PRESS RELEASE – November 6, 2020

Strafford County’s Riverside Rest Home is herein reporting its first positive COVID-19 case for a tested employee. There are NO signs or symptoms of the disease with any of our residents or any other employee. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are testing ALL residents and employees. 

We continue to take great measures to protect our nursing home residents, detainees/ inmates at the House of Corrections, and our employees. These measures include following all Federal and State recommended infection precautions and consist of employee screening prior to entering the work place, the use of masks, face shields, and other preventative gear (PPE) beyond the basic recommendations, and good hand sanitizing. 

Remember to keep all employees who are working hard to keep you and those they serve safe during these challenging times in your thoughts and prayers. We are in this together and we will get through this together.

On behalf of the Strafford County Commissioners,

 

            George Maglaras,     Chairman

Robert J. Watson,

Vice Chairman

                                           Deanna S. Rollo, Clerk



COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Informational Update 10/26/2020

Nursing home testing requirements have shifted to capture a broader amount of employees, testing will occur on multiple days. Updates will now reflect weekly testing numbers; moving forward updates will posted every 10-14 days.

Riverside Rest Home (RRH):

October 20th – 26th , 2020                                          October 13th- 19th, 2020

These numbers are subject to change.                      Employees tested: 133, all negative

Employees tested: 134, all negative                            Residents tested: 20, all negative

Residents tested: 20, all negative

Nursing Home Testing: The frequency is now based on the Strafford County Positivity Rate. Less than 5% testing is 100% of nursing home employees, once per month, and 10% of employees the remaining weeks of the month.

Current Positivity Rate: 2.6% (updated last 10/19/20)

Nursing Home Visitations: please see the notice posted on August 14, 2020.

Outdoor visits, as well as window/closed door visits continue. We are unable to accommodate indoor visits at this time. Currently we are working to develop a plan and space, for a warm and safe place to conduct visits, as the cold weather nears. Once developed, I will update the visitation information.

Please Note: the nursing home visitation and re-opening guidance weighs heavily on the status of the entire county. At this time we remain able to conduct outdoor, in person, visits. Should the community prevalence exceed the federal and state threshold; we will provide notification of the changes.

At this time, there are no active cases of COVID-19, at the Nursing Home.

Strafford County Department of Corrections (SCDOC):

These numbers will reflect tests completed throughout the week.

October 20th – 26th,                                                    October 13th – 19th:

These numbers are subject to change.                      Employees tested: 17, all negative

Employees tested: 26, all negative                              Inmates/Detainees tested: 38, all negative

Inmates/Detainees tested: 19, all negative

 

At this time, there are no active cases of COVID-19, in the House of Corrections.

Should there be a case or an outbreak, we will coordinate with DHHS/DPHS on actions to be implemented. If any positives should occur, the appropriate people will be updated immediately, once those people are informed, the website will be updated.

Other Complex Operations:

October 22, 2020 Employees tested (various departments): 27, all negative

October 13, 2020 Employees tested (various departments): 26, all negative

October 3, 2020 Employees tested (various departments): 14, all negative

At this time, there are no active cases of COVID-19, at any of the operations conducted out of the court house.

County buildings continue to remain closed to all non-essential personnel. Screening of all individuals, entering any building, continues across the complex.

Best wishes and stay safe!

Brianna Haskins-Belanger, RN, BSN

 

Strafford County Employees

Policy regarding Travel during COVID-19 Pandemic

Effective 11/01/2020

This policy is to be instituted and maintained for the entirety of the COVID-19 Pandemic, unless updated.

Stafford County Complex Operations will impose quarantines and travel restrictions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all individuals on the complex.

NH Issued Information:

Many countries are showing an increasing number of COVID-19 infections and new outbreaks, including countries that have originally brought their original outbreaks under control, and many international travel destinations continue to have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice indicating that COVID-19 risk is high. Many states outside of New England (Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island) continue to experience high rates of infection and/or uncontrolled community transmission. Therefore, any travel internationally or locally increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19; staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. 

NH residents traveling to/from areas outside of New England need to self-quarantine for the first 14 days after return to NH (starting from the last day of their travel outside of New England). This recommendation is irrespective of the mode of transportation for travel (public vs. private transportation). Although NH has no formal travel restrictions, the state’s guidelines, applicable to all businesses, requires employers to prohibit any  state outside of New England.

