BARTLETT — The Grand Summit Hotel at Attitash in Bartlett and Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine, are reporting that a guest at the hotel and the parent of a student at the academy have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Conway Town Manager Tom Holmes said that a town hall staff member may have been exposed to the virus and that a test is pending.”
No other staff members are being tested at this time.
In the meantime, Tuesday’s Conway selectmen’s meeting was canceled and town hall is shut down to the public, with most of the staff told to stay home.
A skeleton crew consisting of Holmes, Town Engineer Paul DegliAngeli and Town Clerk Louise Inkell will be working. They will be available by phone and email, but Holmes said people shouldn’t expect immediate callbacks.
Via email, Holmes told the Sun on Tuesday: “The person was out sick the first week of March with what we believed was a regular flu. Half the building has had it. That illness predates that person’s supposed exposure to a family member who was supposedly exposed to a person who tested positive. So, at this time, we don’t think the employee’s illness of Feb. 28th through March 6th was corona. But who knows? That is what we are acting on.”
In Bartlett, the Grand Summit has suspended operations for the rest of the month after being informed that the guest had tested positive.
The hotel posted on its website it had learned that a guest who stayed there March 6-8 had tested positive for COVID-19.
General Manager Steve Mannik said: “It was something that came on quick and was unexpected, but we knew we had to react real quick. We found out Monday morning, and we decided within an hour we had to close down.”
Mannik said the guest was from Massachusetts who came for the weekend with a group. It was not until nearly a week later on March 16 that a source close to the person contacted the hotel about the positive virus test.
Mannik said he was not notified by a government health agency nor did he know where the individual had been tested. The website said that hotel had suspended guest operations out of an abundance of caution, and they “will be undertaking deep cleaning of the facility while we are closed so we can return to operations when it is safe to do so.”
Mannik told the Sun: “We are doing a very detailed, methodical cleaning. The last thing we want to do is to reopen and have it happen again.”
The hotel will initially be closed for two weeks, but Mannik said, “We are keeping everybody working.”
The hotel’s website — grandsummitattitash.com — went on to say: “This is not a decision we came to lightly, and we know that many of you will be disappointed. Our first responsibility is for the health and well-being of our guests, staff, and community, and it is clear that this is the only appropriate course of action for us to take.”
On Tuesday, he said, the hotel staff had just about finished “reaching out to everybody who stayed with us” during and since that weekend.
“Everyone is following the guidelines recommended by the CDC, and we recommend that to our guests as well.” Those guidelines include washing hands frequently for 20 seconds at a time, using hand sanitizer, practicing social distancing and coughing into sleeves.
The hotel encourages anyone who is symptomatic to contact their medical provider.
At Fryeburg Academy, the individual was said to be the parent of a day student.
On Tuesday, the academy posted on its website (fryeburgacademy.org) that a day student’s parent has tested positive for the virus and the academy had decided to send all residential students home as soon as their families could make the necessary arrangements.
In a letter to academy families, Erin Mayo, head of school, wrote: “We ask that you monitor your children over the next two weeks and take the necessary CDC guidelines and precautions to self-quarantine and/or practice social distancing to help mitigate the potential spread in our respective communities.”
The academy had made the decision over the weekend to close the school for day students.
In a second letter posted on the academy website Tuesday, Mayo said: “For those of you who live in areas where travel restrictions make your child’s return difficult or not possible:
“We are working with local families to provide homestays until travel home is again possible. Our goal is to have all resident students returned home or placed with a local, homestay family within the next few days.”
For families that had made travel arrangements for students over the next two weeks, the school said it would support their need to remain on campus until they depart.
Symptoms most often include fever and respiratory symptoms, such as cough. However, early mild symptoms can include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, and, in some patients, a sore throat. Fever may not develop until several days into illness, or not at all, but people can still transmit the novel coronavirus.
People that are concerned about COVID-19 should discuss their symptoms and any risk factors by phone with their health-care provider before presenting for testing.
The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday announced nine new positive tests for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 26. All patients are isolating at home and have not required hospitalization.
A total of 742 people have been tested in the state. In addition, there are 208 pending tests and about 475 people being monitored for the disease.
DHHS reported the new confirmed cases of COVID-19 are all in adults, including five men and four women, with four from Rockingham, three Hillsborough and two from Grafton counties.
According to the latest announcemnt, “Several individuals from Rockingham and Grafton counties have no identified risk factors (foreign travel or a direct connection to someone who had traveled or been diagnosed with the virus), indicating that New Hampshire is experiencing community-based transmission of COVID-19.”
“The increasing number of cases and new evidence of community-based transmission raises concern that the COVID-19 outbreak is intensifying in New Hampshire,” said State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan.
“The state has put into place measures to help prevent larger scale transmission at schools and larger gatherings; however, it is critical for everybody to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and practice social distancing. We know that this novel coronavirus can be spread very easily through close contact, and the virus can be spread even when people are only having very mild early symptoms of illness.”
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services reported as of noon on Tuesday 32 cases, including nine presumptive positive cases and 23 confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.
Those cases are in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Lincoln, Knox, York, Kennebec and Oxford counties. Fryeburg is in Oxford County.
Maine DHHS also is reporting 1,303 people have tested negative for the virus.