COVID-19 Update April 27

COVID-19 Update April 27

Salem has 144 confirmed cases.

We are number one! Usually, that’s a good thing. When it comes to cases per 10,000 residents, Salem has more than any other municipality in the state, with 49 cases per 10K. (Manchester and Nashua still have more cases than Salem, but we have more per capita.)

I have been calling for more transparency. With your voices joining mine, we have been heard! Today’s map on the Health & Human Services page finally has the counts by municipalities. I’ve been pretty sure that Salem had the third most cases, and now we know that I’ve been right. See below for some analysis of these numbers.

We haven’t lost any lives to COVID-19 for the last two days. Four more people were admitted to the hospital, but six people improved enough to be discharged. NH HHS has now received results from more than 20,000 tests; 9.6% are positive.

I’m tired tonight. I should do more proofing, but it is what it is.

These times are difficult for all of us, but things will get better. Have faith, stay safe, and, always, be kind.

Key points covered below in today’s report:

  • Child abuse and neglect reports are down.
  • Nashua Telegraph is reducing printing
  • NH Dairy Farmers in trouble
  • Mental Health Crisis
  • Elections
  • Star Island
  • Bike Week
  • My take on the Governor’s Press Conference

Click on the calendar to enlarge
https://www.bonnie4salem.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/april27-calendar.jpg


Q: How much testing is NH doing in comparison to our neighboring states?

A: We aren’t doing enough tests!
WHY???



Could this be the answer?

On April 19, this was posted on Facebook:

The Governor maintains that we don’t have enough supplies (test availability).

Why is this so important?
COVID vs. US Daily Average Cause of Death

By Robert Martin on 15 Apr 2020


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


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 27 April 26Change from yesterday
Total Confirmed Cases1,9381,864+74
Recovered 79841% (was 43%)
779+19
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19
603% 600
Current Cases1,0801,025+55
Total Hospitalized24613%
242+4
Current Hospitalized99101-2
Tested Negative18,20717,860347
Persons with specimens submitted to NH PHL8,5158,360155
Persons with test pending at NH PHL223270-47
Being Monitored (Approximate) 2,4002,225+175
Total Tested (Confirmed Cases + Tested Negative)20,14519,724+421


Salem’s confirmed cases: 

  • March 30 (Range 10-19)
  • March 31 (Range 20+)
  • April 3: 25 cases (Range 20+)
  • April 6: 33 cases (+8 in 3 days)
  • April 8: 20+ cases
  • April 9: 20-49
  • April 10: Over 50
  • April 23: 116
  • April 27: 144

Now we know how many cases most of the towns in NH have!

These six municipalities have more than 50 cases:

  • Manchester: 405 (+13 from yesterday); 35 per 10K residents
  • Nashua: 178 (+12 from yesterday); 21 per 10K residents
  • Salem: 144 (+28 from 4/23); 49 cases per 10K residents
  • Derry: 123; 37 cases per 10K residents
  • Dover: 65; 20 cases per 10K residents
  • Londonderry: 59; 22 cases per 10K residents

All other municipalities have less than 50 cases.  All of the other municipalities with 20-49 cases are geographically south of Concord/Dover, and east of Concord.

Counties:

  • Hillsborough (inc. Manchester and Nashua):  859 (+35); 21 per 10K residents on April 27
  • Rockingham (inc. Salem & Derry): 643 (+24); 21 per 10K residents on April 27

These two counties make up about 78% of all confirmed cases in NH.

Our neighbors:

  • Methuen:  525 (+18).  20 deaths. 143 recovered; 133 cases per 10K residents
  • Lawrence 1574 (+73 from Wednesday). 64 deaths (+3); 150 cases per 10K residents

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

 

 

Of the confirmed cases in NH, about 13% 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.

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: 90% of NH’s population is white; 81% of the confirmed cases are white. 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.


NH News relating to COVID-19

Child abuse and neglect reports are down.

Calls to DCYF reporting child abuse and negligence are about half the normal rate, but agencies fear these numbers are should actually be higher than the norm. The stay-at-home order means far fewer contacts with teachers and others who normally report. Tips on how you can help. Read/see more.

Nashua Telegraph is reducing printing

Due to a drop in business advertising, the Telegraph has announced it will switch to printing only their Sunday paper. The rest of the week, subscribers will get their “paper” online. Read more.

NH Dairy Farmers

There are about 90 dairy farms in NH who are now struggling because of the closing of schools and restaurants. Farmers must sell their milk for about $19 per 100 lbs., but prices have dropped to as low as $11-12 per 100 lbs. Consider buying an extra gallon or two and donating it to a local food pantry. (Or buy some milk at Salem NH Farmers Market!) Read more.

Mental Health Crisis

Mental health centers say “We are here for you. We need you to be there for us.” 70% of the funding for community health centers comes from Medicaid. Centers are expecting to lose over $18 M over the next six months.  Some small practices will likely not survive. Read more. Other mental health centers are using telehealth, to help people adjust to the stress brought on by the pandemic, and concerns about health and economics. People are urged to reach out to talk about stress with others before their situation becomes a crisis. Read more.

Elections

Secretary of State Bill Gardner announced today the creation of a six-member bipartisan committee to study and recommend how federal COVID-19 relief funds can be used to ensure safe and accessible voting later this year if the pandemic is continuing. Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald issued a guidance memo in mid-April saying that New Hampshire voters will be allowed unrestricted absentee voting in the September primary and November general election.  The two officials wrote that they would provide additional guidance to local election officials about planning for and accommodating an expected “significant increase” in absentee ballots. Read more.

