Weekly Updates

Androscoggin Valley COVID Dashboard


AV COVID-19 group will be meeting every four weeks to provide situational awareness of COVID and other community-related health information for local community leaders. The COVID Dashboard will be updated after the next AV COVID-19 meeting scheduled for February 2, 2023.

Get the COVID bivalent booster designed specifically for the Omicron variant!

Booster shots build immune response right away so now is the time if you haven’t received one.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Bivalent vaccine is available to anyone 6 months+ by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

1/5/2022: Starting the new year with hope, gratitude, and a lot of respiratory illness

Our work today is dedicated to EMS providers across the country and locally. Recent events on the national stage and in our own community have spotlighted the phenomenal work that EMS providers provide each and every day.


The AV COVID group will meet every four weeks unless called together more frequently. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 4:00pm


As we enter 2023, COVID transmission continues but it is one of many respiratory illnesses affecting community members. The winter months are likely to continue fueling high community transmission of illness during this indoor season. Masking in certain situations and during upticks of illness (such as now) may be helpful, especially when protecting older and immunocompromised community members. Across NH hospitals, critical care bed availability remains low. Stay healthy this winter season!


Looking back at almost three years of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community:

“We are increasingly positive in our outlook and more confident that we’re reaching an endemic phase. We’ve learned to live with this and have figured out ways to live normally while still making accommodations when needed - like masking.”


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster designed for the Omicron variants.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


***

NH announced 221 reported cases on January 4, 2023. There were an average of 236 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (December 29 to January 4). This is a 16% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.


NH Wastewater Surveillance Dashboard is now available. The dashboard shows SARS-CoV-2 shed viral particles in sampled wastewater for communities, including Berlin. Wastewater surveillance is a powerful tool to estimate the amount of a pathogen, like COVID-19, in a community. This is particularly helpful for COVID as home based testing has become more widely available. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/wastewater-surveillance.

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Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: Overall the hospital is busy after a brief lull around the holidays. There is currently one COVID positive inpatient, maintaining the steady trend of 0 - 1 inpatients with COVID, though COVID is not always the main medical concern. There are two staff out with COVID and staff have been affected by the general respiratory illnesses that are circulating the community, including flu and RSV. Three of AVH’s critical care beds are filled right now and at times the five available beds have been full. Medical transfers continue to be challenging as NH’s available critical care beds remain tight.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: The effects of post-holiday illness transmission may be a week out, but so far there are few COVID cases among the considerable nondescript respiratory illnesses that are circulating in the community. One staff is out with COVID and many staff members have been out with the other respiratory illnesses. COVID vaccines and boosters are available for all age cohorts, though uptake has slowed significantly since the majority of those who desire boosters have received them. Partnership with NCHC mobile van will focus on bringing vaccines to older adults and immunocompromised residents. CCFHS received funding for vaccine and booster outreach and will work with AVH to develop informational advertising. CCFHS is waiting for more information on the continuation of COVID-19 standards and is thinking about how to rebuild and prepare for future public health challenges with lessons learned from COVID-19. Call CCFHS at (603) 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.


  • Additional updates: Public health practitioners are watching news about the new variant X.B.B.1.5 which may be more vaccine evasive and transmissible. Currently there are some supply chain disruptions on antibiotics and other medications. China’s reversal of zero-COVID policy may create additional supply chain impacts or disruptions. In NH, alongside increased COVID cases are increased respiratory illnesses. There is a focus to get those 65+ years vaccinated and boosted to prevent serious illness and fatality. During the indoor winter season, masking in certain circumstances is emphasized to protect ourselves and others especially during the current rise in respiratory illnesses.

Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: There are very few COVID cases among staff and students (3 to 5 at a time), however general respiratory illnesses are circulating. Overall schools are operating normally. No update on this call. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are very few COVID cases among staff and students, however general respiratory illnesses are circulating. Overall schools are operating normally. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update as of 1/1/23: Due to the recent increase of positive COVID cases among employees, the NH Department of Public Health placed CCNH in outbreak status effective 12/27/22. Employees work in multiple departments, both direct and indirect resident care positions. As of Jan. 1 there are 3 active cases, 7 total cases. No resident cases. The number of active cases are posted at the Main Entrance, along with current recommended guidance for reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 at CCNH. Please do not visit if you are experiencing symptoms of any communicable illness, including COVID-19 (common symptoms are posted at the entrance). If you have had a recent known or suspected exposure (e.g., attended a large gathering of people not of your household - community transmission is HIGH), there are free COVID-19 Home Test Kits available at CCNH Business Office during normal business hours (8am - 4pm, Mon-Fri), provided by Coos County Family Health Services. All previously reported COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures continue.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are two staff out with COVID and general respiratory illness is circulating. When CCFHS develops new COVID and flu informational materials, TCCAP will display fliers on their buses and offices to get the word out.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: Two staff are out with COVID; staffing levels are operating normally.

  • Gorham EMS: NH DHHS extended the public health guidelines and EMS will be required to continue wearing PPE into the spring months. Staff are out with respiratory illnesses; staffing levels are operating normally.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: There are no COVID cases among the resident population. Five staff are currently out with COVID and many staff are affected by general respiratory illnesses. Staffing levels and operations are not affected.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The mobile van clinic is up and running and available for community support, including vaccine clinics with CCFHS. North Country Health Consortium is training Community Health Workers, including training for CHW working around the state. NCHC will connect with the City of Berlin to provide information on CHW referrals. Clinical providers are reminded to inform patients that they may need to renew their Medicaid enrollment if the pandemic-related extension expires in the near future.


“The pandemic continues to take a toll on people in our community. The school age population needs more and different kinds of resources to address social emotional challenges intensified by pandemic impacts.”


  • Congressional Delegation: Sen. Hassan was sworn in for a second term this week and the Senator’s office continues to be available as a resource. Sen. Shaheen congressionally directed funding to NH projects that support nursing workforce development, a growing workforce need exacerbated by the pandemic.


“We’ve learned how to persevere. It’s not as exhausting anymore. We’re hopeful and grateful for the work we’ve done together.”

12/8/2022: Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Our work today is dedicated to school nurses who are taking care of children and families experiencing respiratory illnesses.


The next meeting of the AV COVID group will be Thursday, January 5 at 4:00pm


COVID cases are increasing across the state over this past week. While COVID is a constant concern - cases of flu, RSV, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses are also being identified in NH. AVH is busy with respiratory illnesses and other activity, not solely COVID-related. Across the state ICU bed occupancy is at 90% and there are no pediatric ICU beds available, which has been the case for many weeks. This holiday season, stay connected to the CDC and other health providers for information relating to vaccines and their protection against new COVID variants. Check out this holiday toolkit for resources you can use to spread the message about the importance of updated COVID vaccines. Additionally, consider masking up in certain situations, like traveling in high traffic areas, during the holiday season. Stay safe and warm into the new year!


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster designed for the Omicron variants.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


***

NH announced 217 reported cases on December 8, 2022. There were an average of 198 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (December 1 to December 7). This is a 53% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

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Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is seeing increased activity, with many respiratory cases that are not COVID-related. There is currently one (1) COVID positive inpatient. The ED volume is high; the hospital has many flu, RSV, and other respiratory cases. Beds are full and statewide, there is a 90% occupancy for ICU beds. Staffing remains stable, with one (1) employee out due to COVID.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: CCFHS is seeing undefined upper-respiratory cases that are overwhelming testing clinics; though there is a decrease in positive COVID cases. CCFHS no longer hosts regular vaccine clinics but is actively accepting vaccine appointments, people can call and make the vaccine appointments they need. Bivalent boosters are now available for children 6 months to 5 years old. COVID and regular-dose flu vaccines are available. Staffing is stable, with one (1) employee out due to COVID. CCFHS continues to have testing available Monday through Friday and on weekends for symptomatic patients. Vaccines continue to be encouraged as the best protection against severe illness and for protecting immunocompromised community members. Call CCFHS at (603) 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.

  • Statewide update: There is a national trend of increased positive COVID cases, the cause of this is unknown but may hint at a new variant. In NH, alongside increased COVID cases are increased respiratory illnesses. There is a focus to get those 60+ years vaccinated and boosted to prevent serious illness and fatality. During the holiday season, masking in certain circumstances is emphasized to protect ourselves and others during this busy season.

Education


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Email update 12/8/22. There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report; no resident cases and one (1) active employee case. CCNH continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: Tri-County CAP is busy and stable; there has been one (1) recent COVID positive employee that has recovered. They are currently administering testing kits to homeless populations and providing contact information for transportation to medical services. Centers are almost full, with some guest testing daily. Tri-County CAP is working with community providers and volunteers to get an accurate count of the homeless population in the area.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: Gorham EMS is busy; staffing has seen employees out but are currently working at full capacity. They are seeing many respiratory-related issues.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: No update on this call.

  • Congressional Delegation: Offices have been working with Tri-County CAP and City of Berlin to help support the homeless population.


“Activity is up in general, but it is not all COVID-related, and we’re seeing more respiratory distress.”

11/17/2022: Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving

Our work today is dedicated to people suffering from long COVID which affects 5 - 15% of people infected with COVID.


The next meeting of the AV COVID group will be in three weeks.


COVID cases are decreasing statewide however COVID, RSV, and influenza continue to be present in our local community. Available pediatric ICU beds continue to be very low in NH and the region. As a reminder to enjoy a safe and healthy Thanksgiving, and to keep the more vulnerable family and friends safe from respiratory illness, stay home if you feel symptoms, use a mask, test, and get treatment if needed. It is not too late to get a COVID booster and flu shot this season. There are some tips from Thinking through the holidays this year from an epidemiologist. We hope everyone has a safe and healthy holiday season in Androscoggin Valley.


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster designed for the Omicron variants.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


***

NH announced 120 reported cases on November 17, 2022. There were an average of 120 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (November 11 to November 17). This is a 28% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

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Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital reports stable activity. There is an average of 2-3 staff members out due to COVID. The ER volume is light, there are a few positive COVID tests detected during routine procedure; there are currently two (2) inpatients with COVID and no COVID patients in ICU. The hospital is seeing other respiratory bugs, including RSV, but there are no flu patients in the hospital. However, there are a number of flu-related cases present in hospitals around the state.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: There are fewer positive COVID testing results at CCFHS. Most people are testing at home so testing data is difficult to rely on. Vaccine demand has dropped, but CCFHS will continue to host vaccine clinics through November, then clinics will conclude. Vaccines will still be available by appointment by calling the CCFHS. The recent 11/12/22 vaccine clinic reached 80+ people. CCFHS is supporting vaccine outreach and added capacity in the Colebrook area. CCFHS continues to monitor long COVID cases and will refer affected individuals to Dartmouth and their specialty clinic. Sporadic RSV cases have been documented in the area, but CCFHS has not seen the tremendous amounts like in southern NH. There have also been a couple of flu cases, which may rise as the season goes on. CCFHS is going through a building expansion: the work will allow for better ventilation, more space, and a generator for safe storage of vaccines. Federal investments have positively impacted the local community to strengthen the public health infrastructure in the area.

CCFHS continues to have testing available Monday through Friday and on weekends for symptomatic patients. Vaccine clinics are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday, ending this month. Vaccines continue to be encouraged as the best protection against severe illness and for protecting immunocompromised community members. Call CCFHS at (603) 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.

  • Statewide update: Statewide there are no pediatric ICU beds available and there is demand for pediatric beds throughout the state and region. Nationally, a three-tiered challenge may arise in coming months: influenza, COVID, and RSV. Everyone should help in limiting the spread of respiratory disease this upcoming cold season. The uptake of booster vaccines continues to be low, which is concerning. Observations from Western Europe suggest an increase in cases from the new sub variants, but without the usual increase in serious illness and death that usually accompany COVID-19 waves.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: The number of cases remains low among students and staff. There are four (4) staff out right now with COVID and staffing levels remain a challenge this school year. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: COVID cases are few to none among students and staff right now. Normal school operations. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: No update on this call.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update as of 11/17/22: There are no new cases of COVID-19 to report. The outbreak was closed by the New Hampshire Department of Public Health, effective 11/16/22. Outbreak 9/26/22 - 11/16/22 totaled 15 resident cases (14 residents) and 19 staff. The nursing home will continue with all previously reported COVID-19 infection, prevention, and control measures. Vaccines continue to be our best form of protection against serious, sometimes deadly, COVID-19 infection. If you are not feeling well, please do not enter the facility and visit at a later time when you are better.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: Stable operations across town government. EMS is transporting one (1) COVID patient a week on average. Health responders are reminded to continue wearing proper PPE.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The state has asked PHN about hosting vaccine clinics, but has not formally requested PHN to hold any clinics as of now. The demand for vaccines is low, and it’s unlikely that PHN will need to hold clinics. Mobile vans are available to distribute vaccines. Homebound residents can contact their primary care or NH government COVID website.

  • Congressional Delegation: NH elected officials passed an extension of the state's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) on 11/18/22. The $20M fund is a continuation of the program to addresses housing insecurity and is expected to last through part of the winter. Housing continues to be a major community issue for much of NH. Funds will be used to offer unhoused individuals and families rooms at local hotels. The public health emergency is extended for 3-4 months, which allows provisions from the pandemic to continue and eases uncertainty during the oncoming cold season.


“The three-tiered challenge - flu, RSV, and COVID - is likely to affect the country this year, and maybe us locally.”

