COVID-19: Town says 6 residents positive at Hanover Terrace; DHMC gets doses of new antibody treatment

Staff and wire reports
Published: 12/1/2020 10:08:32 PM
Modified: 12/1/2020 10:09:44 PM

HANOVER — At least six residents at Hanover Terrace have tested positive for COVID-19, making the Lyme Road nursing home the second in the Upper Valley to have an outbreak in recent weeks, according to the town of Hanover.

In addition to the six residents, Hanover Health Officer Michael Hinsley said in a Tuesday phone interview he’s aware of more than one staff member who also has tested positive. Hanover Terrace reported one staff case last week.

Emails and phone messages seeking information from Terry-Ann Gainer, Hanover Terrace’s administrator, were not returned Tuesday.

The New Hampshire National Guard conducted facilitywide testing on Monday and additional test results are still pending, Hinsley said. He attributed lags in getting the results to a post-Thanksgiving surge in people seeking tests.

Though contact tracing being done by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is in its early stages, Hinsley said he doesn’t think that the resident cases are related to the staff cases.

“I have a confidence that the vector has been identified and those residents are being isolated and quarantined,” he said. He declined to provide further information about the vector.

Hinsley said the nursing home worked to identify residents with symptoms and then isolated them from other residents. He said he’s hopeful that those measures will limit the extent of the outbreak.

The National Guard will continue to help Hanover Terrace with weekly testing until it goes two consecutive weeks without new cases, DHHS spokesman Jake Leon said in an email Tuesday.

DHMC receives dosesof cutting edge COVID-19 therapy

LEBANON — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has allocated to Dartmouth-Hitchcock a “small number” of the 100 initial doses of the bamlanivimab monoclonal antibody treatment coming to the state, according to a D-H spokeswoman.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock officials are looking for an infusion location where clinicians might administer an experimental treatment for people over age 12 with mild or moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe symptoms of the disease, Audra Burns, the spokeswoman, said in an email. The FDA last month granted an emergency use authorization to Eli Lilly and Co. for the drug, which in early trials showed some promise for reducing the progress of the disease, as well as hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Bamlanivimab must be infused in a negative air pressure room with capacity to manage infusion reaction, Burns said. D-H officials considered but ultimately rejected using an infusion room within the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Treatment with bamlanivimab has not yet begun at DHMC or any of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health member hospitals, she said.

Claremont to consider remoteinstruction in January

CLAREMONT — The Claremont School Board is slated to discuss whether to switch to a remote form of learning following the December holiday break at its Wednesday night meeting. As proposed on the board’s agenda, the change would mean teaching and learning would occur remotely from Jan. 4 through 18.

The White River Valley Supervisory Union has already made a similar change to its schedule in order to allow time for teachers and families to quarantine after holiday travel.

Vermont adding morepermanent testing sites

MONTPELIER — Vermont is adding more long-term testing sites around the state with day, evening and weekend hours.

The sites are in Bennington, Brattleboro, Stratton Mountain, Newport, Rutland, Berlin, Burlington, Northfield, St. Johnsbury, Fairlee, Waterbury, Springfield, Middlebury and Waitsfield. They are in addition to pop-up sites and existing hospital and pharmacy locations. The state will soon be adding sites in Hardwick, Springfield, Morrisville and Island Pond and later in Wells River and Richford. The most efficient way to get tested is to register on the Health Department’s website. Vermonters may also call 211 or the Health Department, he said.

The state is also issuing rapid antigen testing to long-term care facilities that don’t have it and will soon offer twice-weekly PCR testing for employees of skilled nursing facilities that request it, Smith said.

NH GOP lawmakers test positivefor virus before opening session

CONCORD — A “small number” of Republican lawmakers who attended a recent caucus meeting have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

The development comes a day before the 400-member House and 24-member Senate are set to meet outdoors at the University of New Hampshire to be sworn in and elect officers.

House Republican Leader Dick Hinch declined to discuss details or numbers, and said he is working with the Department of Health and Human Services as it conducts contact tracing.

“We are experiencing higher than usual rates of infections in our state, and the Legislature and its members are not immune from that,” he said. “We are a citizen Legislature, and it can be expected that our legislators are at the same risk as the citizens we represent.”

Republican House members gathered Nov. 20 at McIntyre Ski area in Manchester, where they nominated Hinch to be the next House speaker. In his statement, the Merrimack lawmaker declined to discuss details or numbers, and said he is working with the DHHS as it conducts contact tracing.

“We are experiencing higher than usual rates of infections in our state, and the Legislature and its members are not immune from that,” he said. “We are a citizen Legislature, and it can be expected that our legislators are at the same risk as the citizens we represent.”

Rep. Steve Shurtleff, a Concord Democrat whose term as speaker ends Tuesday, learned of the COVID-19 cases via WMUR even though leaders from both parties met at UNH on Monday. He criticized Hinch both for not notifying him and for holding the event in the first place, saying those decisions put the lives of all lawmakers and staff at risk.

“We know from past sessions many members of the Republican Caucus do not take COVID-19 seriously,” he said in a statement. "Shame on Representative Dick Hinch and other members of Republican Leadership for putting politics before the lives of the those who chose to serve in our volunteer Legislature.”

Numbers in the Twin States

Vermont reported 63 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, for a statewide total to date of 4,239.

There have been three new deaths related to long-term care facilities over the past three days for a total of 72 deaths since the pandemic began, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.

Two women in their 90s and a man in his 70s died, he said. A total of 28 people were hospitalized with two in intensive care, the Health Department reported Monday.

In New Hampshire, 772 cases were announced Tuesday. That figure represents test results that were received Sunday and a partial count of Monday’s results, which are still being processed. Two additional deaths were announced, bringing the total to 528.

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