ROCHESTER — City Manager Blaine Cox and Mayor Caroline McCarley wish to provide the community with regular updates about the city’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
The city has been notified by the New Hampshire Health & Human Services Department (NH-DHHS) that a Rochester resident has tested positive for COVID-19. This patient is currently quarantined in a medical facility in Massachusetts.
COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has been declared a Global Pandemic by the World Health Organization and has moved Governor Chris Sununu to declare a State of Emergency in New Hampshire and President Donald Trump to declare a National Emergency. Earlier today, Governor Sununu announced the state’s first death from COVID-19 of a man over age 60 from Hillsborough County who suffered from multiple underlying health conditions, officials said.
The Rochester Police and Fire Departments have placed additional orders for personal protective equipment, including goggles/face shields, ponchos, cover alls, and N95 masks. There is a desperate need for this kind of equipment among first responders and medical facilities. Those interested in making a donation of supplies should call 603-330-7127.
The Rochester Emergency Operations Center opened today and will operate Monday-Friday until it is no longed needed. The EOC will allow staff from multiple city agencies as well as state agencies, utilities and federal agencies to work together with the City of Rochester. The Rochester Public Schools and local healthcare facilities are also in contact with the EOC.
The City of Rochester and state and federal public health officials urgently encourage that all residents practice social distancing and remain at least six feet away from others while avoiding congregating in groups larger than 10.
Children and COVID-19
Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing until further guidelines are provided by state officials about the status of the virus.
- Families should practice social distancing with their children and follow these guidelines from the state and local health officials:
- Families should not hold “play dates” and those in need of childcare should limit the number of families involved as much as possible.
- Practice social distancing techniques with children and have them practice among themselves.
- Clean and sanitize toys, video game controllers and all touch surfaces regularly.
- All city and school playgrounds have been closed and are off-limits to the public.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
As the weather continues to improve, outdoor gatherings are viewed as safer, but social distancing techniques should still be practiced. Walking in outdoor recreation areas in Rochester is allowed, so long as social distancing practices are maintained.
Teens are included in this group, and activities like bike riding and hiking/ walking are viewed as safer alternatives to gathering indoors.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Crisis Resources
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a Disaster Distress Helpline to provide 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people.
- Call 800-985-5990 to connect with trained crisis counselors, 24/7
- Text with a live counselor via SMS, text ‘TalkWithUs” to 66746.
- Text “Hablanos” for Spanish at 66746.
- To learn more on how to cope with stress and anxiety, go to the CDC website, or the SAMHSA website.
The Rochester Police and Fire Departments will continue to respond to all emergencies as normal. However, the departments will be limiting access to the police and fire stations to outside visitors for general, walk-in business until further notice.
The situation is fluid and new information is being posted regularly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Hampshire Health & Human Services Department (NH-DHHS). The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads:
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. As a precaution, it is recommended that residents clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.