11/4/22: Lasting effects of COVID

Our work today is dedicated to our partners in the federal and state government whose support has allowed us to marshal the resources to do this work for our local community.


COVID continues to have lasting effects on our systems of care: educational, health, long term care, and more. We’re learning more about treating long COVID, estimated to affect 5-15% of infected people. Uptake of the bivalent booster is encouraged and is one of the best ways to protect individuals and community members. We are mindful to remember those most vulnerable to illness in our community, such as those immunocompromised while going through cancer treatment. As holiday season is approaching with travel and time indoors with family and friends, it is important to get boosted, stay home if feeling sick, and continue masking when the situation calls for it. If you are sick: stay home, get treatment, and avoid spreading illness.


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster designed for the Omicron variants.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


***

NH announced 227 reported cases on November 3, 2022. There were an average of 177 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (October 28 to November 3). This is a 18% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

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Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and the ED continues to see a couple of COVID cases per day. One inpatient with COVID was seen over the past week. Weeks Medical Center had a patient needing ventilation over the past week. COVID continues to severely affect the vulnerable and is worthy of our continued attention. Testing is back to pre-procedure testing levels. Staff out with COVID dropped to 0, now a couple of staff are out, after a peak of 8 - 10 staff out. AVH is not currently seeing the RSV wave that the rest of the country is seeing, however there is limited capacity for pediatric ICU beds in NH so RSV and other respiratory illnesses are being followed closely with hopes that the North Country will not be hard hit. Influenza and COVID booster vaccine clinics continue to be well attended, including today with approximately 40 patients. NCH will be sharing community communication about masking as a continued tool for protection.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Positive results from COVID testing continue to decrease. A couple of staff are out with COVID and CCHFS is operating in yellow phase with increased mask use within the building. RSV levels are being monitored but have not increased like many areas of the country. CCFHS continues to have testing available M - F and weekend for symptomatic patients. Vaccine clinics are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Booster uptake is slowing as many interested community members have received their vaccine. Vaccines continue to be encouraged as the best protection against severe illness and for protecting immunocompromised community members. Call CCFHS at (603) 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.

  • Statewide update: The CDC map continues to show high community transmission in Coos County. The available data models for projection of infections and NH hospital resource use are aligned. Projection models are showing the COVID infections will decrease after this recent spike and NH hospital resource use will peak right now and then slide back down to more normal levels. The NH Hospital Association shows daily cases are down from a peak of 199 inpatients and there is currently 88.5% occupancy in adult ICU beds. Pediatric bed availability will continue to be tight. Good coordination and communication among the hospital association has allowed the situation to be holding steady. With fewer staff out there is more capacity to respond to community health needs. NH DHHS reported 24 COVID related deaths after this current COVID increase. Deaths continue to be a lagging indicator of increased hospitalization, which is an indicator of increased infection. This trend has been consistent throughout the pandemic. The newly observed variants have not been driving higher rates of hospitalization in Europe so far.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: The number of cases is down from the previous two weeks. There is currently 1 student and 1 staff out right now with COVID-19. An additional dedication goes out to our local mental and behavioral health providers. The school district is coordinating access to support services for the increased and more intensive mental and behavioral support needed among students, especially in the early elementary age. The pandemic continues to impact our communities in different ways, including students who were in remote schooling during their K-1 years. The challenge for students, teachers, and the educational system continues. These trends are observed nationally and we are not alone or unique in experiencing these continued challenges. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: No update on this call. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: No update on this call.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update as of 11/2/22: There are no new positive cases of COVID-19 at this time. The outbreak from late September to early November included 14 residents and 19 staff with positive COVID tests. The nursing home will continue with all previously reported COVID-19 infection, prevention, and control measures. Vaccines continue to be our best form of protection against serious, sometimes deadly, COVID-19 infection. If you are not feeling well, please do not enter the facility and visit at a later time when you are better.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No additional update on this call. More information on interpreting the data from Berlin’s waste water COVID testing program will be sought in the coming weeks.

  • Gorham EMS: A couple of COVID positive patients were transported to the hospital for treatment. Normal operations continue, no additional update.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: There are currently a few cases of COVID among staff, no cases affecting the resident population. Over the summer through now cases have been minimal and sporadic.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN continues to provide testing kits to groups that need them. No additional update.

  • Congressional Delegation: Good to be on call. No additional update.


“The COVID pandemic continues to make lasting effects on our many systems of care - educational, health, long term care, and more.”

10/27/2022: Quiet week after last week’s concerns

Our work today is dedicated to all nurses and providers who have contracted COVID as a result of their work.

The next meeting of the AV COVID group is tentatively scheduled for next week.

Now is the time to get a flu shot and COVID vaccine booster. Respiratory illnesses in the community will be a constant this coming cold season. It is likely that low ICU bed availability in NH will continue to be a trend when respiratory illnesses increase and staffing levels continue to be low across the healthcare industry. Last week’s concerns are still being watched but did not reach a critical level this week. Continue to treat illness and do what you can to prevent a hospital stay. If you are sick: stay home, get treatment, and avoid spreading illness.


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster designed for the Omicron variants.

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

NH announced 235 reported cases on October 27, 2022. There were an average of 210 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (October 14 to October 20). This is a 10% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: Androscoggin Valley Hospital continues to see a slight uptick of COVID and other respiratory illnesses in the emergency room. There were up to four (4) COVID patients this week, down to two (2) on Thursday (10/27) morning. Patients experiencing health concerns along with housing insecurity do continue to be seen. The number of staff are not at a critically low level but there are many staff out. The NCH Incident Command Team convened this week to discuss a number of important COVID related topics: return to work post-COVID illness remains unchanged; employees continue to be required to receive initial COVID vaccine primary series, and boosters are recommended, not required; flu vaccines are recommended but not mandated; masking policies for all remains same, and screening will continue. These topics may be revisited. There are not many changes but there is value in coming together and communicating with NCH staff.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting on October 20, CCFHS has seen that the uptick in COVID diagnoses from last week remains steady and have not increased. The majority demographic seen with COVID are adults, less so in pediatric patients. There are four (4) employees out: one (1) in Colebrook and three (3) in the Berlin/Gorham area. RSV continues to circulate in NH, but is not prevalent in the Berlin/Gorham area. CCFHS continues to host vaccine clinics on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; they have moved to indoor appointments. Vaccine clinics are currently filling up for COVID boosters and flu shots, people are able to get both shots at the same time. The next weekend clinic will be held on Saturday November 12th at the Page Hill location. Those interested can call (603) 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: There is a slight uptick of positive COVID tests at the schools, with 12 students and one (1) staff COVID positive. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Schools are not seeing any COVID uptick. There has been no one out with COVID this week, one (1) positive COVID case last week. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: No update on this call.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Email update as of 10/23/22: There are three (3) employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. No new resident positives at this time. Current outbreak 9/26/22 - ongoing: Resident active cases (4); Staff active cases (7). Total cases since 9/26/22: 14 residents; 19 staff. No deaths. We will be rapid testing all residents tomorrow morning. We continue with all previously reported COVID-19 infection, prevention, and control measures. Vaccines continue to be our best form of protection against serious, sometimes deadly, COVID-19 infection. If you are not feeling well, please do not enter the facility and visit at a later time when you are better.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: Normal operations, no additional update on this call.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

  • City of Berlin: Normal operations and employees are healthy. The Public Health Network will deliver more tests so employees and residents can continue to find tests, if available, at City Hall. This week, a flyer campaign to remind employees to get flu shots and COVID boosters will be going out in paychecks.

  • Town of Gorham: No update on this call.

  • Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce: No update on this call.

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN dropped off a case of COVID tests to Tri-County CAP last week and will provide additional tests to AVH and the City of Berlin. Anyone needing test kits can let the PHN know.

  • Congressional Delegation: Elected officials continue to monitor the community situation and are available as a resource if needed. No additional update.


“After last week’s full and busy meeting, this week’s update is relatively quiet.”

10/20/2022: NH hospital bed availability is low

“The world has moved on, but from where we sit, COVID is still a factor.”


Our work today is dedicated to direct service staff on the front lines of COVID testing, vaccination, and caring for patients. Also the NH Hospital Association for keeping a watchful eye on COVID, hospital response and bed availability.


The next meeting of the AV COVID group is 10/27/22.

For the near term the group will increase frequency to weekly meetings in response to the potential brewing storm of increased community transmission of respiratory illness including COVID, low hospital bed availability in NH, and increasing need of those with housing insecurity in our community.


We are starting to see what may be a continuing trend in NH during this cold season: vulnerable people affected by respiratory illness and low ICU bed availability in NH due to low staffing. Treat illness when it’s manageable and do what you can to prevent a hospital stay. AVH is not significantly affected right now, but if the current trend continues the region’s low ICU bed availability will affect the entire system. If you are sick: stay home, get treatment, and avoid spreading illness. Get a flu shot and check that you are updated on all COVID vaccine boosters.

“We don’t have the staffing that we had last year. Now we’re better equipped with COVID treatments and vaccine boosters, but lower numbers of staff have created pressure points across the NH hospital system.”


Get a flu shot and a COVID bivalent booster!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

NH announced 253 reported cases on October 20, 2022. There were an average of 239 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (October 14 to October 20). This is a 0% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is seeing a COVID uptick: a spike, not a surge yet. There were four (4) positive COVID patients 10/19/22, three (3) today (10/20/22), an increase from two (2) positive patients last week. There is an average of five (5) staff members out at a given time, most reporting mild COVID symptoms. Patients that are vulnerable, with comorbidity factors, are struggling, especially with respiratory issues. AVH held a successful staff vaccine booster clinic with CCFHS and there has been renewed interest in the vaccine. The flu shot is another vitally important step to take care of your health this fall and winter season. The hospital is seeing RSV in the adult population, typically a pediatric illness. There are a handful of diseases circulating right now that can be problematic for people vulnerable to respiratory issues.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting on September 29, 2022, CCFHS has conducted 54 COVID tests with 18 positive results. Many people are calling in with positive home tests and are treating with oral antivirals. CCFHS remains a test to treat facility and has provided oral antiviral treatments to 22 individuals since last meeting. There is a considerable rate of COVID in the community. Last week, there were eight (8) staff members out, this week there are three (3) out. COVID vaccines were administered to 943 individuals, four (4) first doses, and the rest were boosters. CCFHS purchased a testing machine for COVID and flu, this will be especially helpful for pediatrics. The supply of free Binax Now tests are no longer being supplied from the state so CCFHS will need to charge for tests. A COVID bivalent booster clinic for children ages five (5) and up will be held soon. CCFHS held clinics for the Berlin Housing Authority and for other homebound individuals. The weekend clinic was successful, with 100+ vaccines administered. The next weekend clinic will be held on Saturday November 12th at the Page Hill location and will be held indoors. Those interested can call 752-2900 to make an appointment for COVID boosters, primary doses, and influenza vaccine.

“Vaccinations help protect against severe illnesses, and vaccines are doing what they are designed to do. Breakthrough cases are to be expected, it’s working when we’re keeping people out of the hospital.”

  • Statewide: Statewide there is an attrition of hospital staff due to COVID related trends and it’s increasingly difficult to find traveling nurses which was the stopgap used last year. Across NH, hospitals have seen the most inpatients since February 2022, with a steady rise of patients admitted over the past few weeks. Elliot Hospital has seen a doubling in the past week in COVID patient population. The occupancy in ICU and MedSurge are high, not just because of COVID, but due to low staffing, which limits the availability of beds. ICU beds are 92% full in NH, people are waiting for a bed. Eventually, there will be a backup in NH and region that may affect the Androscoggin Valley. Patients may have difficulty finding beds at other tertiary hospitals. In NH, no one is shutting down procedures, which is an option, if needed.

  • Treat illness sooner rather than later to avoid a hospital stay if possible. People are tired of COVID communication but it is important to share. Vaccinations help protect against severe illnesses, and vaccines are doing what they are designed to do. Breakthrough cases are to be expected, it’s working when we’re keeping people out of the hospital. As the world has moved on, we are still in a pandemic. We have the opportunity to reinvigorate as a team and continue to work collaboratively to be the model that others have held up. We’re only monitoring hospitalization data, we don’t have early detection anymore because of at-home testing. We will continue COVID communication despite challenges.

  • At the moment, the current spike of COVID-19 is located in the Northeast. Vaccinations are the best, proven method of defense against severe disease caused by COVID. Worldwide, there are variants being identified that are more resistant to vaccines and treatments. The current surge in our area is not at this resistant stage, but variants elsewhere may predict what’s ahead for us. There are vulnerable people in our community, especially older residents and those with comorbidities who benefit from high community vaccine uptake. It’s hard to say what will happen, but we’re preparing for any eventualities. Our work will continue, in the meantime: Stay home if you’re sick, mask up if recovering, and take care of each other.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: COVID continues to be a part of the normal operations of the school system, but there is nothing major happening right now. A staffing shortage at the elementary school for various reasons has continued since week 2 of the school year. Everyone is doing what’s needed to make coverage work. The schools are willing to share specific COVID messaging, but can’t do much more. Housing insecurity is affecting the region: there are 13 known students and their families facing homelessness and are living with others. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: The school year is moving along with normal school activities and operations. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: No update on this call.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: There is an active outbreak at St. Vincent de Paul Nursing Home. No additional update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: There are three (3) COVID positive residents and four (4) COVID positive staff. One new employee that is positive today is a non-direct. The outbreak is contained to one unit, with mild symptoms reported and no deaths. There have been people who come out of their isolation period and pass away. A lack of available long-term staff is affecting the nursing home’s ability to take new residents waiting for long term care admission. The waitlist is at 30+ for long term care. Current census is 68 and hoping to reach 70% occupancy soon.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are currently four (4) staff out with COVID. Outreach workers are reaching out to homeless encampments and homeless shelters, giving out testing kits and sharing vaccine locations. In the Berlin area there are approximately 50+ homeless and living in encampments and motels which is not counting the housing insecure and living with others. This is an unprecedented rise in homelessness as the rise in rent and lack of safe, stable, affordable housing has contributed to housing insecurity.

Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: Normal operations, no additional update on this call.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: Home tests are available for age-restricted housing and other eligible groups in need of COVID tests. The PHN is coordinating with Tri-County CAP to provide COVID home test kids for TCCAP's homeless community outreach efforts.

  • Congressional Delegation: The delegation is supportive of this collaborative group and is offering support. The current public health emergency declaration is set to expire in January 2023; providers will get notice ahead of expiration date. There will be transitional windows and programs to help in the transition. AVH would see some immediate barriers and effects to providing local healthcare if the declaration expires as expected.

“As the world has moved on, we are still in a pandemic.”

9/29/2022: Flu Shots and COVID Bivalent Boosters

Our work today is dedicated to nurses who are stepping up to get vaccines out to our patients, especially as we have the bivalent booster now available.


The next meeting of the AV COVID group is tentatively scheduled for 10/20/22.


The start of fall brings brisk, cool weather and new beginnings as the school year takes off. It is important to prepare for cold and flu season. COVID-19 activity is still active in the region, with a slight increase of COVID patients being seen at the hospital. Now is a good time to get the flu shot and the COVID bivalent booster; CCFHS is holding a vaccine clinic on Oct. 1st 8:00 - 3:30 pm at Page Hill Clinic for influenza and COVID-19 bivalent vaccines for ages 12 and older. Call to make an appointment 603-752-2040. The bivalent booster is tailored to the newer Omicron variant and is an important protection against severe symptoms. Staying updated with all vaccines is critical for individual health, as well as community wellbeing.


COVID Community Health Workers are available to help provide COVID-related support to individuals and families in need of support. Contact Community Health Workers at the Public Health Network at 603-259-4369 or send an email to: COVIDsupport@nchcnh.org.


***

NH announced 276 reported cases on September 29, 2022. There were an average of 247 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (September 23 to September 29). This is a 34% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital has reported steady operations. There is an average of three (3) staff members out due to COVID but staffing is stable. There is a slight increase in admissions due to COVID, which follows the same patterns across the state. The hospital continues to treat patients with COVID-19 and related respiratory concerns. Thanks to CCHFS, the first bivalent booster clinic for AVH employees will be held soon. The hospital is also prioritizing the flu shot as well. NCH will hold an incident command meeting next month to discuss new healthcare facility guidelines from the CDC. There are no changes to any screening or masking policies at this time, any changes will be shared with the group. Any and all changes will be in compliance with the CDC guidance and community transmission rates. Last week, AVH hosted a successful Open Hospital event for community members to see new hospital spaces.


  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting on September 1, 2022, CCFHS has conducted 48 COVID tests with 14 positive results. The volume of tests given have increased since the start of the school year, but positive results are steady. CCFHS remains a test to treat facility and has provided oral antiviral treatments to nine (9) individuals since last meeting. Vaccine was administered to 103 individuals, including bivalent boosters, and no new primary series given. The COVID bivalent booster is on order for children ages 5 to 12 years old. The Pfizer vaccine is available for children 5 years and older and Moderna vaccine for 6 months to 5 years old. Uptake for the bivalent booster is not as robust as initial COVID vaccines, CCFHS is participating in outreach activities to encourage this important COVID booster. CCFHS provides Monkey Pox vaccine to anyone with potential exposure to Monkey Pox, however CCFHS has not seen any increased interest in the vaccine. Vaccines are offered for those 18 years and older, call CCFHS to set up an appointment.


Multiple COVID-19 test options are available Monday - Friday for adults and children and symptomatic testing available over the weekend. Oral antivirals are available through the test to treat programs and qualifying patients are offered medication when testing positive. Home test kits are available. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.


Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: No update on this call. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Despite few staff out, the school is operating normally and is back to regular school operations at the start of the new school year. It’s great to see things get back to normal! Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: The campus is five weeks in the new semester, with a few COVID cases occurring. The school is officially open to the public and community orgs are actively participating on campus.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: (Updated 10/1/22) Two (2) additional residents tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, a total of 10 resident cases at this time. We have six (6) active employee cases of COVID-19. The emailed update on 9/28/22 reported two (2) active employee COVID-19 cases and five (5) resident cases. The nursing home continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are six (6) active employee COVID-19 cases that are currently out. There are also a couple cases of flu. The TCCAP is working through their busy season at the moment.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: There are a few employees out, however no staffing issues. The department will follow up on deciphering the takeaways from the Berlin, NH Pollution Control Facility SARS-CoV-2 Biomarker Results Summary to share with this group and the community.

  • Gorham EMS: There are no employees out town-wide and operations are normal. The focus is on getting information about employee boosters. The team is looking forward to opening the station and hosting the first pancake breakfast since COVID began.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The public health incident status is extended into December. DHHS is continuing with onsite medical services (primary care, retail locations) for COVID boosters and the initial vaccine. The PHN is not expecting to hold any mass vaccine clinics; the state is well-covered with the current vaccine distribution, but is prepared if the need arises. The PHN organized the region’s medical inventory and is up-to-date and easy to access. NCHC is preparing to deploy the mobile clinic van; there is an active survey asking community partners how they would like this mobile clinic used in the region: http://www.northernnhmobileclinic.org. The North Country Health Consortium is in its annual planning process, with the hopes of an in-person partner meeting this year. AHEC Scholars Weekend is coming up in November, healthcare students shadow partner sites for the day. The goal is for students to experience healthcare delivery in rural and northern NH communities, in the hopes that students are encouraged to practice in the North Country.

  • Congressional Delegation: No additional update on this call.


“Now is the time for flu and COVID booster shots.”

9/1/2022: Let’s keep each other healthy

Our work today is dedicated to those experiencing long COVID. Approximately 5-8% of people infected with COVID-19 experience symptoms that qualify them for long COVID.

The next meeting of the AV COVID group is tentatively scheduled for 9/29/22.


School is back in session after Labor Day and it’s an important reminder to renew the commitment to basic healthy behaviors. COVID-19 activity in the region is picking up again with many reporting increasing positive COVID cases among staff members. Nationally and regionally, COVID numbers continue at a high-plateau, and COVID-19 will be present throughout the school year and in the workplace locally. With reminders and encouragement to stay home if you’re not feeling well or have unexplained symptoms, to wear a mask when the situation calls for one, and maintain good hand hygiene, we can keep our community and the most vulnerable healthy. It’s not just about COVID-19, the season of colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses is on the horizon as colder weather approaches. Being up to date with all vaccines is a critical tool for individual and community health.


COVID Community Health Workers are available to help provide COVID-related support to individuals and families in need of support. Contact Community Health Workers at the Public Health Network at 603-259-4369 or send an email to: COVIDsupport@nchcnh.org.


***

NH announced 253 reported cases on September 1, 2022. There were an average of 193 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (August 26 to September 1). This is a 1% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is steady and had a busy past month. The biggest COVID-19 issue affecting the hospital is staffing. There is currently an average of 4 individuals out due to COVID-19 compared to an average of 1 staff out at a time over the summer. The hospital continues to treat patients with COVID-19 and related respiratory concerns. The ER sees an average of 1 COVID-19 patient per day, some requiring monoclonal treatment. Overall the hospital is stable. AVH is hosting an Open House event on 9/22/22, RSVP requested, to celebrate the renovated and updated facilities of Surgical Services, Rehabilitation Services, Infusion Center, and Cafe. RSVP requested by 9/15/22 at news@northcountryhealth.org.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting three weeks ago on August 11, 2022, CCFHS conducted 26 COVID-19 tests with 9 positive results. Several staff continue to test positive for COVID-19 with relatively minor impact on operations, however staffing issues are on the radar. CCFHS remains a test to treat facility and has provided oral antiviral treatments to four individuals since last meeting. Vaccine was administered to 48 individuals, including 21 first doses. Sixteen pediatric doses were given, including 5 first doses. Awaiting CDC’s approval, COVID-19 boosters are on brief pause until the bivalent vaccine, targeting omicron subvariants, arrives at CCFHS in early September. Pfizer vaccine is available for 5 years and older and Moderna vaccine for 6 months - 5 years old. A newer Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is available which is protein-based to create an immune response, a technology similar to older vaccines. CCFHS administered Monkey Pox vaccine to 5 individuals at a mini-clinic and continues to offer the vaccine to prioritized groups with potential exposure to Monkey Pox, including those who may be exposed through intimate contact, healthcare providers, and others. Vaccines are offered for those 18 years and older, call CCFHS to set up an appointment.


Multiple COVID-19 test options are available Monday - Friday for adults and children and symptomatic testing available over the weekend. Oral antivirals are available through the test to treat programs and qualifying patients are offered medication when testing positive. Home test kits are available. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.


Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: After a good summer staff are back this week and students arrive for the first day of school after Labor Day. Three staff are out this week due to COVID-19. Administrators expect COVID-19 to continue being present and manageable during the school year. Schools continue to follow DHHS guidelines and NH Department of Education requirements. Both SAU 3 and SAU 20 met with Dr. Beals to review COVID-19 recommendations and confirm that both school systems are using the same protocols. Anyone returning to school or work after COVID-19 infection who is still experiencing symptoms after 5 days is encouraged to please continue wearing a mask to limit potential spread. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Students return next week after Labor Day. No additional update on this call. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: Fall semester begins soon. No additional update on this call.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: The emailed update on 9/2/22 reports no active employee or resident cases of COVID-19. Community transmission rates continue to be high. The nursing home continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are 5 active employee COVID-19 cases. TCCAP’s new mobile connect trailer is operational and currently at the Lancaster Fair. Program applications such as fuel and rental assistance are available. Some individuals are looking for COVID-19 vaccination information and were referred to primary care. The mobile trailer does not provide medical services.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: No update on this call.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business

  • City of Berlin: An average of 2 or 3 City employees have active COVID cases per week. The City continues to provide vaccine booster information to the public. Individuals looking for pre-procedure COVID-19 testing have called the City for appointment assistance. Everyone is encouraged to call CCFHS for testing appointments.

  • Town of Gorham: No additional update on this call.

  • Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce: No update on this call.


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN is not currently administering COVID-19 boosters, but is sharing the information that bivalent boosters will soon be on the way to northern NH vaccine sites. If additional booster clinics are needed, the PHN is ready to be reactivated for mass vaccination clinics. North Country Health Consortium is busy launching a new mobile medical clinic to help address healthcare access. A pilot program for school-based vaccination clinics for flu, COVID boosters, and other regular vaccines will begin in northern Grafton. COVID test kits are available and can be distributed to groups in non-school / healthcare settings since these organizations have other access to kits. The free at-home test kit program through https://www.covid.gov/tests was suspended on 9/2/22 until further notice due to lack of additional Congressional funding.

  • Congressional Delegation: No additional update on this call. Several members of this COVID-19 group met with Rep. Kuster, as well as Sen. Shaheen’s office, to share insight and lessons learned from this COVID-19 group. Congressional representatives continue to have interest in this group as a model for community collaboration in public health.

“At the start of a new school year, let’s keep each other healthy.”

8/11/2022: Public health communication

Our work today is dedicated to members of the press who have helped to get our public health messaging out to the public.


The next meeting of the AV COVID group is tentatively scheduled three weeks out on 9/1/22.

COVID-19 activity in the region has been quiet over the summer, however there is a slight but noticeable uptick in the region and state (10%) over the past week. COVID cases continue to circulate and home test kits, as well as testing at CCFHS and AVH, are readily available to inform community members with symptoms or after exposure. Vaccines for COVID-19 are available for all 6 months +. Vaccination and up to date boosters remain the best defense against serious illness from COVID-19 and help to reduce impacts at a community-level. CCFHS will receive vaccines for Monkey Pox next week and interested individuals with potential exposure are encouraged to call CCFHS to schedule an appointment 603-752-2040.


***

NH announced 271 reported cases on August 10, 2022. There were an average of 229 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (August 4 to 10). This is a 10% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and relatively quiet after a busy weekend. There is a slight, but noticeable increase in COVID activity over the past week with 10 positive COVID tests in the ED, including 4 on Saturday. Saturday was busy with the ATV festival in town. There is one active COVID patient on MedSurg, no on the ICU or ventilator. Three patients were treated with monoclonal antibodies and one with Paxlovid. There is currently one staff member out. All AVH and NCH communications share up to date COVID information and there is an ad out highlighting all testing and vaccination dates and times among NCH healthcare providers.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting on June 30, 2022, CCFHS conducted 42 COVID tests with 13 positive cases. There is a slight, but noticeable increase in COVID activity over the past week. CCFHS remains a test to treat facility and has provided oral antiviral treatments to eight individuals. Respiratory trailer services are available in Gorham and at Page Hill sites, but not at the Pleasant Street site which is undergoing a building expansion. Vaccine was administered to 119 individuals, mainly booster doses. Twenty children received vaccines at a well-attended pediatric clinic. Pfizer vaccine is available for 5 years and older and Moderna vaccine for 6 months - 5 years old. CCFHS is receiving the Monkey Pox vaccine next week and will be setting up mini-clinics for prioritized groups with potential exposure to Monkey Pox, including healthcare workers, those who may be exposed through intimate contact, and others. Vaccine is offered for those 18 years and older, call CCHFS to set up an appointment.


