ascutney CEO Joseph Perras in an update recorded on Friday and posted to the website of Windsor On-Air.

The first asymptomatic patient tested positive last Wednesday, Dec. 2. In addition to the seven people connected to the rehab unit, two other hospital employees tested positive last week.

The hospital has found no additional positive cases since Friday, but testing will continue in accordance with recommendations from the Vermont Department of Health, Perry said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 14 patients with COVID-19 in hospitals in the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system, including four at Mt. Ascutney, Perry said. In addition to Mt. Ascutney, the system includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, New London Hospital, Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H., and the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire.

Outbreak at Hanover Terrace grows

HANOVER — Nearly 90% of the residents at Hanover Terrace had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the facility’s temporary administrator.

Thirteen more residents at the Lyme Road nursing home received their positive results on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infected residents to 66, Martha Ilsley, the Lyme Road nursing home’s temporary administrator, said via email.

In addition to the residents, 22 workers and two contract workers from an outside vendor had previously tested positive, bringing the outbreak at the Lyme Road nursing home to 90 total infections.

Results from staff testing conducted Monday were not available as of Tuesday afternoon, Ilsley said.

The residents have varying degrees of severity of illness, she said. Two residents, who have chosen to focus entirely on comfort care, are “quite ill,” she said, but several others have improved with treatment.

There were 73 residents at Hanover Terrace as of Tuesday. One resident was discharged Monday, Ilsley said.

DHMC child care closed due to COVID-19

LEBANON — The closing of the child care center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center due to cases of COVID-19 has affected about 50 D-H employees, according to a D-H spokeswoman.

Bright Horizons, the Massachusetts-based company that runs the center on the DHMC campus in Lebanon, said in an emailed statement that it closed the center in accordance with guidance provided by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and “as we work through confirmed cases of COVID-19.”

Bright Horizons did not respond to follow-up questions about how many cases the center has had or when it closed. It did say it’s slated to reopen Dec. 14.

D-H managers worked with employees whose children attend the center “to anticipate and alleviate disruptions to planned work schedules,” and the health system has provided those employees with “alternative resources to support them during this time,” D-H spokeswoman Audra Burns said in an email.

Lebanon schools offer free meals for all

LEBANON — After previously opting not to offer free school meals to all students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lebanon School District began doing just that on Nov. 23.

Tim Ball, the district’s business administrator, told the School Board in October that he didn’t think the district could demonstrate a “clear and demonstrable need” to expand a federal program to offer meals at no cost to all students regardless of their family’s income level.

But at the board’s Nov. 11 meeting, Ball changed course and recommended that the district opt in. He said the district’s “bad debt” had grown this school year. As of Nov. 11, the district was owed $1,732 across 81 student accounts, representing about 6% of the district’s students who were required to pay full price for meals due to their families’ income levels.

Though it’s a small number of accounts, he said, “I do worry that it’s going to grow.”

When students do not pay their balances by the end of the year, they are paid out of the district’s general fund, he said.

At the Nov. 11 meeting, the School Board unanimously approved a measure in support of the district’s participation in the program. The program, which required a waiver from the New Hampshire Department of Education, began in Lebanon on Nov. 23, Ball said in an email last week.

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

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