Catholic Medical Center (CMC) and Elliot Hospital (part of SolutionHealth), in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, are each investigating a cluster of patients and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier this week at CMC, two asymptomatic patients from the same unit were discovered to be positive after being tested for placement at long-term care facilities. At the same time, a staff member on that unit also tested positive.
Out of an abundance of caution, CMC has tested all patients on that unit and more than 600 employees—anyone who may have been even remotely exposed between May 20th and May 26th. Seven patients and seven staff have come back positive, though employee test results continue to come back. None of the seven patients had shown COVID-19 symptoms at the time of testing.
Similarly, at Elliot Hospital, five patients on the geriatric psychiatric unit have tested positive. The hospital is currently testing the remaining patients and all staff on the unit.
Both hospitals are conducting contact tracing to determine the source and scope of exposure, which appears to have occurred via asymptomatic spread in both cases.
“The asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 makes this an especially insidious virus,” said CMC President & CEO Joseph Pepe, MD. “I want to recognize the swift response of the team here to conduct widespread testing so that we can appropriately care for those who are positive and reduce the risk to others.”
“The fluctuation in COVID-19 cases is not surprising given the experience in the rest of the country,” stated Elliot Hospital President and SolutionHealth Executive Vice President Greg Baxter, MD. “And it’s important to remember that, as requested by the Governor in his stay at home order, we’ve developed a system that allows us to flex our resources to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as meet the needs of patients who are suffering from delaying their care during the early weeks of the pandemic.”
Both hospitals remain prepared for a surge in COVID-19 patients and continue to remain vigilant of community spread. In the coming days, both hospitals will continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and Commissioner Shibinette to manage these emerging situations.