Multiple COVID-19 test options are available Monday - Friday for adults and children and symptomatic testing available over the weekend. Oral antivirals are available through the test to treat programs and qualifying patients are offered medication when testing positive. Home test kits are available. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.


Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for. Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: Schools are out for the summer. Summer programs are staffed with a school nurse. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Schools are out for the summer. No additional update on this call. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: The college is open to the public under normal operations for meeting space, library use, visits, Bistro meals, and more.


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: The emailed update on 8/12/22 reports three employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. No active resident cases at this time. Positive employee and resident case numbers are posted at the main entrance and on both resident floors. Resident visitors are encouraged to visit the COVID information booth at the main entrance. Free home test kits for visitors are available in the business office made available by CCFHS. CDC's recent updates streamlining COVID-19 guidance to help the public better protect themselves and understand their risk only applies to COMMUNITY recommendations and does not apply to healthcare settings.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No additional update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: There is some demand for home test kits in Gorham. Staff are operating at normal levels.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: North Country Health Consortium will continue as the PHN for the region with a new two year contract for this public health role. The PNH is assessing the regional stockpile of supplies and resources. Supplies may be distributed into the community. If directed by the NH Dept. of Health & Human Services, the PHN can stand up future vaccination / booster clinics as needed. Test kits are available and distributed to groups in non-school / healthcare settings since these organizations have other access to kits. Summer activities are focused on returning to normal business, as well as providing accurate public health messaging for COVID and the emerging Monkey Pox response. There are 15 known cases in NH. The PHN shared reminders about the importance of creating inclusive language, and avoiding stigma, about Monkey Pox and the available vaccine. Public health messaging support is available to partners in the region. The PHN is addressing the healthcare worker shortage in our region by supporting ‘grow our own’ strategies including school to career pipeline and recruitment and retention strategies. A new dental program is being launched at Littleton High School

  • Congressional Delegation: No update on this call.


COVID Community Health Workers are available to help provide COVID-related support to individuals and families in need of support. Contact Community Health Workers at the Public Health Network at 603-259-4369 or send an email to: COVIDsupport@nchcnh.org.


The North Country public health experience and how people access health resources can be different from the rest of the state. Public health reporting plays an important role in keeping our state and residents informed of our region.

6/30/2022: Have a safe summer!

Our work today is dedicated to the many volunteers who have stepped up during the pandemic to make the load a little lighter.

The next meeting of the AV COVID group will be scheduled for August 2022.

COVID continues to remain on the radar for communities and healthcare workers, but thankfully as the backdrop to summer rather than at the forefront. COVID cases continue to circulate and home test kits, as well as testing at CCFHS and AVH, are readily available to inform community members with symptoms or after exposure. Vaccines for COVID-19 are now approved for all age groups, including 6 months - 5 years cohort. Vaccination and up to date boosters remain the best defense against serious illness from COVID-19 and help to reduce impacts at a community-level.


Households can order a third round of 8 free home COVID testing kits at https://www.covid.gov/tests.


COVID Community Health Workers are available to help provide COVID-related support to individuals and families in need of support. Contact Community Health Workers at the Public Health Network at 603-259-4369 or send an email to: COVIDsupport@nchcnh.org.


***

NH announced 302 reported cases on June 29, 2022. There were an average of 236 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (June 23 to June 29). This is a 6% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. At the last AV COVID meeting three weeks ago there were a similar number of reported cases on June 6, 2022. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 6+ months old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and picking back up after a few quieter weeks. There is currently one active COVID patient, but COVID in patient cases are few and sporadic ranging from 0 - 2. Illness tends to be mild to moderate but enough to be hospitalized for some assistance. Testing is way down and administered mostly for procedures with about a 10% positivity rate. AVH staff are averaging about 2 employees out for COVID and most people are doing well 5 to 7 days after initial illness and are ready to return to work. AVH and NCH testing and vaccination communications are currently being updated and will be published soon.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting three weeks ago, CCFHS conducted 14 tests with 9 positive cases. In the previous three week period, 149 tests with 26 positive cases. There is a continued decrease in testing and positive results. Vaccine was administered to 109 individuals, including 20 new pediatric doses. A pediatric clinic for 6 months - 5 years old was held and no additional clinics are scheduled since most of the area children in this age cohort will be seeing their providers over the summer. Testing and respiratory clinic appointments are available Monday - Friday for adults and children with symptomatic testing available over the weekend. Oral antivirals are available through the test to treat programs and qualifying patients are offered medication when testing positive. Home test kits are available. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Update from NH: The first reported case of monkeypox was announced in NH. Health practitioners are following for more information.


Education

Happy summer to students!


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update on 6/27/22 reports zero COVID cases among staff and residents. The nursing home continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are two staff out active COVID cases. Agency is considering how and when to open offices to the public. A long planned TCCAP mobile clinic will debut at Moose Festival in Colebrook and the Lancaster Fair later this summer. Health services and TCCAP program support services will be provided. The mobile clinic is wheelchair accessible and may be available for other health clinics and organizations as needed.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: The department is preparing for the 4th of July celebration. Not expecting any major COVID issues. Business as usual.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The DHHS contract for homebound vaccination support has come to an end, as well as the vaccination clinic contracts. The PHN will continue to provide support to provider offices as requested. The ‘Boost Into Summer’ fun event for pediatric vaccination was held in mid-June and was a successful event with 22 vaccines administered. The PHN is distributing 2400 COVID home test kits in the region to community members. North Country Health Consortium will continue as the contracted administrative home for the Public Health Network. The regional coordinating committee met 6/13/22 and sent out information regarding public health emergency preparedness, as well as results of COVID response efforts. Monkeypox is on the radar of public health professionals since the first case in NH was announced this week. The Health Consortium, WMCC, and SAU 36 partners are hosting a health careers camp for students entering 7 - 9th grade during July 11 - 14. There are a few spots still open

  • Congressional Delegation: CDC recommends the approved COVID-19 vaccination for 6 month - 5 year olds. Brian Bresnahan is retiring soon - thanks to Brian for his work. No additional updates at this time.

6/9/2022: Doing OK

Our work today is dedicated to the employers in our community that have accommodated the needs of the workforce and provided essential services in times of need.

The uptick in COVID cases a couple of weeks ago thankfully subsided and did not result in the increase of cases that was of concern to the local hospitals and health care system. COVID continues to circulate and home test kits, as well as testing at CCFHS and AVH, are readily available to inform community members with symptoms or after exposure. Coos County rate is listed as low however, individuals may want to consider wearing a mask indoors as an added prevention strategy when community transmission rates increase. Vaccination and up to date boosters remain the best defense against serious illness from COVID-19 and help to reduce impacts at a community-level.


Households can order a third round of 8 free home COVID testing kits at https://www.covid.gov/tests. The next meeting of the AV COVID group is scheduled for three weeks on June 30, 2022.

***

NH announced 291 reported cases on June 8, 2022. There were an average of 335 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (June 2 to June 8). This is a 22% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. At the last AV COVID meeting three weeks ago there were 683 reported cases on May 19, 2022. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare

Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and the ER is busy with normal activity. The COVID uptick a couple of weeks ago stabilized quickly and a dramatic increase was not seen. One to 2 COVID patients are seen daily with mild and treatable illness. Oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies treatments were provided as needed. Treatment prevalence follows community transmission rates and has currently dropped off. There have been a couple of patients hospitalized for COVID illness over the past couple of months. Testing remains low with an additional 12 - 15 per day during the uptick. Lancaster’s Weeks Medical Center is seeing more testing. Two weeks ago was the peak of 9 employees out with COVID and today no staff were out. Supply chain shortages have eased with nothing far out of the norm. Baby formula is available to meet hospital needs.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting, CCFHS conducted 149 tests with 26 positive cases. This includes 25 tests this week with only 4 positive results, indicating a decrease from three weeks ago. Vaccine was administered to 79 individuals, with 3 new primary series doses, the remaining as boosters. Testing and respiratory clinic appointments are available Monday - Friday for adults and children. Oral antivirals are available through the test to treat programs and qualifying patients are offered medication when testing positive. Vaccines for 6 month to 4 year old is pre-ordered awaiting approval and delivery which is expected soon. Three CCFHS staff are out with active COVID and 1 with suspected symptoms. Employees are masking with increased precaution around patients and waiting rooms are available for patients when needed. The office will begin screening for monkey pox to allow providers to take precautions if treating patients with suspected cases. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Update from NH: The uptick in COVID cases in our region did not result in a major increase of cases which was a potential concern. Everyone is grateful for the downturn and hoping for a quiet summer to prepare for expected increases in the fall and winter seasons. Providers are watching other parts of the country for increases and keeping an eye on variants from around the globe. Waning immunity and boosters remains a focus with an effort to continue encouraging eligible booster uptake this summer. Childhood vaccination rates remain low and efforts are being made to get the message out that vaccine is available and provides protection against serious illness. CCFHS has observed an uptick in strep last week into this week.

Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: There are a few staff and students out with positive COVID. After an uptick in cases a couple of weeks ago the numbers have declined. Graduation is Friday June 10, 2022. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are currently a couple of staff and 2 or 3 students out with COVID. The small uptick in cases from a couple weeks ago has declined. Graduation is Friday June 10, 2022, followed by one last week of school. Activities have resumed making it as normal as possible for students over the past few months. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: A successful commencement was held a few weeks ago. Summer time is slower with most students in remote or hybrid programs. The onsite summer welding program kicked off. There are a few COVID cases but overall cases remain low. WMCC continues to open up with available meeting space and services as a resource to the community.

Congrats to the graduates and families!

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update on 6/7/22 states that there is one new employee with COVID and no direct resident exposure. There are currently two active employee cases and no active resident cases at this time. All staff who are not up to date with COVID boosters are being tested twice weekly. Numbers are down from 11 active COVID cases among staff on 5/19/22. The nursing home continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No additional update this call.

  • Gorham EMS: There is an increase in calls this week, not COVID related. A couple of town employees are returning after illness. No services were interrupted.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

  • City of Berlin: City Hall continues to get calls for information on where to get COVID booster shots and test kits. The Public Health Network offered to provide a supply of available test kits. There is a small uptick of employees currently experiencing COVID.

  • Town of Gorham: No additional update on this call.

  • Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce: No update on this call.

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN is partnering on a fun pediatric vaccine clinic ‘Boost into summer’ event on June 18th in Franconia. There are 2400 COVID home test kits available to be distributed in the region to community members. North Country Health Consortium will continue as the contracted administrative home for the Public Health Network. The regional coordinating committee is meeting Monday 6/13/22 and invites all public health stakeholders to participate in public health emergency preparedness, as well as sharing results of COVID response efforts. COVID Community Health Workers are available to help provide COVID-related support to individuals and families in need of support. Contact Community Health Workers at the Public Health Network at 603-259-4369 or send an email to: COVIDsupport@nchcnh.org.

  • Congressional Delegation: CCFHS has received a couple of visits from members of the delegation recently and the organization is appreciative of the support. No additional updates on this call.


“As long as the hospitals are doing ok, then we’re doing ok.”

5/19/2022: Watchful Eye

Our work today is dedicated to those who have passed away from COVID-19 and to their families and friends who grieve their loss. The U.S. has surpassed 1M who have died. In NH, 2515 have died and 113 in Coos County. We keep them in mind today.


Things are different than three weeks ago. COVID cases are rising in NH and the region, including Coos County, but data reporting is lagging behind. Anecdotally people are observing an uptick in cases around them in workplaces, schools, and among friends. A reminder that a COVID positive home test kit is a positive, no need to validate with a second hospital test. Individuals may consider wearing a mask indoors as an added COVID-19 prevention strategy based on the majority of the Northeast with increasing community transmission at medium and high levels. Vaccination and up to date boosters remain the best defense against serious illness from COVID-19 and help to reduce impacts at a community-level.


Households can order a third round of 8 free home COVID testing kits at https://www.covid.gov/tests. The next meeting of the AV COVID group is scheduled for three weeks on June 9, 2022.