General Information:

The risk of exposure and inadvertently bringing the virus into any of the County’s buildings, continues to be a threat. Please remember that your actions outside of work could potentially expose you, your family, your co-workers and their families, as well as those that reside within our buildings to the SARS-Coronavirus-2 causing COVID-19. We have extensive exposure to each other and those that live in our buildings. Bringing the virus in the building could be potentially devastating, as we work in congregate living facilities and/or are exposed to those that do.

Consistent with all guidance regarding COVID-19, employees who have symptoms are to notify their supervisor immediately and stay/go home. When exposed to COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19, employees must stay home. Exceptions can be made for asymptomatic exposed employees who are NOT diagnosed with COVID-19, these individuals could return to work only with approval from public health officials and their employer after certain protections have been put in place.

If you have had exposure to COVID-19 notify your supervisor for further instruction, your supervisor may contact Brianna Haskins-Belanger with any questions or concerns.

NOTE: workers caring for COVID-19 individuals while wearing appropriate PPE should answer “no” when asked during screening if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish in the last 72 hours.
    • Fever is only present in 40-60% of COVID-19 cases. The absence of a fever does not rule out COVID-19.
    • There is varying guidance regarding the temperature that indicates a fever. Published information indicates any temperature from 99.6°F to 100.6°F or higher constitutes a fever. Please use your best judgement when looking at a temperature. At this time all employees should have a general idea of their baseline temperature. Even if the thermometer does not show a fever, this does not mean the person does not have a fever. Chills, cold sweats, headache, shivering, etc. can all indicate a fever is present, even if the thermometer suggests otherwise.
  • Respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath;
  • General body symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and severe fatigue;
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and
  • Changes in a person’s sense of taste or smell.

Any travel approved prior to November 1st, is subject to the 7/31/2020 Travel policy.

Travel:

When requesting time off for vacation, if an employee chooses to travel, the employee must disclose:

  • Mode of transportation:
    • Private Vehicle
    • Air (includes private planes, the risk is not necessarily just the destination or plane, the greater risk of potential exposure is the airport)
    • Cruise ship and/or Ferry
    • Public Bus or Van
  • Destination/areas of travel, if travel is outside of New England (New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island).

Vacation without public transportation and without travel outside of New England:

  • The employee does not have to disclose the location or purpose of travel.
    • The employee will indicate they do not intend to leave New England or use Public Modes of Transportation.

Vacation with public modes of transportation and/or travel outside of New England:

  • If you plan on traveling by public modes of transportation or outside of New England, you will not be permitted entry to the building(s), until the 14-day self-quarantine, upon return, has been completed.
  • If travel is planned please coordinate with your department head for approval.
    • Your department head will determine if the department can operate without you for your time of travel AND the 14 days after travel.
    • If approved by your department head, you will be eligible to use your accrued time for the self-quarantine time required (14 days).
    • If approved by your department head but you do not have enough accrued time:
      • You are eligible to self-quarantine without pay, without jeopardizing your position, and without disciplinary action.
      • If you have insurance through the county, the county will cover your insurance premium during this time once accrued time is exhausted.
      • You will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to your return.
        • The COVID-19 test must be during the 5 days prior to your return i.e., day 10, 11, 12, 13, or 14 of the self-quarantine.
      • Inform your supervisor of your date of return. You may coordinate testing with Brianna Haskins-Belanger or you may have testing conducted elsewhere. Any costs associated with testing elsewhere will not be covered by the employer.

Considerations for supervisors:

Considerations will be made for employees traveling for hardships, such as bereavement.

Prior to entering any building:

All employees are required to truthfully answer the screening questions (either verbally asked or posted questions). If there is reasonable proof that the individual was not truthful regarding risk factors or answering screening questions, prior to entering, the employee will be subject to disciplinary actions. Disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment, will be enforced as a result of the employee jeopardizing the health, safety, and welfare of the individuals in the building(s).

