By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
WEST STEWARTSTOWN – The National Guard went to Coos County Nursing Hospital Monday to test all residents and staff after four employees tested positive for COVID-19 over the past few days.
“We are in for a very difficult time ahead,” wrote Laura Mills, administrator of the 90-bed facility with 194 employees on a Facebook page notice to family, friends, and staff of the facility.
Only a week before, the nursing home was at what the state considers the lowest level of transmission concern in Phase III allowing visitors to come and go to see their loved ones.
But COVID-19 spread quickly through neighboring Colebrook, sending confirmed case numbers quickly higher than would allow for such visitation and by last Wednesday, the facility had gone to Phase I, closing the doors to all but essential workers.
And the news only got worse over the weekend as two staff tested positive, one of whom had patient contact. And then two more staff tested positive.
Fortunately, Mills said, none of those who are sick had what the federal officials consider significant contact – within six feet of someone for 10 minutes or more – making her hopeful that none of the residents were exposed.
Neighboring Colebrook had 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, after a week which saw the schools close, and restaurants shuttered out of precaution in most cases, due to the spike in cases which had not been present the week before.
In New Hampshire, long-term care facilities have had the worst outcomes of any setting with 81.8 percent of all the fatalities, or 395 deaths.
Health-care workers, which include those who work in long-term care settings, have had 18 percent of the state’s 11,214 cases as of Nov. 1.
The National Guard planned to test all staff and residents at the home Monday. This followed an Oct. 17 and 18 testing at the site in which all residents and 194 employees were tested.
While the facility has an onsite COVID-19 isolation unit, it has been working to develop a separate isolation unit outside the building in a county building but it is not expected to be completed until December.
For more updated information https://www.facebook.com/CCNHWS/.