***

NH announced 683 reported cases on May 19, 2022. There were an average of 639 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (April 22 to April 28). This is a 17% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. At the last AV COVID meeting three weeks ago there were 378 reported cases on April 28, 2022. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: Hospital is stable, though there are signs that COVID is picking back up. ED is seeing COVID activity increase with more monoclonal antibody treatments provided. This week had 8 or 9 staff out with active COVID, up from prior weeks with 1 or 2 out. Testing is increasing though AVH reminds patients that a positive on a home test kit does not need validation from another test at the hospital. If positive, recuperate at home unless additional medical intervention is needed. There was one COVID inpatient this week, 2 at Weeks Medical Center. COVID inpatients are typically those with post-COVID pneumonia or having difficulty fully recuperating. Don’t wait to get medical intervention if needed. Southern NH hospitals are reporting an increased need for high flow oxygen which AVH has not needed to use for the past few months. COVID cases are increasing in southern NH and MA hospitals, a potential early indicator of trends ahead. Hospitals are put under pressure when COVID patients increase but also when infections increase among staff at all levels. AVH has a watchful eye on trends in southern areas of the state and region where trends may be early indicators of what’s to come.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Since the last meeting three weeks ago, CCFHS conducted 99 tests with 24 positive cases, an increase from the previous three weeks. Vaccine was administered to 91 individuals, with 2 new doses, 16 second doses, and remaining as boosters. CCFHS offered an outreach vaccine clinic to Berlin Housing Authority residents. A resupply of oral antiviral treatment was received and prescriptions to Walmart covered the gap in availability. Acute respiratory visits and COVID tests, including rapid PCR tests, are offered daily for both adults and children at the Page Hill location. The respiratory trailer was moved from Pleasant Street to accommodate the building expansion project starting soon. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for appointments at both CCFHS locations. CCFHS will offer Pfizer booster shots to 5-11 year olds when shipment is received. Two CCFHS staff are out with active COVID. Operations are in “Green” zone with staff and patients required to mask in patient treatment areas and waiting rooms. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Update from NH: Thursday’s statewide hospital call shared that there are 117 active COVID inpatients, reaching a total of 170 when recovering COVID patients are included. Steady numbers to manage but numbers are increasing in southern NH and MA. In more populated regions of the state, currently 20% of ED visits are related to COVID. 1 in 5 ED visits for a single disease is significant. Changes to the state’s data collection and reporting, including the prevalence of unreported positives from home testing kits, have made it difficult to know the volume of infection. NH DHHS is releasing data once per week and CDC county maps have a data delay. Coos County is currency the only NH county at Low Green but likely has already moved into Medium category. A request to the state for more data will be made. Waste water testing may be a future possibility as an early warning indicator.

CDC Director suggested that people reconsider masking indoors in areas of high community transmission, which includes most of the Northeast. Health providers are anticipating news of the 6 months - 5 year vaccine over the summer. The long range forecast for COVID may include an uptick again in the fall and winter though it is hard to predict.

“Communication with one another continues to be important as we’re relying on anecdotal reports and lack important data.”


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: There is an observable uptick in COVID cases in the past week or two. Last week there were 12 staff out due to COVID and this week has improved with 5 cases. There are 20 students out with active COVID district wide. The district will wrap up the year with regularly scheduled activities and will proceed with COVID precautions as possible under current school guidelines. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are currently 0 staff and students with active COVID in the district. An uptick in cases has not been observed from the 1 to 2 weekly cases over the past month or so. Students and teachers will see the school year out under current school COVID guidelines and summer will be a time to reevaluate depending on COVID conditions. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: There are no reported COVID cases among staff and students. A successful in person graduation ceremony was held outdoors this past weekend.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Emailed update on 5/19/22 states there are 11 employees with active COVID-19 infection and no resident cases. All employees and residents will test twice next week. Free COVID home test kits continue to be available for guests who would like to test prior to visiting. People continue to report "I thought it was just a cold " or "I thought it was my allergy symptoms I get every Spring" only to find they are positive for COVID-19. It is important to keep in mind that for some people, COVID-19 symptoms are very subtle or none at all. For others, especially those in high-risk groups, symptoms can be very severe and may lead to death. We are able to reduce our risk for serious illness by keeping up to date with recommended vaccines. The nursing home continues with all previously reported COVID-19 infection control and prevention measures.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.

Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: Five city employees tested positive earlier this week. Department operations are stable.

  • Gorham EMS: Department has conducted a few tests, an increase from prior months. No employees currently out due to COVID.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: Stable operations, currently no staff or residents COVID positive.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: No update on this call.

  • Congressional Delegation: No update on this call.


“Stable, but with a watchful eye. There is trepidation going into summer months.”

4/28/2022: Gathering

The COVID front in the Androscoggin Valley community remains quiet, however there are rising cases elsewhere in NH. Health officials remind us that reported COVID cases continue to be fewer than actual cases given access to home testing kits. In person gatherings and annual meetings resume after many organizations went without for the past two years. Individuals are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for layered COVID-19 prevention strategies according to current community level. Coos County is considered low with individuals wearing a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk, except when required in healthcare settings. Schools are out on April vacation prompting a small group attendance for the regular COVID check in meeting. The next meeting is planned three weeks out.


***

NH announced 378 reported cases on April 28, 2022. There were an average of 354 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (April 22 to April 28). This is a 24% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: AVH has not had any COVID-19 or flu in patients for the past several days. One COVID patient in the ED was discharged yesterday. Testing continues Monday Wednesday Friday, used mainly for pre-op procedures, including 6 on Wednesday. Emergency department volume is steady to light with 13 patients yesterday, down from the usual 25 – 30 patients per day. Surgical services are steady. The café and gift shop are open to visitors and volunteer programs continue to grow. Staffing is steady with a few staff out with COVID. Hospital is keeping an eye on COVID levels throughout the state.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Over the past three weeks since last meeting there have been 8 positive COVID results out of 80 tests performed. COVID tests are offered daily alongside respiratory trailer visits. Home test kids are available to patients. Acute respiratory visits are offered daily at the trailer site for both adults and children. On May 16th trailer services will be moved to Page Hill site in preparation for Pleasant Street site expansion project. COVID oral antiviral treatment is available. Positive cases of influenza are sporadic and decreasing at this time. A weekend COVID vaccine booster clinic was held with 74 people attended. Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available for appointments at both CCFHS locations. CCFHS staff will visit St. Regis housing next week to offer booster vaccines and additional visits are planned for Housing Authority sites in May. CCFHS operations are in “Green” zone with staff and patients required to mask in patient treatment areas and waiting rooms. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Update from NH: The NH Hospital Association reported 500 new COVID cases yesterday April 28th, indicating a rise in the state. There are different data collection systems that may include a lag in reporting time. Though cases are not currently rising in Coos County, trends tend to lag behind what is happening elsewhere in NH.


Education


Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: All is good. No additional updates.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.

Municipal and Local Business

Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: No update on this call.

  • Congressional Delegation: No additional update. Staff members are looking forward to joining upcoming community events.

4/7/2022: Inching Back Toward Normal

Our work today is dedicated to the medical professionals who are still processing the traumatic effects of the pandemic, including the impact of caring for those that they unfortunately could not save.


***

The community is optimistic, as COVID cases continue to remain low and a sense of “normalcy” is returning. Flu cases, however, are emerging at much higher rates than previous years. Healthcare professionals continue to monitor both COVID and Flu trends. The AV COVID workgroup will meet again in three weeks to continue to check in and coordinate COVID response and information in Androscoggin Valley.


Free COVID tests are available again from the federal government (more info). Each household is eligible for two orders of tests (8 tests total) thus far. Order here for the second round of tests delivered to you home from USPS: https://www.covidtests.gov/

***

The State of New Hampshire’s COVID Dashboard is currently unavailable. However, the New York Times reported that there have been an average of 126 cases per day in New Hampshire in the last week. This represents a 5 percent INCREASE from the average two weeks ago.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: AVH currently does not have any COVID-19 patients and has not had any for the past couple of weeks. COVID cases appear to have plateaued and they are not really seeing COVID cases in the emergency room. However, they have been seeing a stark increase in Flu patients, including 40 patients yesterday. A GI bug has been circulating as well. A couple of staff members have been out due to COVID, but operations are otherwise stable. The visitor policy has been adjusted overall, including to allow for visitors in the ER and in rooms with COVID patients (though discretion is allowed).

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: CCFHS has conducted 116 COVID tests in the last 2 weeks, yielding only 6 positive results. However, they have seen 76 positive Flu results in the past 2 weeks. Those include only the number of patients who have tested positive and do not include those with a presumptive diagnosis, which is more the norm for the Flu. This number of cases is much higher than a typical year, when they may only see 15 cases for the whole season. Flu A is what has been seen in the cases mostly. The State has since asked for specimens for further testing.

In terms of COVID vaccination efforts, 14 total vaccinations have been administered in the last two weeks. CCFHS will be hosting a large COVID vaccine clinic on Sunday at their Page Hill site at AVH, with 104 patients scheduled so far. It will take place from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm and the Pfizer presentation will be offered. Appointments are preferred. Future clinics are likely to be scheduled as well. CCFHS is committed to helping those who are homebound and may need assistance with vaccination. Anyone interested in this support can contact their offices. A “Fresh Start” campaign will be launched soon to help encourage the community to reinstitute healthy practices, including 3 areas of focus: 1) encouraging booster vaccines; 2) encouraging preventative care; and 3) establishing healthy habits, including diet, exercise, and alcohol consumption. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: COVID cases have remained relatively low and there are currently only 2 COVID cases in the school district (1 staff member and 1 student). There are a few Flu cases as well. Berlin Public Schools and SAU 20 are grateful to Coos County Family Health for their generous donations of school supplies for the kids and for the nurses offices. They are thankful for the feeling of normalcy at the current moment. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are currently only 2 COVID cases in the schools. 0-3 cases have been the norm over the past month, which is a very positive trend. They have been seeing a large amount of Flu cases, but overall, SAU 20 is grateful for the “return to normal.” Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: The college is preparing for commencement. In-person meetings have been more frequent recently. Everyone is feeling a sense of optimism in this sense. The college will be offering opportunities in the future for groups to lease space, especially for those groups that align with their educational mission. They are hoping to further open to the public in the summer and fall.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: There are currently zero resident COVID cases, but a couple of staff cases. All previously reported COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures are being followed.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No employees are out with COVID, though staff are experiencing other illnesses out in the community, such as flu. The meal site in Berlin is opening up for meals and socialization for seniors - though at a limited capacity to allow for social distancing. They have received notification from FTA that they do not have plans to extend their mask policy for public transit. Therefore, there might not be a requirement for passengers or drivers to wear masks in the future. Tri-County CAP is working with the New Hampshire Emergency Rental Assistance program to support those in the community who may be struggling with paying rent. For those who are eligible, applications can be filled out for up to 18 months of rental assistance. Anyone who is struggling can contact their offices for support in processing an application.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No update on this call.

  • Gorham EMS: Operations are stable. Only a couple of employees are out currently (due to the Flu).

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: There are no COVID cases among staff or residents, though a couple of people are experiencing Flu-like symptoms.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: Cases seem to have plateaued overall. FEMA funds have been extended through June to allow for more clinics. However, testing sites and fixed sites have been closed due to decreased demand. There may be more support from the state to support vaccination efforts for homebound people.

  • Congressional Delegation: No major updates on this call.

“The word at the moment is, ‘optimism,’ and inching back toward normal is the theme.”

3/24/2022: Optimism right now

Our work today is dedicated to Lynn Beede, Administrator of Coos County Nursing Home in Berlin. She has done incredible work keeping her residents safe and regularly informing the community with updates on COVID-19.

***

While COVID trends continue to move in the right direction, other illnesses such as flu and strep are prevalent in the community. Hand hygiene and staying home when sick is always important, even when COVID is not at the forefront. Everything points to stable, lowered COVID trends in the local community. Healthcare professionals are watching COVID trends in other countries and waiting for more data on any COVID vaccination updates. The AV COVID workgroup will meet again in two weeks to continue to check in and coordinate COVID response and information in Androscoggin Valley.


Free COVID tests are available again from the federal government (more info). Each household is eligible for two orders of tests (8 tests total) thus far. Order here for the second round of tests delivered to you home from USPS: https://www.covidtests.gov/

***

NH announced 140 reported cases on March 23, 2022. There were an average of 122 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (March 17 to March 23). This is a 5% INCREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is hosting a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. Open through March, Monday through Friday, 12 pm - 7 pm and Saturday, 12 pm - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and fairly busy with regular activity, not COVID-related. There has been 1 COVID inpatient in the last month, two employees currently out with COVID. Flu is circulating in the community. AVH updated its visitation policy to one visitor per patient, two at the Valley Birthplace, though clinical discretion is allowed. NCH hospitals have slightly different visitation policies currently, so look into details before making arrangements. Mandatory masking continues as part of the federal guidelines for healthcare settings.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: The COVID front is looking good with only 2 positive cases this week. One patient was treated with antiviral medication which is available. COVID vaccine is available at CCFHS by appointment with no scheduled clinics currently. Testing clinics have concluded but testing is available by appointment at the respiratory trailer. Rapid PCR tests are available for treatment, travel, or school but patients should look into insurance coverage with that testing request. The flu is very prevalent in the community with 25 cases diagnosed this week, with over 20 as pediatric cases. This is compared to an average year with 15 cases. Everyone is encouraged to continue with good prevention measures and hygiene since other illnesses are circulating. CCHFS is utilizing a green, yellow, red phase approach to COVID management. Monday will begin in green phases with waiting room capacity back to normal levels and vaccinated staff do not need to wear masks in areas where patients do not go. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Other COVID-19 Updates in AV / NH: Health professionals continue to watch consideration of additional COVID boosters. Nothing is approved yet as data is being gathered. Vaccination for youngest children 6 months - 5 years will come under FDA/CDC review again with additional data. Trends in Europe and China are being watched as another Omicron variant drives new infections. There is no clear indication of another imminent surge and everyone is grateful for the current respite. Public messaging continues to encourage vaccination, take a fresh start to healthy habits, and resume patterns of preventative health care that may have been delayed.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: Schools remain in the green phase and continue to have no COVID cases. There is a higher absence rate among students due to the flu, however. Finally there is a sense of normalcy with routine, which everyone is enjoying. Staff is busy planning traditional spring and year-end activities such as field trips, awards ceremonies, open houses, concerts and graduation. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Schools continue in the green phase. There has been a maximum of 1 COVID case at any time. Other illnesses such as flu, strep, and other are creating a higher than normal level of absences, not COVID-related. Everyone is reminded of illness precautions even as COVID becomes less of a concern. Administrators continue to watch COVID numbers and trends. It is good to see students' faces at this time. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: The college is planning for in person commencement and is coordinating with other higher education partners to similarly operate as close to normal as possible.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: As of 3/23/22 there are currently zero residents with COVID-19 and one new employee positive with COVID for a total of two employees out. Residents were offered testing and active case numbers are posted at the main entrance. All previously reported COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures are being followed.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No employees are out with COVID, though staff are experiencing other illnesses out in the community, such as flu. The agency continues to be appointment-only with offices closed to the public until plans are updated.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: The department is stable with full staffing.

