COVID-19 Update April 17

COVID-19 Update April 17

Yay! No computer issues this evening! Have a great weekend. Stay safe, and, always, be kind.

Key points covered in today’s report:

Today was one of the worst days. We have only had one day with more than today’s 76 new cases. We also lost three more souls. Only 220 test results, positive and negative, were added today. Things are going to get worse before they get better.

There was a large outbreak in a residential care facility for those with developmental disabilities in Manchester

Salem’s Health Officer is not being given information about how many cases are in Salem.

The Superior Court in New Hampshire has canceled jury trials

From today’s interview of the Governor and key staff. Details below:

  • COVID-19 is a reportable disease.
  • Changes made to testing at long-term facilities.
  • NH is increasing its testing capacity. “Anyone who needs a test can get a test”
  • The number of testings is going to increase, we should expect to see the number of positive cases go up as well.
  • Gov. Sununu: “We are still potentially several weeks away from even finding a positive trend. We hope that it comes. We don’t know when it will come.”
  • Dr. Chan: “COVID-19 will be with us for weeks, if not months, longer.”
  • Grant to assist uninsured or underinsured youth and adults impacted by mental health and substance abuse disorders
  • More money for hospitals
  • Will the NHL playoffs take place in New Hampshire this summer?
  • Options are being explored about summer camps, summer school, and remote learning over the summer.

Click on the calendar to enlarge
https://www.bonnie4salem.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/april17-calendar.jpg

The “Tracking COVID-19 in N.H.” charts are from NHPR

 

The NH Division of Public Health Services, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, has announced a Weekly Summary Report, with more details than I see in the daily reports from the Department of Health & Human Services. See the report or my summary of the key points in my report on April 13.

 

Q: How is NH doing in comparison to our neighboring states?
A: We aren’t doing enough tests!
WHY???

 


COVID Symptom Tracker: This is a project of Mass General Hospital. In the absence of proper testing, this may be the best way of tracking how we are doing. I’m keeping it near the top, so I’ll remember to log in each day.
https://covid.joinzoe.com/us?fbclid=IwAR2IsoxZ9RBKC4uPQscKiuUUTJCA3cCt3dUr9tjNSsFqOU1rv10jmysmt4Y


Today’s COVID-19 news:

Salem’s confirmed cases: 

  • April 3: 25 cases (Range 20-40)
  • April 6: 33 cases (+8 in 3 days)
  • April 8: 20-40 cases
  • April 9: 20-49 cases (between +1 and +9 in 1 day)
  • April 10: Over 50 (at least +1 in one day, at least +10 in 2 days; at least +25 in 7 days. Possibly +25 more by 4/16, due to outbreak at The Residence at Salem Woods, although the workers there may not be Salem residents, and thus might not be in our numbers.)

Salem, Manchester, Nashua, and Derry are the only NH municipalities with more than 50 confirmed cases. With 220 confirmed cases (up +37 from yesterday), Manchester appears to be the city in NH with the most confirmed cases. Nashua has 117 (+6) confirmed cases. We don’t have the numbers for the other two hottest spots, Salem and Derry is fourth. Londonderry, Pelham, Windham, Hudson, Portsmouth, Dover, Bedford, and Concord and remain as the only communities with 20-49 confirmed cases.

Hillsborough County, which includes Manchester and Nashua, has 525  (+42) confirmed cases. Rockingham County is second, with 449 (+6) confirmed cases.

Today, Methuen has 358 cases (+18). I’ll try to recalculate this over the weekend, but as of April 15, Methuen MA has 312 (+35) confirmed cases or 0.8% of its 2019 population of 39,498 people. Salem’s population in 2019 was 29,133. If 0.8% of Salem’s population had COVID-19, we would have 230 cases. How can our neighboring town have so many cases, but we don’t? Massachusetts has much higher testing rates.

On April 15, I also looked at Manchester NH in comparison to Methuen. Thirty miles away from Methuen, Manchester’s population in 2018 was 112,525. With 176 confirmed cases, 0.2% of their population has been diagnosed. If Manchester had the same infection rate as Methuen, they would have 900 cases! New Hampshire NEEDS more testing!

Of the confirmed cases in NH, about 15% have required hospitalization. Over 30% of the confirmed cases are healthcare workers.

