Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak, Update # 5

NHDPHS Health AlertsOn March 2, 2020, NH DHHS issued a health alert update regarding the corona virus outbreak.

Key Points and Recommendations:

  1. New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has identified our first presumptive positive COVID-19 case in an adult healthcare employee from Grafton County who traveled to Italy and developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 shortly after return to New Hampshire.
  2. CDC’s travel notices have been updated. Providers should continue to ask patients presenting with fever or respiratory illness about travel to any countries with a level 1, 2, or 3 travel notice in the 14 days before symptom onset AND about any contact to COVID-19 cases. Any identified patients should be reported immediately to the NH DPHS at 603-271-4496 (after-hours 603-271-5300).
  3. The New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (PHL) now has testing capacity for COVID-19. Results take up to 24 hours from receipt of clinical specimens. Specimens testing positive by the NH PHL will be reported as presumptive positive and will need to be confirmed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NH DPHS will initiate an investigation while awaiting confirmation.
  4. To submit specimens to the NH PHL for COVID-19 testing, the person under investigation (PUI) needs to first be reported to NH DPHS, and the guidance below for “Laboratory Testing for COVID-19” should be followed.
  5. See the figure below which outlines NH DPHS’ COVID-19 testing strategy, which is complementary to CDC’s updated Person Under Investigation (PUI) guidance, but offers increased flexibility to enhance surveillance for COVID-19 in NH. 
  6. See below for recommendations regarding healthcare employees considering international travel, and monitoring for those who have recently returned from travel.
  7. Both the CDC and NH DPHS COVID-19 websites have been updated with specific guidance for long-term care facilities, businesses, schools, and PPE supply resources. Please review relevant documents for your organization type:
  8. Join us tomorrow, Tuesday March 3, 2020 at 12:00 noon for a webinar to discuss the COVID-19 epidemic, including the evolving public health response. The webinar can be accessed at the following link and call-in information:
    Webinar link: https://zoom.us/j/852671104
    Call-in Number: 1-646-558-8656
    Meeting ID: 852 671 104

Full DHHS Alert