Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak, Update # 15

On May 7, 2020, NH DHHS issued health alert COVID-19 update #15 regarding Updated Testing Recommendations and Resources

NH DPHS Health AlertsKey Points and Recommendations:

  • Community mitigation efforts have been successful in “flattening the curve”. The epidemic has plateaued and the number of new hospitalizations has stabilized and even shown a decrease. An increasing proportion of cases and deaths, however, are associated with outbreaks at long-term care facilities (LTCFs). 
  • As the COVID-19 outbreak stabilizes in New Hampshire we are transitioning to a containment strategy. Therefore, we recommend that providers test any patient for COVID-19 who presents with even mild symptoms, including any of the following: 
    • Fever (subjective or documented fever) 
    • Upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms including rhinorrhea (unexplained), pharyngitis, cough, chest congestion, or shortness of breath 
    • Flu-like symptoms including myalgia, chills, and new significant fatigue 
    • Loss of taste or smell 
    • Other symptoms or clinical syndromes at a providers discretion 
  • Many options for specimen collection for COVID-19 PCR testing are available (see Table in full report). We encourage providers to check with their local hospital or healthcare system first about specimen collection/testing options. Other options may exist in your community including through Community Health Centers, city public health agencies, or commercial agencies. The NH Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) continues to operate specimen collection services around the state. 
  • Healthcare facilities that are in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) should fill out the attached PPE request form below and e-mail it to ESU@dhhs.nh.gov
  • We also have a supply of cloth face masks (these are not appropriate as PPE and are intended for source control), and can also be requested through the same process. 
  • Facilities should continue to order specimen collection supplies (e.g. swabs, transport media) through your own purchasing mechanisms. If supplies are unavailable or difficult to obtain, please contact the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL) to request specimen collection supplies at 603-271-4605, or email phlclinicalkitorders@dhhs.nh.gov
  • Even with an increased emphasis on containment, individual social distancing efforts need to remain in place to prevent worsening of the current outbreak or a second future outbreak. It is especially important for older adults and people with chronic health conditions to continue to stay home as much as possible and away from public places. Recommendations and restrictions for LTCFs still remain in effect: 
  • In partnership with the New Hampshire Health Care Association, we continue weekly calls every Wednesday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm for LTCFs and other congregate settings with vulnerable patients (next call Wednesday, May 13th): 
    • Zoom link 
    • Call-in phone number: (929) 205-6099 
    • Meeting ID: 511 075 725 
  • We continue to host weekly calls every Thursday from 12:00 – 1:00 pm for healthcare providers and local partners (next call Thursday, May 7th): 
    • Zoom link 
    • Call-in phone number: (646) 558-8656 
    • Meeting ID: 948 4125 9025 
    • Password: 003270 
  • All COVID-19 cases must be reported to NH DPHS by filling out and faxing the COVID-19 Case Report Form to our confidential fax at 603-271-0545. 
    • Please use this form to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases who become hospitalized or who die even if they were previously diagnosed and reported.

Full DHHS Alert