We need proper testing to fight COVID-19
“The COVID-19 outbreak isn’t almost over now. Nor will it be in two weeks. We haven’t “almost beaten this” because we haven’t even started properly measuring it yet. We want to measure success in lives saved, not by celebrating an ongoing low death rate.” https://www.unionleader.com/opinion/op-eds/we-need-proper-testing-to-fight-covid-19/article_acd86517-86cd-5b87-9ce5-e314ffbe5019.html

  April 17 April 16Change from yesterday
Total Confirmed Cases1,2871,211+76
Recovered46836% (was 38%)
455+13
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19
373% 34+3
Active Cases782722+60
Total Hospitalized19015%
187+3
Current Hospitalized8674+12
Tested Negative11,56511,421+144
Persons with specimens submitted to NH PHL5,8665.582+284
Persons with test pending at NH PHL17466+108
Being Monitored (Approximate)2,2002,225-25
Total Tested (Confirmed Cases + Tested Negative)12,85212,632+220

I have several concerns:

  1. Once again the number of active cases has not been listed. Transparency, please! For the past two days, I came up with current cases by taking yesterday’s current case, added the new cases, and subtracted the increase in recovered and subtracted the people who died today.
  2. From yesterday to today, the total number of those hospitalized went from 187 to 190. (Up +3), yet in that same time period, the number of current patients hospitalized went from 74 to 86. (Up +12). Huh? The only explanation I can come up with would be if 9 patients were re-admitted. Is this possible?

]

NH News relating to COVID-19

Today was one of the worst days. We have only had one day with more than today’s 76 new cases. It has been a busy week; three days have each had more than 70 new cases.

We also lost three more souls, including one at Hanover Hill and one at The Huntington in Nashua, where previous outbreaks have been reported.

As of 9:00 a.m., 16 Residents and 16 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at the Easter Seals Gammon Academy in Manchester, a residential care facility for those with developmental disabilities.

Since the 9:00 cut off, an additional four positive cases have been identified from that facility. Those numbers should be on tomorrow’s reports.

I spoke with Brian Lockard, Salem’s Health Officer on an unrelated matter today. While I had him on the phone, I inquired about the number of cases here in Salem. He is not being given that information.

Despite claims that we were testing about 400 people per day, and the testing numbers have gone up, the number of total confirmed cases plus the number of total negatives has only gone up by 220 from yesterday. We need more testing, not less.

The Superior Court in New Hampshire has canceled jury trials until about 30 days after the courts resume “normal operations.” No one should be reporting for jury duty right now.

Gov. Chris Sununu has requested, and was granted, a delay for the hearing to decide which branch of government has the authority to spend the $1.25 billion in federal stimulus money. The case was pushed back from tomorrow (Friday) and will be heard on Monday at 8:00 a.m. instead.

From today’s interview of the Governor and key staff:

COVID-19 is a reportable disease; the Division of Public Health, part of Health and Human Services, is notified when anyone is diagnosed. Every attempt is made to contact the infected on the day of their diagnosis.

Dr. Chan says they currently have adequate workers to do public health investigations and contact tracing to determine the source of exposure and identify the risk of the possibility of infection of others, but they will need more staff soon.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette says this whole process has been a learning process; they are learning daily. They change processes as the situation warrants.

The state recently changed its approach to testing at long-term facilities. All new patients are being tested, whether or not they have symptoms.

They are also working to identify facility outbreaks quicker and with more accuracy. When one resident is diagnosed with COVID-19, the State is working with the facility to test residents and staff on the affected wing, regardless of symptoms because we know there’s the possibility of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmissions.

Over the next three weeks, 6,600 individuals — residents and workers at long-term health care facilities will be tested. (Over 30% of those in New Hampshire with positive results are healthcare workers)

The Governor shared that NH is increasing its testing capacity. More Avid Rapid Response testing canisters are expected soon. With increased supplies, increased PPE, NH will have increased capacity. The delay in outside labs reporting results has gone from 2 weeks to 5 or 6 days. The PHL is down to a few days.

Anyone can get a test if their PCP recommends it. Priority is being given to those who are symptomatic and need it, and those in the key hot spots in the Rockingham and Hillsborough counties. (70%+ of the institutional and general outbreaks are in those two counties.)

Since the number of testings is going to increase, we should expect to see the number of positive cases go up as well.

When asked about reopening, Governor Sununu said that the President’s template, with a phased approach, is a good start, but it may vary state-to-state. NH is not yet ready to go into Phase 1. We need several weeks of better testing results. He says that it is only after we do more testing that we will have a statistically significant sample to allow us to begin Phase 1. “We will be able to show the data, and show a decreasing trend; we are not anywhere near that right now, to be honest about it. As we increase capacity, we are still potentially several weeks away from even finding a positive trend. We hope that it comes. We don’t know when it will come.”

