By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – There are 16 patients at the New Hampshire Hospital, the state’s psychiatric facility, who have tested positive for COVID-19 and all patients are being asked to stay in their rooms, according to Jake Leon, spokesman for the Department for Health and Human Services.
“Due to the presence of COVID, New Hampshire Hospital is asking patients to be in their rooms as much as possible,” Leon said. “Patients receive 1:1 therapy and activities bedside.”
Wanda Duryea, a guardian and advocate for one of the patients, criticized keeping patients in the room.
“This is just like solitary confinement and not healthy for mentally ill people,” said guardian Wanda Duryea.
“They are offering them worksheets from therapy groups, but have removed all the desks from the rooms. No other activities except meals.”
She said patients are being kept in their rooms except for 15 minutes out for phone calls. They are not allowed computers or tablets and there are no TVs in their rooms, she said.
One week ago, only six patients tested positive for COVID-19 and 29 staffers, according to Leon, who did not say how many staffers were positive on Friday.
He did say 80 percent of the staff is vaccinated against COVID-19 and 75 percent of patients are vaccinated.
“All staff and patients are required to wear masks when in common spaces. Like all other healthcare providers, there are vacancies as well as staff in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19,” Leon said.
Leon said the New Hampshire Hospital is restricting visitors.
“Lawyers and guardians continue to be able to visit, but given the rates of community transmission statewide, meetings via Zoom are encouraged to limit potential exposures,” he said.