BERLIN — Two positive coronavirus case in Berlin were reported at the end of last week. The city of Berlin and Androscoggin Valley Hospital said they were each notified Friday that one of their employees had tested positive.

Berlin City Manager James Wheeler and James Patry of AVH said their respective organizations immediately took steps to reduce the risk to others and to the community following protocol and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.

Patry said the state is doing contact tracing to inform those who may have come into contact with the employee.

He said hospital employees and patients who have been contacted and the employee is quarantined for two weeks. He said all appropriate testing will be administered. Patry said AVH and all of the North Country Healthcare hospitals remain safe places to receive care.

Both AVH and the city said the positive cases reinforces the need for residents and visitors to continue to wear masks and practice safe distancing and other protective measures.

Wheeler noted that the area has been remarkably successful in deterring the virus from taking hold in the community to date.

Wheeler said that the current cases do not diminish that success but warned that getting complacent and relaxing protective measures can erode that success.

“This case is one of several in our community and an indication that continued and increased diligence is called for in the weeks and months ahead until a vaccine is developed,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said wearing a mask is one of the most effective measures one can take. “It is an act of kindness and compassion in that it protects the people around you,” he said.

Statistics from the state Department of Health and Human Services show Coos County has had a total of 11 positive cases from March 1-July 12. Positive cases have been registered in Pittsburg, Berlin, Randolph, Northumberland, Lancaster and Whitefield.

None of the cases has required hospitalization and there have been no deaths attributed to the virus in the county. The state COVID-19 map shows there are three current cases in Coos County.

The city last week voted to send a letter to all businesses, asking them to request customers practice social distancing and wear masks when social distancing is not possible.

The council had received a letter from the Randolph select board, asking that the city require businesses to ask customers to practice social distancing and wear masks. The Randolph board noted as businesses slowly re-open, more tourists will be coming to the region and using restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations.

Councilor Lucie Remilliard said she favored sending a letter to business owners but felt the decision to require customers to wear masks should be left to the owners.

Wheeler said the state has issued guidelines and, in some cases, requires masks. The motion passed, with Councilor Russ Otis and Mayor Paul Grenier voting against it.

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