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Coronavirus Updates

Visit our Coronvirus (COVID-19) Updates page for even more information. 


How is Wentworth-Douglass Hospital preparing for a possible outbreak of coronavirus?

There are several proactive preparedness efforts underway at Wentworth-Douglass including:

  • Wentworth-Douglass leadership and our Infection Prevention Department are in regular contact with our parent hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and our sister hospitals within the Mass General Brigham system; local and state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • We are screening patients and visitors to identify high-risk travel. The New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (PHL) of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS) now has testing capacity for COVID-19. Specimens that test positive by the NH PHL will be reported as presumptive positive and will need to be confirmed at CDC. NH DPHS will initiate an investigation while awaiting confirmation.
  • A multi-disciplinary team is collaborating to ensure Wentworth-Douglass is ready to respond, if there is a need to test or provide care for patients with possible COVID-19.
  • For staff that have international travel plans or that may be returning from travel, Wentworth-Douglass is following Partners extensive and current travel policy and coordinating with our colleagues at Partners.
  • Remember that good hand hygiene is always important; it is the key to protect ourselves, as well as patients, families and caregivers. For the most up-to-date information, visit the NH DPHS website and CDC website.

What is the difference between coronavirus and viruses that cause the common cold?

There are many types of human coronavirus, including some that cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses.

Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Tests that we use at Wentworth-Douglass facilities do not detect COVID-19. Testing to detect this virus is only performed through the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratory. 

What should I do if I have cold symptoms or a mild cough? Do I need testing for coronavirus?

If you have only cold symptoms or a low-grade fever, call your provider. Do not go to the Emergency Department and do not go to your provider’s office or a walk-in urgent care clinic.

At Wentworth-Douglass, we have a system in place that will address each person’s unique situation. Once we have your information, and if it meets the screening criteria, your provider will reach out to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services for guidance and possible testing.

If you are sick enough to see a health care provider, call your provider’s office before going to their office. If you have been in close contact with someone who has laboratory-proven coronavirus, call before going to the provider’s office.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

What should community members do to stay safe?

Although the risk to New Hampshire residents of the novel coronavirus is low, the risk for influenza is currently high. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes. Cough into your arm or the inside bend in your elbow.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection.

Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?

Public health officials believe that the cloth masks do little to protect against coronavirus and can give people a false sense of security. The best protection against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water is not readily available, alcohol-based hand rubs are also an option.

Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the health care setting.

When is it appropriate to wear a mask in public?

If you are sick and need to go out. Masks are appropriate in waiting rooms, if you need to wait for an extended period, or if you are caring for someone who is sick.

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Infectious Disease

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