November 2, 2020

Huggins Hospital warns of increased local community transmission of COVID-19

As New Hampshire’s daily new cases of COVID-19 continue to surpass previous record-high levels, Huggins Hospital officials warn of an increase in local cases of COVID-19. Over the past weekend (10/31/20), reported daily statewide cases rose above 200 in one day as hospitalizations and deaths continue to increase as well.

“There are multiple factors driving this second wave of COVID-19 in New Hampshire,” said John Boornazian, MD, Huggins Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. “As with influenza, we anticipated there would be a resurgence of the virus again with the change in season. As our state and local data is warning us, we now – even more than ever before – need to follow precautions such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.”

Huggins Hospital has seen a continued increase in positive cases being tested through their on-site Drive Up Testing. The hospital’s Drive Up is a community-based testing site that services both symptomatic and asymptomatic community members by appointment. People should contact their primary care providers if they are sick or if they think they need to be tested for COVID-19. If someone does not have a primary care provider, they can call Huggins Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at 603.569.7558 for assistance in getting a test order and an appointment.

“If someone in the local community needs or wants testing for COVID-19, we are here for them,” said Susan Dionne, RN, Huggins Hospital’s Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services. “We do our best to get people tested as quickly and as smoothly as possible.”

Community members can contact the hospital or find testing options on the state’s testing map online at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/covid19/documents/covid-testing-sites.pdf.

Huggins Hospital is also experiencing a significant increase in calls for primary care services, including COVID-19 needs, at this time. The hospital has prioritized hiring more staff members to meet the increase in demand from the community.

“Our calls have doubled from the typical volume we were managing at this same time last year,” said Kimberlee Daley, RN, Huggins Hospital’s Vice President of Physician and Diagnostic Services. “COVID-19 has required us to provide many new services, including Drive Up Testing, a COVID-19 Hotline and a special Outpatient Practice. These new services, along with the increase in demand for our traditional services, has presented new challenges. We care deeply about serving everyone and we continue to trial different solutions to improve our response times.”

To protect the community, and prevent a surge in local hospitalizations and demand on healthcare resources, community members need to continue to be vigilant about the recommended precautions.

“The best thing we can do is stay distant from others,” said Dr. Boornazian. “Avoid close contact with people that do not live in your household in order to keep our families and loved ones safe. Continue to wear your mask and wash your hands. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can easily pass the virus to others and perpetuate the spread in our community. COVID-19 is here in our local area and it is up to all of us to put a halt to the spread.”

Community members can find more information about accessing care and services during the COVID-19 pandemic at www.hugginshospital.org/COVID-19.