  • Gorham EMS: The department is stable with full staffing. No employees have been out or testing needed in the past two months. Home test kits are available.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN continues to coordinate its contracts with the state. As requests for vaccination continue to slow, the PHN has shifted its focus to partnering with local healthcare organizations to provide vaccination support in the primary healthcare settings. There is opportunity to pivot back to other public health work, including working with public health partners and emergency preparedness. The past 18 months also provides a learning opportunity to apply to future coordinated public health responses.

  • Congressional Delegation: Telehealth flexibility is extended for Medicaid and Medicare programs with detailed information to be circulated. Congressional directed spending of 1.5M will support building renovations to expand CCHFS dental clinic in Berlin to reach twice the number of people with dental health. Congress continues to be focused on Ukraine, including a bipartisan group urging the government to create a refugee program for Ukrainian people affected by the war.


“Optimism right now.”

3/10/22: Fresh Start

Our work today is dedicated to the people of Ukraine.

***

What a difference a couple weeks can make! COVID trends continue to move in the right direction. Data shows improving numbers over several weeks in a row. There is opportunity for a FRESH START for people. As COVID mitigations ease and recovery from a long active pandemic time may come into focus to address preventative care, mental health, substance use, and more. AV COVID group will meet again in two weeks to continue to check in and coordinate COVID response and information in Androscoggin Valley.

“Tomorrow will be a big day for us to see if Coos County drops from moderate range into the low range on the CDC community transmission maps. Based on the rate of case volume, transmission, severity, and ED visits, it’s likely to happen. It’s dropped off dramatically. What a difference a couple weeks can make.”


Free COVID tests are available again from the federal government (more info). Each household is eligible for two orders of tests (8 tests total) thus far. Order here for the second round of tests delivered to you home from USPS: https://www.covidtests.gov/

***

NH announced 110 reported cases on February 24, 2022. There were an average of 120 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (March 4 to March 10). This is a 44% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is hosting a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. Open through March, Monday through Friday, 12 pm - 7 pm and Saturday, 12 pm - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: The hospital is stable and very busy. It has been three weeks with no COVID inpatients admitted. Testing has dropped off drastically and will now be offered every Monday and Friday. No staff are out due to COVID, down from a peak of 10 a few weeks ago. Hospital activity and operations are back to normal expected levels, with this week a little busy. AVH and NCH system will be updating its visitor policy soon to welcome back visitors safely into their important role in patient care. AVH will release dates and details soon. Mandatory masking will continue as part of the federal guidelines for healthcare settings.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: There has been little COVID activity over the past two weeks. Thursday’s testing clinic had zero attendance and clinics in the past two weeks were in the single digits. This week there were 3 positive COVID results, two last week, for a total of 5 over two weeks. No antiviral medication was given out. More testing is occurring at home than at testing sites, and it is likely that many positive test results go unreported. Starting 3/21/22 COVID testing will move to the respiratory trailer only to adjust to the decrease in demand. Demand for vaccines remains slow with 5 this week and 8 last week. A new rapid PCR test will give results in 30 minutes and will be used in certain circumstances at CCFHS. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule testing and vaccinations.

  • Other COVID-19 Updates in AV / NH: Pediatric teams are not seeing any signs of post-school vacation COVID uptick, though it may be a little early. Over the past two weeks, the statewide hospital call dropped steadily from 7 days per week to 5, then 3, and now ended, however ad hoc communication is available to move patients around as needed. Coos County’s daily new cases is under 10 per 100,000, test positivity rate is 2.5%, infection rate is .57. The CDC community transmission map will likely show Coos County moving from moderate to low range very soon. However Coos County remains more vulnerable to new variants due to low vaccination rate and density of large facilities. The hospital association is speaking up on proposed state legislation related to COVID and patient care in healthcare settings.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: There are zero cases reported in the schools, a happy first since sometime last summer. Schools are in ‘green phase’ and are following state guidance that masks remain optional only if people choose to use them. Schools reflect on the importance of plans, even for things unimaginable, like more than two years ago when a pandemic felt improbable. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There is one COVID case currently after a few weeks without any cases. Small fluctuations are expected at this time. Schools are in ‘green phase’ with students without masks - a welcome sight for students and schools. COVID response phases of green, yellow, red remain in the plans but schools are wondering what mitigation options are available and effective if there is a surge and mandated masking continues not to be allowed. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: All is good at the college and mask-optional guidance is in effect.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: The department is stable and full staff are working.

  • Gorham EMS: The department is stable and full staff are working. Additional home tests are available to anyone who needs them. Contact the department.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: Requests for vaccination clinics continues to slow. The PHN is shifting its focus to partnering with local healthcare organizations to provide any vaccination support in the primary healthcare settings. The PHN is contracted with the state to continue supporting vaccination efforts through June. The Public Health Advisory Council is hosting its quarterly meeting this month to continue informing the public health work in the region, including preparing for future public health emergencies and response.

  • Congressional Delegation: Members of the congressional delegation continue to attend to stay informed and help support as possible. The budget process continues in Washington and the congressional directed spending program will be accepting applications soon. More information to come.


“How will this go down in history? How will we remember this time? How will it be written?”

2/24/2022: How far we’ve come

Our work today is dedicated to people across the world from us - the Ukrainians who are facing conflict brought to their country.

***

The NH Governor’s Office announced Wednesday that the state is no longer recommending people wear face masks indoors in buildings and schools as the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are declining. Individuals may choose to wear masks but schools are required to end mask mandates, as many are either doing or in process of doing. Federal rules still require people to wear face masks on public transportation, school buses, hospitals and other healthcare settings. Trends continue to look good however the rate is plateauing a bit and still remains high. Many are modifying precautions but individuals can still be mindful and cautious as we don’t want to see an uptick again. Coos County vaccination rates remain lower than surrounding areas.

***

NH announced 691 reported cases on February 24, 2022. There were an average of 330 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (February 18 to February 24). This is a 1% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is now leading a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: No COVID patients were admitted, though a few patients moved through the ER. No monoclonal antibodies were given all week. Testing has dropped off drastically with 1 test administered on Thursday. The hospital is adapting its visitation policy soon and will inform the community. Masking policy will likely continue and more information from CDC guidance will be considered. AVH has missed its visitors!

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: This week was quiet on the COVID front. week’s testing clinics showed marked decrease in COVID numbers. A total of 4 positive COVID cases were reported across all testing clinics. One staff member is out with potential COVID symptoms. Testing volume is down with only 4 tests on Thursday and no positives. COVID anti-viral treatments (Paxlovid and ‘Merck antiviral’) are an effective medication to help keep people out of the hospital if they are sick with COVID-19. There were no doses requested this week and demand appears low.

Pediatric Vaccine Clinic Ages 5-11 on Thursday, March 3rd at CCFHS Pleasant Street Office in Berlin. By Appointment.

Testing clinics are Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Beginning March 1, 2022, vaccines will only be available via individual office appointments. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule.

  • Other COVID-19 Updates in AV / NH: A slight uptick in COVID inpatients was reported across the state during the statewide hospital call on Thursday. There are a total of 231 occupied beds (total, not just COVID), an uptick of a half dozen patients over the previous day. Emergency departments are seeing a slight increase in volume. Staff are back to work with some hospitals reporting 0 staff out due to COVID. The state is in a position to absorb current patient volume. The statewide group may be slowing the frequency of their calls soon. A large shipment of N95 masks was provided to healthcare facilities. The masks unfortunately contain latex and cannot be used in healthcare settings due to allergies. Next steps are being considered.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: No additional update. SAU 3 is in communication with SAU 20 and WMCC regarding the effect of the Governor’s mask policy announcement. SAU 3 will be in ‘green phase’ as well. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are currently 0 COVID cases among staff and students. Though a plan was in place to continue ‘yellow phase’ and ‘green phase’ expected in March, the Governor’s announcement to end mask requirements in school changed the plan. SAU 20 will comply with the DOE requirements and no masks will be required, essentially in ‘green phase’. Masks are still required on school buses. The school will continue to follow data and phases guidelines are still a reference, however the Governor’s announcement changes use of those plans. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: The Governor’s end to school mask requirements will go into effect on Monday, however other tools remain, including social distancing and small grouped classes. Leadership will be considering when to open back up to the public as things continue to move in the right direction.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: CCNH shared the following information in its COVID update on 2/21/22. From previous PCR testing there was one new resident and one new employee with positive results. There are currently five residents and one employee with active COVID-19 and no new residents or employees from the most recent rapid testing. One floor has cleared from outbreak status while another remains. Current guidance requires 14 days with no new residents or staff testing positive for COVID to be cleared of outbreak status. All COVID infection prevention and control measures continue.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: For the first time in a very long time, no employees of the 230 TCCAP staff are out with COVID. Though NH has changed its mask mandate, TCCAP transportation continues to require masks due to federal funding and organizational policy. The organization review reopening its offices to the public soon.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No cases, full staff working, department is stable.

  • Gorham EMS: No cases, full staff working, department is stable.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: There is currently one COVID positive resident. The facility has reduced the mask mandate to optional for staff and residents. The facility will continue following data trends and guidance on necessary prevention measures.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN will continue its work offering vaccine clinics and its COVID response role. There is a decrease in partners requesting clinics as well as a slowing in vaccine uptake. The potential testing partner stepped away due to decrease in need. The PHN will host a regional emergency preparedness effort soon.

  • Congressional Delegation: No additional update.


“Remember how far we’ve come in a year. At this time last year we had limited vaccines. We now have a lot of tools to manage ongoing COVID with vaccines, masks, social distancing and other precautions.”

2/17/2022: Elasticity is the plan

Our work today is dedicated to the teachers who have supported their students every day through two years of this pandemic.

***

COVID numbers continue improving though community transmission is still considered high. Weighing healthcare and public health input, schools are moving from masking policies of ‘red phase’ to ‘yellow phase’ on Feb. 21st, with plans for eventual ‘green phase’ in mid-March, as long as numbers continue declining at this rate. Discussions continue on how an elastic approach to moving towards or away from levels of COVID mitigation policies will be important in this ongoing, long-term pandemic. Vaccination across the board remains one of the most powerful tools.

***

NH announced 86 new reported cases on February 17, 2022. There were an average of 329 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (February 11 to February 17). This is a 55% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is now leading a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: COVID trends continue to improve this week. No COVID patients were admitted though a few patients moved through the ER. No monoclonal antibodies were given all week. Testing has dropped off drastically with 3 tests administered on Wednesday, down from over 100 from only a few weeks ago. The reduced testing numbers are likely also due to increased home testing. Only three staff are out with COVID down from 5 earlier this week and a peak of 10 last week. Surgical volume is caught up and there is no significant backlog for procedures.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: This week’s testing clinics showed marked decrease in COVID numbers. A total of 5 COVID cases were reported across all testing, down from last week of 10. One staff member is out. Testing volume is down with 10 tests over the two days of testing clinics. Free testing kits are given out to patients as needed. COVID anti-viral treatments (Paxlovid and ‘Merck antiviral’) are available as needed.

Pediatric Vaccine Clinic Ages 5-11 on Thursday, March 3rd at CCFHS Pleasant Street Office in Berlin. By Appointment.

Testing clinics are Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Vaccine clinics are Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 11:30 am. Beginning March 1, 2022, vaccines will be available via individual office appointments. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule.

  • Other COVID-19 Updates in AV / NH: A large shipment of N95 masks in two sizes are going to be made available to Androscoggin Valley. A process and distribution plan is being considered. COVID is likely going to have a manageable long term presence.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: The number of COVID cases continues to decline across the school system with 4 students and two staff out. Staffing is still quite challenging due to absences for other illnesses and reasons. School officials are watching COVID data and listening to the needs of students and families. A shift down to ‘yellow phase’ is announced for Monday 2/21/22. School officials continue to assess policies in conjunction with health officials. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: The number of COVID cases continues to decline across the SAU. There are currently four total active COVID cases. A shift down to ‘yellow phase’ is announced for Monday 2/21/22. School administrators will continue reviewing data to inform decisions on when to move to different colored-COVID phase: ‘yellow phase’ (recommended masking when unable to distance), followed by an anticipated mid-March ‘green phase’ (masking not required). Community transmission will need to continue declining to reach a relaxed ‘green phase’. Schools will need to maintain an elastic approach for moving between phases if COVID cases rise. Masks are one tool in the toolbox for addressing COVID, other measures continue to support mitigation, including vaccination, vigilance in staying home if sick, testing, ventilation, and small group pods. Several SAU20 School Board members joined the call to learn more about the COVID Community Group’s conversations. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: Trends continue in a promising direction and current reported COVID case count is extremely low. WMCC will be following CDC’s anticipated new recommendations, as well as other data points such as local hospitalization rates and input from this group, to inform its ongoing COVID mitigation policies.