Resources

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, Division of Public Health Services. (2020, August 27). New Hampshire COVID-19 General Travel and Quarantine Guidance, & Employer Screening and Exclusion Criteria. https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/covid19/documents/employee-travel-guidance.pdf

 

Strafford County Employees
Policy regarding Travel during COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated 07/31/2020
This policy is to be instituted and maintained for the entirety of the COVID-19 Pandemic, unless updated.

As the time for vacations has arrived please note this is the policy regarding travel for vacation.

NH continues to advise individuals to only travel for essential purposes, there is still risk for exposure to the SARS-Coronavirus-2 which causes COVID-19; the risk of exposure to the virus is increased with public means of transportation as well public gatherings. The best way to avoid exposure to the virus continues to be practicing social distancing and hand hygiene.

General Information:

The risk of exposure and inadvertently bringing the virus into any of the County buildings continues to be a threat. Please remember that your actions outside of work could potentially expose you, your family, your co-workers and their families, as well as those that reside within our buildings to the SARS-Coronavirus-2. We have extensive exposure to each other and those that live in our buildings and bringing the virus in the building could be potentially devastating as we work in congregate living facilities and/or are exposed to those that do.

Consistent with all guidance regarding COVID-19 Employees who have symptoms should notify their supervisor and stay home. When exposed to COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19, employees must stay home. Exceptions can be made for asymptomatic exposed employees who are NOT diagnosed with COVID-19, these individuals could return to work only with approval from public health officials and their employer after certain protections have been put in place.

If you have had exposure to COVID-19 notify your supervisor for further instruction, your supervisor may contact Brianna Haskins-Belanger with any questions or concerns.

NOTE: workers caring for COVID-19 individuals while wearing appropriate PPE should answer “no” when asked during screening if they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Symptoms now include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish in the last 72 hours (There is varying guidance regarding the temperature that indicates a fever, I’ve seen anywhere from 99.6°F to 100.6°F or higher. Please use your best judgement when looking at a temperature, e.g. if your temp. is normally 97 and now you are above 99.6 and it remains this temp or higher, when taken a few times, you should report this to your supervisor as you will be asked about any other symptoms or risk factors. If your temp. is normally 99 and now you show at 100 but it does not exceed 100 when taken a few times and you don’t have any other symptoms or risk factors likely you are okay however it is wise to monitor and report this to your supervisor. If your temp. is normally 99 however now you are showing a temp. consistently greater than 100.4 you should notify your supervisor.
  • Respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath;
  • General body symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and severe fatigue;
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, and
  • Changes in a person’s sense of taste or smell.

Travel:

As the risk of exposure has not changed when utilizing public means of transportation or when traveling, employees are asked to disclose the following information during screening:

  • All travel by public modes of transportation:
    • Cruise ship
    • Air (does not include private planes, the risk is not necessarily just the destination or plane the greater risk of potential exposure is the airport)
    • Public bus
  • Travel outside of NH, VT, ME, MA, CT, or RI.
  • International Travel continues to require a quarantine period of 14 days upon return home.

If you answer yes to any of the travel related screening questions the following will be requested:

  • You inform us of your date of return and that you come in to allow for a COVID-19 test to be performed.
    • We ask that you be tested upon your return home, prior to your first scheduled day to work or your first scheduled day to work, you will be asked to be out until the results of the test are available.
  • Once the specimen is collected the county will cover the cost, if any, associated with the testing.
  • The county will pay the wages for the days you were scheduled while the test is pending.
  • If the test is negative and you remain asymptomatic you will be able to return to work.
    • Please remember that information still suggests that you may have a positive test result up to 14 days following exposure.
    • If you become symptomatic notify your supervisor for further instruction.
  • If the test is positive you will remain out of work as indicated in previous guidance:
    • Asymptomatic – 10 days following the positive test (day you tested is day 0) as long as no symptoms develop.
    • Positive and develop symptoms – 10 days following symptom development (first day of symptoms is day 0) with improvement of symptoms and fever free for 72 hours.
      • Mild symptoms 10days
      • Severe symptoms 20days (severe is typically classified when the person requires hospitalization for treatment)
    • If you are asymptomatic and you decline to be tested upon your return, you will be required to work as scheduled. You must monitor your temperature and monitor for any symptom development. If any symptoms develop you are to notify your supervisor immediately.
    • If positive, wages will be covered by the county as allotted with the prior information regarding covered wages if kept out of work due to COVID-19.
      • If any incentive/stipend/stimulus pay is in place, you will only be eligible for the hours you are at work.