Dr. Chan said, “COVID-19 will be with us for weeks, if not months, longer.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has awarded NH with a $2M grant to assist individuals impacted by mental health and substance abuse disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and Human Services has created the New Hampshire Rapid Response System, which will primarily address the needs of uninsured or underinsured youth and adults through the state’s existing community mental health system.

The COVID-19 Emergency Healthcare System Relief Fund was given $50M to keep hospitals open. Today 5 more facilities, Cottage Hospital, Weeks Medical Center, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, and Exeter Hospital, were recipients of no-interest loans to keep them operational. Laconia-based LRGH Healthcare received a sizeable amount two weeks ago, and about 40 other smaller health care institutions across the state have been given smaller loans. These loans have been approved by a 5-person review committee, including representatives from Health and Human Services, the Department of Revenue Administration and the Department of Justice. (It appears to me that the disbursement of these funds was reviewed by neither the Fiscal Committee nor the new Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief & Recovery (GOFERR)?)

When asked about the possibility of the NHL playoffs taking place in New Hampshire this summer, the Governor said that he has talked with them, but they are not ready to make a decision yet. If it is in NH, it will not be open to fans.

The Governor also said that school closing is not just an issue of closing through June, then reopen in the fall. Options are being explored about summer camps, summer school, and remote learning over the summer.

 

Salem Government

The Town of Salem’s Emergency Operations Center Team (EOC) will be making weekly reports every Monday evening at 7:00. Their reports can be seen at http://sctv-17.com/CablecastPublicSite/?channel=1

Find other Salem Government board meetings: https://www.townofsalemnh.org/boards

To watch past or live viewings:

State Representation:
Salem has nine State Representatives. If you are having issues connected to COVID-19, they have access to the people who can get you the help you need. You can find contact info for our reps here: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/default.aspx

Our Senator, Chuck Morse, can be contacted at Chuck.Morse@leg.state.nh.us His Concord office phone is 603.271.3207.

Disclaimer:

On April 7, NH scientist and politician, Mindi Messmer, PG, CG wrote on her Facebook page: “… testing has pretty much stopped at the NH PHL. The testing penetration is so low in NH, only 1/2% of the 1.3M people, meaning 99.5% of the 1.3M have not been tested, that I am not putting up projections or tests for NH because the graphs would be meaningless and I don’t want to give the false impression that we know what’s going on in NH.”

On April 8, the National Academy of Sciences reported that 16 out of 51 tests were inaccurate. (false negatives). Others also have concerns about both false negatives and false positives.

Please keep these ideas in mind as you review the information on this page or any other page.


Resources to help in these challenging times:

Do YOU think you have COVID-19?

To report suspected cases, contact the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at  603-271-4496, (603-271-5300 for after hours), or nhbidc@dhhs.nhs.gov.

The IRS has released its new app to track stimulus payments, Get My Payment.” which had been scheduled to be released on April 17. Expect to wait. (And possibly, like me, be disappointed.) If your info isn’t available today, try again tomorrow, as info is going to be updated every night.

How You Can Help Others:

Masks:

There is no excuse for not having a mask!!!

Salem:

New Hampshire:

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services:

Office of the Governor: https://www.governor.nh.gov

Mindi Messmer: A scientist who is reporting frequently on COVID-19, Mindi is also a candidate for Executive Council, District 3 (including Salem). https://www.facebook.com/Mindi4NH/ Sign up for her “Daily or So COVID-19 Updates” https://actionnetwork.org/forms/daily-or-so-covid-19-updates

More info about COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


COVID Symptom Tracker:
This is a project of Mass General Hospital. In the absence of proper testing, let’s let them know how we are doing. https://covid.joinzoe.com/us?fbclid=IwAR2IsoxZ9RBKC4uPQscKiuUUTJCA3cCt3dUr9tjNSsFqOU1rv10jmysmt4Y

Trackers (Cases)

The World Health Organization:
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Media with NH COVID-19 news:

Housing

Unemployment

Financial Assistance

Link to other  NH benefits:

Businesses and Employers: Guidance for Small Businesses 

 


Sources for data included in these reports:

Please report any errors or omissions to bonnie@bonnie4salem.us. Thank you.