COVID-19 Update April 23

COVID-19 Update April 23

Thanks to DJ Bettencourt, who is Governor Sununu’s Policy Director, for providing the count of confirmed cases in Salem. We have seen an increase of 91 cases in the 20 days from April 3.

Today we received the sad news that another 3 lives have been lost in NH. This makes a total of 51 deaths so far. 30 of those, approximately 60%, were the result of institutional outbreaks. The three deaths from today were all residents of longterm care/congregate living facilities. The number of people hospitalized is still in the low 90’s. Today, for the first time, we have over 1,000 active cases.

A friend shared that they were watching the White House briefing, and spotted a chart that listed bleach and alcohol as a disinfectant. Please note that this chart should have said bleach OR alcohol. Don’t mix the two; mixing bleach and rubbing alcohol together can create chloroform which can damage your liver, kidneys, brain, heart, and bone marrow. [Don’t mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, either; that combination makes peracetic acid which is highly corrosive and unsafe.]

I added a link for the best materials to make masks to the resource section.

Stay safe, and, always, be kind.

Key points covered in today’s report:

From the Governor’s Press conference:

  • We are now testing 800-900 cases per day. 
  • As testing rates go up, so will positive and negative numbers
  • 1500 residents and staff at longterm or residential facilities have been tested this week
  • Results are back for several longterm or residential facilities, with as few as 7 positive results and as many as 100 (44 residents, 56 staff).
  • Asymptomatic employees are allowed to continue to work at nursing homes in certain conditions
  • Homeless and unsheltered people are being tested.
  • Guidance Received for spending CARES Act funds
  • Supplies to allow more testing is coming
  • Business tax cuts
  • Stay-at-Home Order will not disappear after May 4.
  • Mitch McConnell made a ridiculous statement 
  • Education challenges
  • They are doubling or tripling the staff to do contact tracing and monitoring
  • Closing Quote:  “In times of crises, the best thing you can do is be incredibly transparent” 

Click on the calendar to enlarge
https://www.bonnie4salem.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/april23-calendar.jpg

 


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

 

Over four days, NY’s test per 100,000 residents increased by 42.1%; MA saw a 97.6% increase in test per 100K, and Vermont saw a 32.7% increase. Why was NH’s increase only 1.4%???


 

Could this be the answer?

On April 19, this was posted on Facebook:

Today, April 21, the Governor said we don’t have supplies (test availability).


The following charts are from NHPR

#End of NHPR’s charts.

Additional charts can be found at https://www.nhpr.org/post/updated-tracking-covid-19-cases-and-testing-new-hampshire


Weekly info has been released for Week of April 20
As of April 20th, 471 healthcare workers have been infected (33% of all confirmed cases). Six kids under 9 years have tested positive. 21% of those infected are 50-59 years old, the largest age group. Those who are 30-39, 40-49, and 60-69 are each 15% of the cases. Surprisingly, only 17% of the confirmed cases are 70 or older, however, the rate per 100,000 for those over 70 is skyrocketing, as there are fewer people in that age range. 54% of all NH cases are female, 46% are male.

Race/Ethnicity: Whites make up 90% of NH’s population, but are 81% of the confirmed cases. Hispanic/Latino are 3.9% of the population, but 6.1% of the cases. Blacks/African Americans are 1.4% of the population, and 5.4% of the cases. Asians are 3.0% of the population, and 3.2% of the cases. All other races are 1.8% of the population, and 4.4% of the population.


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:

  April 23 April 22Change from yesterday
Total Confirmed Cases1,6701,588+84
Recovered55135% (was 37%)
550+1
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19
513% 48+3
Active Cases1,068
990+78
Total Hospitalized21813% (was 14%)
213+5
Current Hospitalized9291+1
Tested Negative15,13914,424+715
Persons with specimens submitted to NH PHL7,5327,192+340
Persons with test pending at NH PHL424265+159
Being Monitored (Approximate)2,4502,550-100
Total Tested (Confirmed Cases + Tested Negative)16,80916,012+797


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
  • April 23: 116

Salem, Manchester, Nashua, Derry, and Dover are still the only NH municipalities with more than 50 confirmed cases.  With 348 confirmed cases (up +20) from yesterday), Manchester appears to be the municipality in NH with the most confirmed cases. Nashua has 149 (+4) confirmed cases. We don’t have the numbers for the other three hottest spots, Salem Derry or Dover. Bedford, Concord, Hudson, Londonderry, Pelham, Portsmouth, Seabrook, and Windham are now joined by Auburn, Hampton, and Hooksett as the only communities in New Hampshire with 20-49 confirmed cases.