School leaders initiated a continued discussion on when to move to next phase COVID policies. Masking remains the focus of the conversation given the prominent role it has in the daily lives of students, families, teachers, and school community. Data and input being gathered point to moving to ‘yellow phase’ Feb. 21, followed by ‘green phase’ in mid-March as long as numbers continue a downward trend. Elasticity - the concept of moving between phases easily - as needed is on everyone’s mind. Communication with medical and school partners will be key to ongoing approaches.


“It’s important that we move in both directions on this. We’re going to have to jump at some point and we think the data is there.”


Health officials continue to point out that transmission rates locally are still high, though coming down. The pressure on the hospital system had relaxed considerably. Masking will continue in healthcare settings for the foreseeable future. Vaccination rates are low compared to the rest of the region and vaccination among school aged children is low. The public puts trust into the public health decisions and there’s a delicate balance there.


Masking is just one of the tools in mitigating spread. Vaccination and use of testing are very important, as is staying home with symptoms, distancing, ventilation, small group pods, and other options that can help reduce community transmission.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: This week (2/14/22) CCNH shared the following information in its COVID update. One resident with active COVID-19 passed away over the weekend - CCNH sends their heartfelt condolences to their loved ones. As of Monday 2/14/22 there were 14 residents with active COVID-19 cases. Four staff have active COVID-19 and those well enough to work are assigned to the COVID-19 isolation unit. Over the weekend eight employees severed employment with CCNH due to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services COVID0-19 vaccine mandate. Some were long-term employees who dedicated long careers to residents of CCNH and other licensed staff provided frontline care for residents. All COVID infection prevention and control measures continue.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: The organization received a large, multi-year CDC grant to support work with social services and healthcare partners to address COVID-19 needs in rural communities.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: No cases, full staff, department is stable.

  • Gorham EMS: No employees are positive and haven’t had to test this month.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: Moving forward with normal operations with all staff and only one COVID case. Administrators are considering a change to mask protocols as numbers continue to decline.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN is hosting several upcoming vaccination clinics with local partners including at Lancaster Town Hall (Feb. 18th), and Wildcat Mountain for employees and public, as available (Feb. 25th). All clinics will offer primary vaccination series and boosters of all available vaccination presentations (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) for anyone 5+ years old. The PHN is available to host requested vaccine clinics around the region. As vaccines are now readily available to community members, the PHN may pivot to focus on other public health measures such as informational campaigns about vaccines.

  • Congressional Delegation: Staff are appreciative of the thoughtful discussion by local leaders about how to make decisions about relaxing COVID mitigation measures as numbers continue to decline. Offices of some delegation members will be reopening soon. No additional updates.


“I thank this group for the work you’ve done. I think the schools have made good decisions. We’re hearing the need from people and the numbers warrant beginning a yellow phase. Keep measures going and masks can always go back on if needed.”

2/10/2022: Today’s decreasing COVID still very high

Our work today is dedicated to the primary care providers in our region who have faced mountainous tasks and are a major part of COVID response.

***

Though improving, today’s COVID numbers are still considered very high and on par with the peaks in the fall. Everyone is eager to move beyond this surge and discussions are underway about when and how we can move into flexible behaviors that meet the current pandemic conditions. Current COVID protocols remain in place and changes will be based on community transmission data. Hopefully numbers will continue to drop and in the next few weeks schools may move from ‘red’ to ‘yellow’. Vaccination across the board is still one of the most important tools. There are signs of encouragement in the current trends and the sun is coming out soon.

***

NH announced 747 new cases on February 10, 2022. There were an average of 725 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (February 4 to February 10). This is a 35% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Get up to date!

Being fully vaccinated means getting up to date and receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is now leading a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: COVID trends continue to improve this week, however NCH issued a reminder about staying vigilant to continue the improving trends. There are between 1 - 2 inpatients being treated for COVID-19, a similar number observed at other area hospitals. Testing has dropped off drastically with 7 tests administered on Wednesday, including 1 rapid test. The reduced testing numbers are likely due to increased home testing, resulting in likely underreporting of positive cases in the community. Two staff are out due to COVID. AVH is still very busy addressing normal winter illness and getting caught up on what COVID delayed over the past month. Seasonal flu is only sporadic around the state so not seeing much flu illness.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: This week’s testing clinics showed continued dropping COVID numbers. Over the past week only 10 positive cases were reported. Testing volume is down with 11 tests on Tuesday (1 rapid positive) and 15 tests on Thursday (1 rapid positive). Testing clinic capacity of 40 had been regularly full several weeks ago. CCFHS urges patients to inform their health care provider if they have a positive COVID test at home. CCFHS provided COVID anti-viral treatments (Paxlovid and ‘Merck antiviral’) to a few patients this week. Staffing is stable and staff shortages have improved drastically from what was experienced a couple weeks ago.


CCFHS, AVH, and public health officials are following the approval process of the pediatric COVID vaccine for the youngest cohort ages 6 months - 4 years. Vaccine approval under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is being reviewed by the FDA and CDC. Vaccine clinics are Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 11:30 am. Testing clinics are Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Beginning March 1, 2022, vaccines will be available via individual office appointments. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 to schedule.

  • COVID-19 Updates in NH: Hospitals around NH are seeing improving numbers for COVID and ICU bed capacity. NH is at 88% occupancy for ICU beds (all illness) which allows for regional patient transport and support if needed. Individual hospital occupancy can fluctuate day to day but now neighboring hospitals are available, unlike a couple weeks ago when NH’s hospital system was at capacity. Inpatients continue to be treated for active COVID and recovered COVID at about 50 / 50 split around the state. The vast majority of hospitalized patients are not vaccinated or are partially vaccinated. There is an increase in death rate which is an expected lagging indicator after the recent COVID surge. Overall hospitalization is going down, however the rate of decrease has slowed this week. Hospital leadership would like to see the numbers drop more quickly.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: Number of COVID cases continues to decline across the school system. Available testing kits will go home with students. Everyone is eager to move from ‘red’ COVID protocols to ‘yellow’ however local clinicians and health officials urge caution, patience, and reliance on the data to make decisions. School officials continue to assess policies in conjunction with health officials. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: The number of COVID cases continues to decline across the SAU. There are currently five total active COVID cases. The SAU received a bulk of testing kits to send home with students which was well received by families. Everyone is eager to move from ‘red’ COVID protocols to ‘yellow’ however local clinicians and health officials urge caution, patience, and reliance on the data to make decisions. School officials continue to assess policies in conjunction with health officials. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: Similar improving trends are seen at WMCC with only a couple of active COVID cases in this fourth week of classes. While mask fatigue is ever present, WMCC continues its mask policy to ensure the best chance at continuing in person education. With several hundred people in the building each day this is the best approach right now. Local data and advising from area health officials will continue to be critical in creating flexible policies going forward.


“Our students are part of the community. In Berlin we have 1100 students, 250 staff, plus all of their families. Our numbers make up a significant part of the community. We have a hand to play in this. We have to do our part.”


The discussion continued on when and how to move into the next phase COVID policies after this current surge. Everyone is experiencing and aware of the COVID fatigue in the community - from students, parents, and healthcare providers who have cared for people in two years of this pandemic. School officials and healthcare leadership are basing decisions on local COVID data. While numbers are improving, “Our local COVID numbers are still higher than they were last fall when we asked municipal leaders to reinstate the mask mandate. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Several metrics are reviewed: Test positivity rates? Community transmission rates?

How well vaccinated is your community?

COVID numbers are improving locally and while everyone is eager for change in mitigation measures - especially masking in schools - decisions will be made weighing community needs and data. Change is on the horizon, the sun is coming out, “We’re in a boat in the storm of the century, there’s no guarantee that another storm isn’t around the corner, but the sun is coming out so let’s get things ready to hang out to dry.”

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: This week (2/8/22) the nursing home shared a summary of all COVID cases during the Omicron surge. A total of 17 resident cases so far, 5 residents have recovered; 12 residents have active COVID-19 infections. A resident who was cleared of isolation has passed away. It has not been determined if this passing was COVID related. CCNH staff sent heartfelt condolences to the resident’s family. Two CCNH staff have active COVID cases, one remains out of work while the other is able to work on the COVID isolation unit. All COVID infection prevention and control measures continue.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: In attendance, no additional update.

  • Gorham EMS: The department remains busy responding to calls and is preparing for February vacation and Wildcat skiers. No employees currently out. Local libraries may have COVID home test kits available soon. More info to come.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: The facility continues to see improving trends with very few active COVID cases among staff and residents. Mask fatigue continues, but masks remain an important tool to mitigating further outbreaks.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: No update on this call.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN is hosting several upcoming vaccination clinics with local partners including this week at Woodsville EMS (Feb. 12th), Lancaster Town Hall (Feb. 18th), and Wildcat Mountain for employees and public, as available (Feb. 25th). All clinics will offer primary vaccination series and boosters of all available vaccination presentations (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen) for anyone 5+ years old. The community-based clinics at local EMS departments have been successful as many residents appreciate being at their local, trusted EMS department. NH DHHS has announced that it will not use the PHNs around the state when vaccination is available to 6 month - 4 years olds, instead relying on primary care providers. The PHN will partner with local providers to offer support needed.

  • Congressional Delegation: Staff are appreciative of the thoughtful discussion by local leaders about COVID mitigation and masking policies at this point in the pandemic, especially in schools. Delegation members continue to advocate for more pediatric mental health resources as many children continue to experience challenges and are not finding available support.


“Our students are part of the community. Our numbers make up a significant part of the community. We have a hand to play in this. We have to do our part.”

2/3/2022: On the downhill slide but a ways to go

Our work today is dedicated to the medical staff at our area correctional facilities and nursing homes.

***

With a downhill slide of COVID numbers, trends are moving in the right direction, however community transmission is still at an extremely high level. Everyone is eager to move beyond this surge and conversations are happening about when and how we can move into behaviors that meet the pandemic’s end. However it’s too soon to move away from COVID protocols and decisions will be based on community transmission data. Hopefully numbers will continue to drop and in the next few weeks schools may move from ‘red’ to ‘yellow’. Vaccination across the board is still one of the most important tools for ending the pandemic. There is a lot of room for improvement given Coos County’s vaccination rates, including boosters and pediatric up to date shots. There are signs of encouragement in the current trends.

***

NH announced 840 new cases on February 3, 2022. There were an average of 1,093 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (January 28 to February 3). This is a 40% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Who needs an additional Covid-19 vaccine or booster?

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare

NCH videos: #StepUpNH and #MaskUpNH


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is now leading a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

***

  • Get up to date! Being fully vaccinated means receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

  • Don’t wait to get a booster shot! Booster shots can help build immune response right away so now is the time if you haven’t received one and protect against the Omicron surge.

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: This week shows continued improving COVID trends. There is one inpatient being treated for COVID-19, a similar number observed at other area hospitals. Testing has dropped off drastically with 8 tests administered on Wednesday, including 3 rapid tests. Only 10 tests scheduled for Friday. The reduced testing numbers are likely due to increased home testing, resulting in likely underreporting of positive cases in the community. Only one staff is out due to COVID, down from a peak of 10 earlier in the week. AVH is still very busy with 24 beds filled in the 25 bed hospital. Activity is due to diverse illnesses, not COVID-related. Overall the hospital is managing well and moving back into normal operations. North Country Healthcare CEO Tom Mee joined other NH hospital Presidents / CEOs in a WMUR article reflecting back two years into the pandemic and what lies ahead.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: This week’s testing clinics showed decreasing COVID trends. Tuesday’s testing clinic of 33 had zero positive COVID cases and Thursday’s testing clinic was not full with two repeat positive results. Dr. Beal’s pediatric testing clinic had 6 positive cases all expected within family units. At the trailer testing site there were only a couple positive cases this week but respiratory visits continue to fill up each day. The decreased COVID numbers will hopefully continue. Vaccine clinics every Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 11:30 am continue but may change soon as uptake is slowing. Testing continues every Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 for appointments.

  • COVID-19 / Vaccine Updates in NH: The statewide hospitals COVID call shared a similar story of decreasing COVID trends at the statewide scale, with the exception of Seacoast area. The number of inpatient active COVID cases is decreasing, however there are still a high number of NH hospital inpatients still recovering from COVID complications. Staff are returning to work. There is an increasing supply of COVID oral antivirals being developed which will be an important tool in future spikes. Overall COVID numbers are coming down and heading in the right direction. It feels like we’re on the downhill slide of this surge.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: Number of COVID cases continues to decline - 1 staff out and 9 students. This is a huge reduction from numbers 2 to 3 weeks ago. Next week will continue with ‘red’ COVID protocols and will assess on a week by week basis to assure the trajectory continues to improve. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: There are significantly fewer COVID cases indicating a continued downward trend. There are currently 5 cases in GMHS, 1 in MVS, and 3 EdFenn Elementary School. Two to three weeks ago there were much higher numbers. SAU 20 will continue with ‘red’ COVID protocols and will assess on a week by week basis to assure the trajectory continues to improve. A snow day is called for Feb. 4th. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: Smooth sailing continues into WMCC’s third week of classes this semester.