Considerations for supervisors:

Employee driving their own vehicle to visit family in a state outside of: NH, VT, ME, MA, CT, or RI; inquire regarding activities when traveling.

  • If the employee is taking a private vehicle and only visiting a small number of family, does not plan to attend public gatherings; they should be educated regarding safe practice for stopping at gas stations, rest stops, restaurants, etc. This employee would be okay to return to work without requiring testing.
  • Employees who live or are required to work in other states such as Mass. are able to return to work without requiring a test.

If an employee is traveling out of NH, VT, ME, MA, CT, or RI, by their own means of transportation, please inquire and ensure that they have access to appropriate items to ensure safe travel practices, such as: masks/cloth face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer. If the employee does not have access to these items please contact Brianna Haskins-Belanger so that we can arrange for them to have items to ensure they and their family are safe.

Reminder for Social Distancing:

Attempt to have meetings by teleconference. If a teleconference is not possible find a large meeting space and space chairs 6ft apart. The ONLY way to decrease the spread is with decreasing close contact with others. As always remember to practice good hand hygiene.

Brianna Haskins-Belanger, RN, BSN, RAC-CT

603-516-4112

 

Strafford County Employees

Policy and Procedure

Initial Mask Protocol 3/27/2020

Mask On during COVID-19 pandemic updated 4/27/2020

This policy is to be instituted and maintained for the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, unless updated.

DEPARTMENT: ALL

For the purpose of this policy Strafford County Complex buildings are identified as the House of Corrections, Court House, Riverside Rest Home, and Hyder Building.

POLICY: All individuals entering buildings on the Strafford County Complex will be masked with, at minimum, a re-usable cloth face covering. The person is to remain masked while in the building and within 6 feet of others.

Employees entering the building will be offered the use of a procedure/surgical mask. The employee entering will be afforded the opportunity to choose between the use of a re-usable cloth mask or a disposable procedure/surgical mask.

Non-employees entering the building will be offered the use of a re-usable cloth mask.

Regardless the type of mask chosen, one mask will be provided for the entirety of the shift/time spent in the building. If during the time in the building the mask becomes soiled, wet, or damaged, a new mask will be provided.

INTENT/PURPOSE: The use of face coverings during all time spent in the building is to help prevent and minimize pre-symptomatic transmission of COVID-19 to others (i.e. source control).

These face coverings (masks) are not intended to protect the wearer; they are intended to minimize the risk of transmission.

PROCEDURE: PROCEDURE:
1. All individuals entering the building will be screened; once screened and entry into the building is granted, they will be offered the use of a mask:
a. Employees: procedure/surgical mask or cloth face covering (mask).
b. Non-employees: cloth face covering
2. One mask will be given per shift/duration of time in the building (up to 12 hours).
3. If any mask becomes soiled, damaged, or wet they may be provided a new mask.
4. The procedure/surgical mask must be discarded when soiled, damaged, wet, and at the end of the shift.
5. If a cloth mask is chosen it must:
a. Fit appropriately over the nose and mouth.
b. Appropriate fit also means that the mask does not require touching or adjustment once donned.
c. Employees must have the ability to wash their own mask between shifts/use.
6. Non-employees are to remove their mask and place it in the bin provided when exiting. These masks will be laundered on the complex.

GENERAL INFORMATION: GENERAL INFORMATION:
• N95/KN95 masks/respirators are to be reserved for individuals interacting with a person suspected of or positive with COVID-19.
• A room on precautions requires the use of a different mask; do not take the daily use mask in those rooms.
• These masks are not to be used when interacting with someone suspected of or who is positive for COVID-19.
• If required to use a different mask, place this mask inside of a paper bag clearly labeled with your name and place it in a safe location.
• Wash or sanitize hands prior to donning the mask and after doffing of any mask.
• Do not touch, reach inside, or rub the mask.
• Once donned properly, only touch the mask by the straps.
• The face covering should cover both the nose and mouth of the wearer.
• Remove any mask by only touching the straps/bands.
• Do no lay the mask down on a table, chair, cart, etc.
• The mask is to be worn when you are within 6 feet of others.
• DO NOT share masks that have not been washed between uses.
• DO NOT allow this mask to provide you with a false sense of safety. Proper social distancing (when possible) and proper hand hygiene remain the best defense as decreasing the transmission of COVID-19.