Hillsborough County, which includes Manchester and Nashua, has 721 (+40) confirmed cases (approximately 42% of all cases). Rockingham County is second, with 551 (+32) confirmed cases (approximately 34% of all cases). These two counties make up over 75% of all confirmed cases in NH. All but two communities with mover than 10 confirmed cases, Hanover and Lebanon, are in the southwestern part of the state.

Today, our abutting city, Methuen, has 453 confirmed cases (+20) or 1.1% of its 2019 population of 39,498 people. They have had 20 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in that city. By comparison, 0.3% of Manchester residents and 0.2% of Nashua residents are infected. For every 10K residents, Methuen has 110 confirmed cases; Manchester has 31 cases and Nashua has 18 cases.

Other nearby cities in Massachusetts: Haverhill: 385 (+79) cases, 7 deaths. Lawrence: 1205 cases (+47), 51 deaths (+7).

Deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 this week in Massachusetts – about 45 times as many as reported in New Hampshire. Massachusetts has about eight times New Hampshire’s population.

Without better testing, and without transparency, we can’t know what our real numbers are.

Of the confirmed cases in NH, about 15% have required hospitalization. Over 30% of the confirmed cases are healthcare workers. Most of those with mild symptoms have not been able to get tested.

We need proper testing to fight COVID-19


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.


NH News relating to COVID-19

My take-aways from the Governor’s Press Conference:

Dr. Ben Chan, State Epidemiologist

  • Dr. Chan says we are now testing 800-900 cases per day. (We have seen 1717 results in the last two days.) With the increase in testing, we will see an increase in results, an increase in both positive and negative numbers. He said we have not seen a decrease in the numbers.
  • Dr. Chan says the % of positive tests is an accurate gauge of how we are doing, and the total hospital beds, hospital stays, and mortality rates are the best way to compare our data to other states.
  • He asks us to continue with the social/physical distancing and hand washing.
  • Dr.  Chan encourages and recommends the wearing a reusable cloth face covering or face mask, and ask that we save surgical grade masks for healthcare providers, first responders, and those on the  front line.

Lori Shibinette, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services

  • The Commissioner of HHS, says that we are completing the first week of three weeks of testing the staff and residents at longterm or residential facilities. 1500 have been tested this week, at no cost to the home or the employee. Convenient MD expects 6000 specimens expected to be collected by the end of the three weeks.
  • COVID units have been created in longterm care facilities. Some employees have tested as asymptomatic (they have the virus, without symptoms). These employees can continue to work, but only working with those residents who have tested positive. Two facilities are doing this now, or are discussing using it. These homes have been experiencing critical staff shortages; that has been exasperated by COVID.
  • The Commissioner shared that it requires several weeks with no positive tests to clear a facility.
  • She shared data from several longterm facilities that have had testing. Testing positive were:
    • Derry Health and Rehab in Derry: 8 residents and 5 staff
    • Pleasant Valley Nursing Home in Derry: 4 residents and 3 staff
    • Bellamy Fields in Dover: 33 residents, 10 staff
    • Easter Seals in Manchester: 44 residents, 56 staff
    • Hanover Hill, Manchester: 47 residents, 40 staff
    • Huntington of Nashua: 23 residents and 17 staff
    • Salem Woods: 21 residents and  5 staff
  • The ethnic section of the weekly report is not surprising, based on national trends. As we test more, we will see if there is a trend/pattern.

The Commissioner on the Homeless Population

  • Manchester homeless have been quarantined if exposed.
  • There are only  2 positive “unsheltered” cases that we are aware of.
  • Positive cases are sheltered in hotels and in the Laconia site, in settings where they can get the mental health or addiction services they need.
  • Testing is done in homeless shelters and for unsheltered people this week and next. It’s not always done by a team, some go to ConvenientMD.

The Governor:

CARES Act

  • $1.25B has been deposited into the state account.
  • The Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recover (GOFERR) is meeting daily with various stakeholders. They are creating guidelines for businesses and nonprofits.
  • Guidance from the Federal Government has been received on how this can be spent:
  • It can be used for COVID-related expenses for small businesses, non-profits, public institutions state, cities, towns
  • It can give economic relief for small businesses that couldn’t get funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • 90% of NH businesses are “small businesses.”
  • Funds to small businesses don’t have to be directly related to COVID-19.
  • They can be used for any economic distress that can be identified as related to the pandemic.
  • They can be used to pay property taxes
  • It has some flexibility
  • It cannot be used to replace revenue shortfalls.
  • Caution to mayors to be mindful of budgets
  • It cannot be used to backfill the State budget, which was used to pay for some of the earlier relief.
  • $2B in loans have been issued to NH businesses from the PPP
  • [I heard a lot of assistance for business and business owners, but nothing for individuals]
  • Q: Why are there no medical doctors on GOFERR? A: He doesn’t want to waste their time. All recommendations from the committee will go to the Governor’s office and through the Dept. of Public Health

