NH DHHS announces nine new COVID-19 cases

Published: 3/17/2020 8:22:28 PM

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced nine new positive test results for COVID-19, the disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus. The new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are all in adults, including five males and four females. Persons are from the counties of Rockingham (4), Hillsborough (3), and Grafton (2). Several individuals from Rockingham and Grafton counties have no identified risk factors indicating that New Hampshire is experiencing community-based transmission of COVID-19. In total, 26 cases of COVID-19 have now been identified. All patients are isolating at home and have not required hospitalization.

“The increasing number of cases and new evidence of community-based transmission raises concern that the COVID-19 outbreak is intensifying in New Hampshire,” said State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan. “The State has put into place measures to help prevent larger scale transmission at schools and larger gatherings; however, it is critical for everybody to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and practice social distancing. We know that this novel coronavirus can be spread very easily through close contact, and the virus can be spread even when people are only having very mild early symptoms of illness.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 most often include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough. However, early mild symptoms can include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and chills. Fever may not develop until several days into illness, or not at all, but people can still transmit the novel coronavirus. People that are concerned about COVID-19 should discuss their symptoms and any risk factors by phone with their healthcare provider before presenting for testing.

We recommend that testing be performed in individuals with more serious illness (e.g. hospitalized patients), healthcare providers, and individuals who have contact to more vulnerable persons or large groups of people. But as COVID-19 becomes more common in our communities, confirming infection for every patient presenting with fever and respiratory symptoms becomes impractical and does not change how a person’s illness is managed. Further, presenting for testing potentially exposes the public, healthcare workers, and vulnerable persons to COVID-19. For most people with this infection, symptoms will be mild and easily managed at home, as you would for flu. Anyone who develops symptoms should stay home and self-isolate. Additionally, we must preserve our limited personal protective equipment and specimen collection supplies for our healthcare system to be able to care for the minority of patients who develop severe COVID-19 illness over the coming months.

Given the increasing spread of COVID-19 worldwide and in the United States, all people should take the following precautions to protect themselves and help prevent further community spread:

■Stay home and avoid public places when sick (i.e. social distancing)

■Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing

 

 

■Wash hands frequently

 

 

■Avoid being within 6 feet (close contact) of a person who is sick

 

 

■Avoid sharing drinks, smoking/vaping devices, or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva

 

 

■Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

For more information on COVID-19 in NH, please visit www.nh.gov/covid19. For the latest information from the CDC, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.


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