Star Island

Star Island will not open this summer. “Our assessment that Star Island cannot safely open this season is based on the best information we have at this time.” Read more.

Bike Week

Laconia’s motorcycle week has been moved from June to Aug. 22 to 30. Read more.

From the Governor’s Press Conference

[Confession: I missed the first part.]

Testing:
NH is now processing up to 1,000 tests per day, with a goal of increasing to 1,500 per day, as more materials become available. HHS is setting up five locations in Lancaster, Tamworth, Plymouth, Rochester, and Claremont, for those not able to access hospitals or urgent care facilities. With Statewide coverage, anyone with symptoms a place they can go. These new sites will create geographic equity, and help give statewide coverage.  HHS will be taking what we are doing for long-term care facilities, and make it available for everyone, ensuring that minorities and people with accessibility issues/disabilities have access to appropriate testing. The governor said we are testing 1.5%. (It’s 1.48%, so close). However, some are tested multiple times.

Long-Term Care Facilities

There were outbreaks at 3 more long-term care facilities:

  • Crestwood Center, Milford: 14 residents, 4 staff
  • Salemhaven: 9 residents, 2 employees
  • Birch Hill Retirement Community, Manchester: 7 residents, 4 staff

Over 2,000 have been tested at long-term care facilities so far.  About 50 were found to be positive.

Nursing homes have to notify residents and families, even if there is one case.

1M masks will be going to NH nursing homes in the coming days.

Think you have COVID-19?

If you are symptomatic, first call your provider. Many can do mobile testing themselves, or they will suggest where to go. They can also recommend that a member of the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) visit and test those who are unable to leave their home. There is a coordination team between HHS and the National Guard, who will be taking those calls referral calls.

Stay-at-Home Order and Reopening

The Stay-at-Home order expires a week from today, and is not going to go away. We may be able to amend and adjust it next week, to get back in some sense in normalcy, but it won’t be fully lifted May 4. To “just open things back up would be terribly irresponsible.”

Later this week he will present a “pretty robust presentation” on how we might reopen, including businesses, public areas (beaches, parks, trails). They will be looking to see where benefits can be most seen by the citizens of NH, while still providing safety.

We need to consider the crisis in the North Shore in Massachusetts. Look at the number of hospitalizations in MA. We have a lot of connectivity with the workforce and families. “Go to the MA COVID website, which is a terrific website, by the way, I think they do a very good job, being very transparent about their information.” The hot spots in MA border Hillsborough and Rockingham. We have to be cognizant about opening places near those borders, to prevent enticing and encouraging them from crossing the border and creating another surge here in NH.

Other states are opening, but they don’t have close proximity to MA. We didn’t clamp down as much as many states. Vermont clamped down on their economy more than we did. Now they are reopening to where we are now.

How to prioritize? Community needs. Physical distancing and barriers already in place. Economic impact less than societal impact: Open hospitals in short order. Elective surgeries and procedures, there is an opportunity there. Dentists (high risk, high need). Barbers and salons should be able to open soon, with guidance in place and PPE. Restaurants and hotels, travel, and tourism are the hardest to reopen, may have to wait longer. See what happens in MA. Guidance and timing are very important.

The task force charged with reopening focused today on the dental industry and outdoor recreation areas. For state parks and campgrounds, things will be different. The number of visitors will be restricted. No sitting on beaches, just walking, running, swimming with lifeguards. Dentists are “chomping at the bit” to get opened again. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)

Federal Stimulus

Efforts will go to help businesses and nonprofits keep doors open, to stay alive, so they can grow back as they were as the economy improves. They will have to cut back on costs.

What about the increase in the number of hospitalizations?

Hospitalizations have gone from what had been called a stable level of about 70 cases less than two weeks ago to over 100 cases yesterday. Sununu said, “I don’t think there’s much to read into it.” Long-term care facilities are accounting for the increase in COVID numbers right now, as well as some of the more severe cases. Harsh reality: This virus has a very negative impact on the elderly. “We are right on track, compared to other states.” Overall positive cases are increasing, rising as expected. While positive cases compared to negative is improving, we haven’t seen a 2-week level yet.

State’s Finances

The State’s cash basis is ok, but it won’t be soon. (Sept.-Dec). We’ll soon see the state revenue drop off. Message to mayors: Plan for the worst. Watch budget costs. The state has hiring freeze; cities and towns should. The State has postponed capital projects. Discretionary dollars have been halted. We need to wait to see what Federal government will provide. Find programs that are COVID-related to help get funds, freeing up other funds for other programs.

Elections

If the commission recommends that NH’s Primary and General election being done by mail-in ballots only, is the Gov comfortable with that? No, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that at all. We have a robust absentee ballot system.

Education: Summer learning programs

Working to have the vast majority of summer programs available via online learning.  Looking to have things practically done.

Monitoring

The State is currently monitoring 2400 individuals. Every person who is positive gets an initial call, then multiple calls every week to make sure they are maintaining isolation and quarantine. Each of their close contacts has to be called multiple times, too. There are 75 people in the Bureau of Public Health nurses who work on various aspects of this.  As more testing is done, we have more people to follow up, so soon some National Guardsmen will be helping, too.

NH National Guard

The National Guard has taken a crucial role in the COVID-19 battle. 500 army and airmen have been activated, the most ever in NH’s history. They are helping by filling the gaps that the State cannot fill: Assisting with food banks, delivering PPE, testing, unemployment call banks, and helping at call centers, including calls at NH Employment Security.

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.