Supplies

  • NH has the lowest mortality rates in the NorthEast, which means we are not the top choice for preferential treatment
  • More supplies are coming in, which will allow us to increase testing capabilities.
  • He talks with HHS and FEMA; no contact with Jared Kushner
  • Rapid test materials from Abbott can only come from FEMA.
  • Traditional tests allowed by the FDA more flexibility
  • Testing supplies and PPE can come from the US and other countries
  • He is constantly scrounging.

NH Businesses

  • He has been speaking with the Business Industry Association (BIA).
  • In September 2019, when the budget was crafted, a stipulation clause was included that said that if there were catastrophic losses in revenue, then the business tax cuts that were supposed to go into effect in January 2021 might be wiped out.
  • The governor sees this as triggering a tax increase, and the wrong approach. “Doesn’t really make much sense.”
  • He will ask legislators to revoke the potential tax increase triggers that will come in January 2021.

Stay-a-Home Order

  • The stay-at-home order will not go away on May 5.
  • He will make an announcement mid to late next week.
  • There is not enough data to open up just yet
  • Plans need to be put in place, and guidance documents need to be written
  • He sees priority going to the “low-hanging fruit” (Open hospitals and certain business sectors)
  • Not everything will open on the same day. Some in a week or two, others not for a month or two.
  • He says a phased, gated approach is the right approach, following the federal recommendations, but modifying those recommendations to fit the NH business environment (heavy tourism industry)
  • We need 14 days of positive trending data to move to the next step
  • He wants to find flexibility geographically or demographically where we can
  • Guidance documents for the private sector, public sector, and what we do with the Stay-at-home order will be run through the Dept of Public Health because health is the preeminent concern.
  • We are looking for a downward trend, a consistent decrease, in the positive cases, the percentage of positive cases, and in hospitalization rates for several weeks.
  • He wants to be prepared for additional waves, with PPE and guidelines, so we can manage, not react

Education

Q: University system? A: Before COVID, universities were going to have to change. They have to deal with four factors: 1. Economic (less revenue), 2. Technological (more online programs), 3. Physical infrastructure. 4. ? They will have a challenge to look at new models to allow students to get diplomas, but change how they learn. How do you qualify the success of online learning? He has asked Betsy Devos.

Q: When we reopen, what about kids aged 8-11; too old for child care, too young staying at home alone? A: Some kids are falling through the cracks. Concern about mental health; Lack of social aspect that kids need to thrive. Remote learning is stressful. He’s concerned about summer programs and camps, summer school programs. There are needs for services. He won’t cut kids programs, will boost them

Other Random Q&A’s for the Governor:

  • Mitch McConnell has suggested that the states should file for bankruptcy due to revenue shortfall. “That’s a ridiculous statement that the states should go bankrupt. Anyone who says that in the Senate doesn’t know what’s going on in the states.” “… a very dangerous statement, I believe.”
  • The Governor thanked Judge Armstrong and State Solicitor Dan Wills for their work on the lawsuit filed against him by state legislators.
  • No news on NHL coming to NH.
  • Bike week in Laconia? A tough one. There is still time to decide. A lot of close proximity, people from out-of-state. With the situation the way it is right now, it couldn’t happen. He is working with the folks in the Laconia area.

Dr. Chan and/or Commissioner Shibinette: (I forget, and can’t tell from my notes)

  • We are expanding testing around the state, including underserved areas, such as North Country.
  • An Abbot rapid analyzer is now in Coos County
  • There is no lack of testing. All parts of the state have access to testing
  • There are fewer cases in the north because there are less dense areas which make it easier to maintain more social distancing
  • Q: How many are working on contact tracing and monitoring? A: Need more. The public health staff is currently keeping up. Currently, there are 30 individuals doing this. They are working to increase (double or triple) the staff. They are training other providers, including ConvenientMD, National Guard, others in the department.

Governor’s Closing Quote:

“In times of crises, the best thing you can do is be incredibly transparent.”

It’s been a busy, stressful week. It’s too late to discuss other news. I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. Sorry.

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

Tuft’s University: COVID-19 Convalescent (Recovered) Patient Registry

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.