CONWAY — Memorial Hospital has released more information about the doctor at the hospital who tested positive for COVID-19.
The hospital has not released the name of the doctor but on Thursday morning posted an update on the Sun’s Facebook page that said the doctor is recovering at home and last saw patients at Memorial on March 6.
It said he first noticed symptoms of COVID-19 on March 15 and immediately was tested for the virus.
The post indicated that the doctor’s patients are "at negligible risk” since he did not see any patients for more than a week before he became ill.
The post states: “Current guidelines from the NH Dept of Health indicate the critical period for transmission to others begins 24 hours before symptoms appear. Anyone in contact with the physician before March 14 should be at negligible risk but should monitor for symptoms. The Department of Health will perform a thorough contact trace to determine who is a possible risk for transmission.”
When asked if he could supply the name of the doctor, Tim Kershner, director of communications and public affairs, said, “I am not authorized through HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) to reveal the name of the physician.”
Kershner said the hospital has experienced an uptick in people calling to be screened for COVID-19 testing since it released the information that a doctor there had tested positive for the disease.
Later in the day, the hospital posted a note on its own social media pages advising people if they believe they have been exposed to the COVID-19 or are beginning to exhibit symptoms (including fever, coughing, shortness of breath), they should call their primary care provider or Memorial Hospital at (603) 356-5461.
“A short telephone screening will determine if you need to be tested for the virus. Tests can be done at some physician offices or at Memorial’s Emergency Department. If indicated, you will be directed to set up an appointment for a clinician to take a sample for testing. Currently, test results are available within one to three days. While waiting for your results, you will be asked to self-quarantine, treat your symptoms and limit your contact with others.”
In Maine, MSAD 72 Superintendent of Schools Jay Robinson posted a letter on the school administrative district website Thursday notifying parents and the school community that a parent of two students tested positive for the virus.
In his letter to the school community, Robinson wrote: “This information is being shared so that you can continue to monitor the ongoing health of your families. At this time, when a national issue arrives so close to home, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant about minimizing the potential community impact of the disease.”
Robinson asked families to report any confirmed cases of COVID-19, and encouraged them to continue to take precautions such as avoiding unnecessary social interactions outside of homes and practicing social distancing if travel outside the home is necessary. Contact information can be found at msad72.org.
Also the Department of Health and Human Services updated the number of presumptive positives Thursday, announcing five new positive test results for COVID-19. "The new cases are all in adults, including three males and two females. Persons reside in Grafton (two), Rockingham (one), Belknap (one) and Merrimack (one) counties," it said.
"All of the individuals either have traveled to domestic or international locations or have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. All patients have mild symptoms, are isolating at home and household contacts are quarantining. There are now 44 cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire."
The state of Maine reported Thursday that there are 42 confirmed cases and 10 presumptive positive cases, as well as 2,004 negative tests for the virus.