“Pandemics end when we stop seeing sharp spikes in numbers and we hit a steady endemic state.”


There was much conversation on how and when to move into next phase behaviors after this current Omicron surge is over. Public health staff and clinicians noted that it’s too early to turn back COVID prevention protocols but hopefully with several more weeks of declining numbers the area will be at a better community transmission level. Schools will be able to consider resuming ‘yellow’ standards after a long time of being in ‘red’. Decisions will continue to be made following the data and guidelines set at the beginning of the school year. Everyone is aware of the fatigue but there is confidence in the Androscoggin Valley community to stay the course and work together to reach better community transmission numbers.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: The nursing home provides multiple updates a week to CCNH residents, family, and friends including the AV COVID-19 Community Group. As of Friday Feb. 4th there are three new residents and two new staff members testing positive today for COVID-19. There are currently thirteen residents with active COVID-19 infection and two staff with active infection. Starting today CCNH has had to ask positive staff to work on the COVID-19 Isolation Unit if they are well enough to work, per CDC guidance. The Isolation Unit is self contained. All group activities and communal dining are on hold until further notice. Residents are able to receive visitors however visitors and residents are made aware of the increased risk of COVID transmission at CCNH and the local community. If you have questions please be in touch with CCNH.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: There are currently two staff out due to COVID-19 and three recently returned. Dental and weatherization staff are struggling with daily n95 mask use and members of the call provided suggestions and resources to assist.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: The department is back to full staffing and emergency response is stable.

  • Gorham EMS: The department is back to full staffing and is busy transporting patients to the hospital - not COVID related. Emergency response is stable.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: COVID cases have improved from previous weeks. There are a handful of staff out due to COVID and a couple of inmates testing positive. One housing unit remains in quarantine. Overall trends are heading in a better direction.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: COVID cases have improved from previous weeks. There are several staff out due to COVID and 6 inmates testing positive, including three on Thursday. Four housing units remain on quarantine. Testing continues and numbers are improving.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN continues to schedule vaccination clinics and share information on COVID resources to area partners. School districts expressed a need for more testing supplies and while DHHS couldn’t provide additional kits, the PNH shared a comprehensive list of testing resources to area school districts. The organization continues to connect residents with resources, including new community health workers (1.5 FTE) available to support individuals and families navigating COVID illness, isolation, and quarantine. More information here.

  • Congressional Delegation: With encouragement from members of the NH delegation, the Biden administration announced that Medicare will cover over the counter COVID-19 test at no cost starting in early spring. Press release with more information is circulating. Delegation staff attended the call and had no additional updates.


It feels like we’re on the downhill slide of this surge, but we have a ways to go.

1/27/2022: Characteristics of the Omicron Variant

Our work today is dedicated to all clinical staff who work outside in northern NH January temperatures performing COVID testing.

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Local and statewide trends are improving after several weeks of extremely high and increasing COVID positivity rates and hospitalizations. We’re not through yet as numbers are still high and likely an undercount due to home testing. If you test positive, inform your healthcare provider. Follow NH DHHS guidelines. Remember COVID symptoms + exposure = COVID. People with symptoms report testing negative multiple times before a positive test result shows up. The Omicron variant may result in milder illness for many but may also produce a delayed worsening in the 7-10 day window. If you still feel bad when you think you should feel better, reach out to your healthcare provider.

***

NH announced 1,941 new cases on January 13. There were an average of 1,770 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (January 21 to January 27). This is a 38% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

NCH videos: #StepUpNH and #MaskUpNH


Who needs an additional Covid-19 vaccine or booster?

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare


Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040. On-Site Medical Services is now leading a fixed vaccination site at The Chalet in Berlin. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm. No appointment is needed.

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  • Get up to date! Being fully vaccinated means receiving as many vaccination doses you are eligible for.

  • Don’t wait to get a booster shot! Booster shots can help build immune response right away so now is the time if you haven’t received one and protect against the Omicron surge.

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: There are four inpatients being treated for COVID-19 at AVH. Patients are vaccinated and unvaccinated. At the testing site on Wednesday 57 tests were administered, including 13 rapid tests with 4 positive. This is an improving trend from the past several weeks. AVH is stable but there are 6 staff out currently and staff continue to cycle out and back in once recovered. Patients are receiving monoclonal antibody treatment for the Omicron variant as needed. Supply of the antibodies is available but is used judiciously across the NCH system. The ED is busy with upper respiratory illnesses but flu is sporadic and on the decline in the state. The Omicron variant of COVID may result in milder illness for many but also may also produce delayed worsening symptoms in the 7-10 day window.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Testing clinics are full with Thursday’s testing clinic of 40 people, including 18 rapid tests with 4 positive cases. Dr. Beal saw 11 kids with 2 positive cases during pediatric testing clinic. A total of 7 staff are currently out due to a combination of positive COVID cases, quarantine, as well as lingering significant symptoms. Normal operations are maintained. Vaccine clinics are filling up every Monday and Wednesday as people are getting their boosters. Vaccine appointments are available Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 11:30 am and testing Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 for appointments.

  • Vaccine / COVID Updates in Androscoggin Valley and NH: There are signs of optimism among the statewide NH hospitals as several southern hospitals had capacity on their med surg and ICU units for the first time in several weeks. NH has extended National Guard assistance at many health care facilities.


Rapid testing kits can be found in a variety of locations when supply is available. Private insurers are now required to cover the cost of 8 at-home coronavirus tests, per member, per month. In addition, the federal portal for Americans to order test kits through the US Postal Service is currently open. The State of NH announced its purchase of 1M testing kits to be made available at NH Liquor Stores for purchase sometime in the next two weeks. Nationally there have been 850,000 deaths due to COVID-19 during the two year pandemic. Health officials are watching COVID-19 numbers nationally and across the globe to see if trends will return to past lows or settle at a new baseline.


Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: The number of positive cases continues to come down thankfully. There are 5 staff out and 19 students out with confirmed COVID cases. There are additional students out with symptoms or waiting to return after symptoms improve. Staffing is getting a little easier and each day is better. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: Schools are starting to see fewer cases of COVID in both students and staff. Schools remain busy as ever but the trend appears to be moving past the highest point of the latest variant surge. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: Things are going well on the COVID front during week two of the new semester. No staff and faculty are out and only a few students are remotely attending classes due to COVID-19 cases or exposure.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: As of Wednesday 1/26/22, SVP has two positive staff and four positive residents with COVID-19 cases. All residents have been tested and staff testing is being conducted.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: Positive COVID cases have dropped from last week. All residents and staff were PCR tested early in the week with all negative results for COVID-19. Later in the week one new positive employee and one new resident tested positive via rapid testing, both present with symptoms of COVID-19. There are a total of three active employee cases and three resident cases with COVID-19.

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: No update on this call.


Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: A couple of staff firefighters are cycling out and back when recovered from recent COVID cases. Emergency response is stable.

  • Gorham EMS: Staff are completing the cycle of testing and returning when recovered. Several staff were out last week. Emergency response is stable.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: Facility leaders provided a COVID update on staffing and residents. There are several positive COVID cases among residents and several units are in quarantine. Visits are currently closed and will be re-evaluated next week.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: Since Tuesday there are an additional 25 positive COVID cases, totalling 46 positive inmates. There are 10 staff still out due to positive COVID cases. Housing units continue the cycle of quarantining and testing. Additional housing unit results will be known Friday. Approximately 300 inmates have tested positive during this outbreak.


Municipal and Local Business


Community and Legislative

  • Public Health Network: The PHN continues to work with partners to host vaccine clinics including Wildcat Mountain in mid-February, and with housing agencies to offer vaccines and boosters to residents. Like many organizations experiencing temporary staffing shortages, the PHN has fewer volunteers available to staff vaccine clinics. More updates soon on additional testing opportunities.

  • Congressional Delegation: Staff are informing the Congressional representatives of the updates shared on this call. Sen. Shaheen extended her thanks to NH’s healthcare workers during a visit to Memorial Hospital in North Conway this week. No additional updates.


“We’re standing at the edge of the forest and starting to see the light shine between the trees.”

1/20/22 - covidactnow.org

1/20/2022: COVID exposure + symptoms = COVID

Our work today is dedicated to the National Guard members who are making a big difference in many healthcare settings.

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Cases are ticking up across the North Country. The Omicron variant is contributing to positive cases that are more than twice the previous surges. The federal prison’s numbers contribute to the county’s high rates but the high positivity rate also means that the hospitals will see a portion of the general population that needs acute care. Elderly residents are still most at most risk for severe COVID and may be most affected around day 10 - 14 post infection. Check on your neighbors, family, and friends. COVID exposure plus symptoms equals COVID, especially in the same family and household.

***

NH announced 2,461 new cases on January 20, 2022. There were an average of 2,663 cases per day for the most recent 7-day period (January 14 to January 20). This is a 14% DECREASE compared to the previous 7-day period. More information at https://www.covid19.nh.gov/.

***

Vaccine is available to anyone 5+ years old by calling Coos County Family Health Services at 603-752-2040


Anyone 12+ years may be eligible for their booster or additional COVID-19 vaccine:

Informational FAQ from North Country Healthcare

NCH videos: #StepUpNH and #MaskUpNH

***

Health Care and Medical Services

  • Update from Androscoggin Valley Hospital: At the testing site on Wednesday 52 COVID tests were administered, including 23 rapid tests with 11 positive, a 48% positivity rate. Family spread is contributing to the positivity rate. In an increase from last week, there are currently 5 people being treated for COVID-19 as inpatients on the Med Surg unit. Many patients are seeking medical care after initial infection around day 10 - 14 when they are struggling with the ongoing impacts of the virus. In coordination with CCFHS, supply of monoclonal antibodies treatment specific for the Omicron variant became available and was given to qualifying patients. Past patients have been unvaccinated, as well as partially vaccinated. The ER and ICU are busy but not with COVID patients. AVH is stable and managing day by day with staffing affected by COVID. Currently there are 4 staff and one provider out. The flu is circulating regionally and elsewhere in the state.

  • Update from Coos County Family Health Services: Dr. Beals is busy with pediatric testing clinics including 26 kids on Wednesday and Thursday with seven positive cases, an increase from last week. Testing clinic on Thursday had 37 people and 4 were positive. Thursday's testing clinic was not full, a first after several weeks of full clinics. The first dose of Paxlovid, an oral antiviral COVID treatment, was given to a qualifying patient this week. Staffing is stressed with many absences due to COVID or childcare closures including 6 nurses, 2 providers, 3 IT, and 2 receptionists. Vaccine appointments are available Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 11:30 am and testing Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 - 11 am. Call CCFHS at 603-752-2040 for appointments.

“What more can we do but provide a calm and consistent approach for our community. We’re going to continue to do that even when it can be exhausting. So proud of everyone now approaching two years of this work together.”

Education

  • Update from Berlin Public Schools: A slight decrease from last week, there are 32 students and 9 staff positive with COVID across the district, with others out on quarantine and pending test results. Each day is a different staffing challenge to provide coverage at schools. School nurses have noted that not everyone is ready to return to school on day 6. Some are still testing positive or have considerable symptoms. Negative test to return is now required and a testing resupply is scheduled for next week. Visit Berlin Public School Facebook Page for more information.

  • Update from SAU 20: An average of 10% of students are positive across SAU 20 schools with a constant rotation of students isolating and returning after testing. Fewer staff (approx. 4) are out across the SAU. Approximately 60 rapid tests are administered each day and supply is going quickly. Schools are maintaining in person learning while managing COVID by following guidelines when infections occur. In person learning provides the most optimal and equitable learning environment for students and families and mitigation efforts are working to keep that in place. Visit the SAU 20 office website for updates.

  • White Mountains Community College: This is the first week of spring semester. WMCC is able to continue in person programs as the best method of instruction. Closing in on two years of the pandemic, students are showing signs of mask fatigue. Students, faculty, and staff who have to isolate or quarantine for COVID are following guidelines to return. Remote options are encouraged for those who continue to be symptomatic past day 5 until they are well enough to return.

Family Resources and Long-Term Care Facilities

  • St. Vincent de Paul: No update on this call.

  • Coos County Nursing Home: As of Thursday there are 10 employees out of work due to COVID, including three direct care employees recently testing positive. All residents will have PCR tests. There are no residents with COVID-19 at this time. CCNH continues all previously reported COVID infection prevention and control measures. (As printed in Berlin Sun 1/20/22)

  • Northern Human Services: No update on this call.

  • Family Resource Center: No update on this call.

  • Tri-County CAP: Three more staff are out with COVID cases originating from close household contacts. Agency remains closed to the public and staff are required to wear masks at all times. Services continue to be offered to the community.

Emergency Services and Correctional Facilities

  • Berlin Fire / EMD: There are two positive firefighter cases, possibly three. Cases are not affecting emergency services response.

  • Gorham EMS: There are four firefighter and EMS personnel out, but it is not affecting emergency services response.

  • Northern NH Correctional Facility: No update on this call.

  • Federal Corrections Institution: There is a large outbreak of COVID cases at the prison with 167 inmates and 29 staff testing positive. This is an increase from 59 positive inmate cases last week. There is a total population of 760 inmates at FCI and approximately 70% are vaccinated. Cases are mostly mild and staff are testing to return to work. (As shared on the call, further updates available in Berlin Sun artic