No Additional Cases From Nursing Facility, NVRH Employee

State officials reported that thus far no additional COVID-19 cases have been identified as a result of the nursing facility and NVRH employee who tested positive earlier this week.

Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said during the press conference that the first round of facility-wide testing at the nursing home were all returned negative aside from the index case.

“As you have know we have instituted monthly testing in our long-term care facilities,” said Smith. “We are going to see instances of positive tests given the rigorous testing that we are doing in our long-term care facilities. We will also ramp up our testing if we do find a positive case in a long-term care facility in addition to a sequence of facility-wide testing if we do find one.”

The positive case was identified earlier this week when an employee, who was asymptomatic, tested positive during routine testing of staff within the nursing facility. The follow up testing was conducted on Wednesday. A second round of testing will be done on Sunday with results expected Monday said Smith.

Laural Ruggles, VP Marketing and Community Health Improvement and NVRH, said, “Our employee continues to be asymptomatic and has been under quarantine as per the recommendations.”

Smith said both the nursing facility and NVRH had good adherence to PPE use and social distancing. Smith also noted the epidemiological team was reviewing the list of potential contacts from the hospital for contact tracing.

New Cases In Region

There have been 4 new cases reported this week in the Northeast Kingdom, including one in Caledonia County on Tuesday, one in Orleans County on Tuesday and two more in Orleans County on Wednesday’s Health Department report.

The NEK total is now at 65 total cases since the pandemic began.

In northern New Hampshire several more cases have been reported in recent days.

The New Hampshire Health Department is reporting active cases in Lancaster, Lisbon, Stark, Berlin and numerous other towns just outside the immediate area, including Waterville Valley, Thornton, Campton, Plymouth, Lyme, Hanover and Lebanon, among others. The recent uptick in cases triggered Grafton County to be considered a restricted county for non-essential travel and visitors by Vermont. According to Agency of Commerce and Community Development there is a rate of 442 COVID-19 cases per million in Grafton County. The trigger for restricted travel is anything over 400 cases per million.

The New Hampshire Health Department reports 25 current cases in Grafton County. Coos County remains a green county according to ACCD.

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