COVID-19: More cases found at Sullivan County, Hanover nursing homes

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/12/2021 9:56:48 PM
Modified: 1/12/2021 9:56:45 PM

UNITY — COVID-19 cases at senior living facilities in the Upper Valley continue to climb.

An outbreak at Sullivan County Health Care in Unity has grown to include 20 people, according to Ted Purdy, the nursing home’s administrator. Since Jan. 5, 11 residents and nine workers have tested positive for the virus, Purdy said in an email. Additional testing of both residents and workers took place on Tuesday, he said.

Residents’ symptoms have ranged from none to coughs, nausea and elevated temperatures, Purdy said.

Four employees of Kendal at Hanover have recently tested positive for the virus, spokesman Jeff Roosevelt said in an email. Two Kendal employees also tested positive in September. So far, no residents at the facility off Lyme Road have tested positive, Roosevelt said.

Walgreens administered 265 first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to Kendal health center residents and workers on Friday, Roosevelt said. Sullivan County nursing home workers and residents also received vaccines last week.

Claremont-area leaders ask residents to be careful

CLAREMONT — City officials are urging residents to stay home as much as possible to bring down a post-Christmas spike in COVID-19 cases that has caused schools to shift to remote instruction, forced some businesses to close temporarily and caused hospitalizations to increase.

As of Tuesday, the city had 86 cases of COVID-19. Nearby Newport had 33 and Charlestown had 26, according to a map from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. In Grafton County, Hanover led the pack with 22 and Lebanon had 17.

Dunning Dental in Claremont closed its doors on Monday and won’t reopen until Jan. 25, except for emergencies “due to the wide spread of the COVID virus in this area,” according to a message on the practice’s answering machine.

In addition, some other businesses in the city have altered their operations such as switching from dine-in to takeout-only meals for some restaurants or shifting more business to curbside, said Elyse Crossman, executive director of The Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce. A state program that has given chambers of commerce CARES Act funding to purchase cleaning products, hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer dispensers, gloves, disposable masks and face shields has also been popular among area businesses, she said.

Officials at area hospitals, Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont and New London Hospital, which operates a health center in Newport, said they are feeling the pressure from increasing cases.

“I anticipate a rough January and February,” Dr. Jocelyn Caple, Valley Regional’s interim CEO, said in an email.

Dr. Kirk Dufty, chief medical officer at New London Hospital, said the spike in cases is due at least in part to travel and gatherings surrounding Christmas and New Year’s. Both Dufty and Claremont City Manager Ed Morris urged community members to follow public health guidelines, including social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands thoroughly.

For his part, Morris said residents ought to be aware that they could encounter someone with COVID-19 almost anywhere.

“Stay home as much as possible,” he said.

Randolph closes schools for a day due to COVID-19 case

RANDOLPH — Randolph Union High School and Randolph Technical Career Center were closed on Tuesday after school officials learned of a COVID-19 case, according to the superintendent.

Following contact tracing on Tuesday, Orange Southwest Superintendent Layne Millington said in a Facebook post that winter athletics would be suspended through Jan. 18. Due to staffing constraints, students in grades 7 and 8 also were set to learn remotely through Jan. 18. Grades 11 and 12 were slated to learn remotely on Wednesday and return to hybrid learning on Thursday, while students in grades 9 and 10 and at RTCC were slated to return to their hybrid schedules on Wednesday.

Because officials learned of the case late in the day on Monday, it was too late to shift from a hybrid learning model to a fully remote one for classes on Tuesday, Millington said in a message posted to Facebook at about 10 p.m. Monday. Therefore, classes and athletics were canceled on Tuesday.

The case announced late Monday was not related to a case in the middle school announced Sunday. That case did not require that schools shift their operations, Millington said.

Students and school staff get priority in testing

LEBANON — Two Upper Valley COVID-19 testing sites are among the New Hampshire sites offering priority appointments within 24 hours for students and school employees, according to a list from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon offers priority for students and employees of New Hampshire schools, according to spokesman Peter Glenshaw. Meanwhile, Keady Family Practice in Claremont offers priority for students and employees of schools in both New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as for health care workers, Andrew Keady, chief operating officer of the related company On-Site Medical Services, said in an email.

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

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