 

 

April 21, 2020

 

We at Strafford County are committed to the safety of those that live, work, and those that have interactions with the public across all our departments. We instituted cloth masks for all employees as well as vendors that enter the Nursing Home and House of Corrections on 3/27/20. On 4/03/20 the Sheriff’s Department also instituted the use of cloth masks to be worn when interacting with the public. With great support from the community we were able to obtain enough masks to ensure that all people who enter the facilities have a cloth mask to wear to assist in decreasing the spread of COVID-19, especially from those that have not yet shown symptoms or symptoms that have not yet been identified.

We have not seen a positive case of COVID-19 in the HOC or Nursing Home. If a case is suspected we have the appropriate PPE available to ensure the safety of the individuals residing in the buildings as well as the staff. We are actively screening all people prior to entry into any facility on the Strafford County complex as well as active screening for those that reside within the buildings. We have been vigilant in keeping people out of the building that have or report any symptoms.

Across all buildings we have developed policies to ensure anyone exposed or directly affected are notified immediately, as well as the resident representatives. In order to offer full disclosure to the public, and to alleviate the concerns for the unknown from families and staff, we are pledging to immediately release numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of our staff, residents and/or detainees/inmates. The information will not include specific names, but will include general methods of treatment and the status of the resident and/or detainee/inmate.

We understand the importance of the psychosocial wellbeing of all individuals during this difficult time; we have taken steps to expanded telehealth as well as video visits for both the HOC and Nursing Home.

At the nursing home we have also welcomed donations of pictures and cards to be provided to our residents to brighten their day; we have also developed a method to ensure that loved ones may deliver/drop off things such as flowers, balloons, cards, etc. Our staff is committed to taking extra steps to ensure that items are sanitized prior to delivery to the resident, to decrease the risk of viral transmission into the facility from the community.

At this time we remain closed to visitors and non-essential business, across the complex. As a commitment to keep everyone informed, and to ensure transparency, we have started a COVID-19 specific section on the Strafford County website. This will be updated at least weekly and more often if the status changes within the building(s).

This information can be found at: https://www.co.strafford.nh.us/covid-19-information

We are truly grateful to everyone in the community that has supported, and continues to support our efforts to keep everyone safe during this unprecedented time.

Best Wishes and stay safe!

Raymond Bower, Administrator

Brianna Haskins-Belanger, RN, BSN, Director of Resident Services

STRAFFORD COUNTY

COMMISSIONERS

WILLIAM A. GRIMES

Justice & Administration Building,

259 County Farm Road, Suite 204, Dover, New Hampshire 03820

PRESS RELEASE

April 3, 2020

Over the last several days, Governor Chris Sununu and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, Department of Health and Human Services, have advised the media/press of clusters of COVID-19 showing up in group living facilities. The Governor and Dr. Chan refused to name the facilities, indicating that it is the individual facility’s obligation to do so.

In Strafford County, we have taken great measures to protect our nursing home residents, detainees/inmates at the House of Corrections, and our employees. These measures include following all Federal and State recommended infection precautions and consist of employee screening prior to entering the work place, the use of masks and other preventative gear (PPE) beyond the basic recommendations, and good hand sanitizing. To date, we have had no cases of COVID-19 for Riverside Rest Home residents or House of Corrections detainees/inmates.

In order to offer full disclosure to the public, and to alleviate the concerns for the unknown from families and staff, we are pledging to immediately release numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of our residents and/or detainees/inmates. The information will not include specific names, but will include general methods of treatment and the status of the resident and/or detainee/inmate.

Please remember to keep all employees who are working hard to keep you and those they serve safe during these challenging times in your thoughts and prayers.

We are in this together and we will get through this together.

                                                       Strafford County Commissioners

                                                          George Maglaras, Chairman

                                                          Robert J. Watson

                                                          Deanna S. Rollo, Clerk