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Sununu releases guidelines to alert communities about coronavirus in schools

Gov. Chris Sununu
Gov. Chris Sununu
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2020 at 9:11 AM EDT
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Gov. Chris Sununu presented guidelines Thursday to alert communities if coronavirus cases develop in school districts.

Once a case is determined, public health officials will notify the individual and the school. Each school would have its own communication plan to notify the community of the case. While that individual remains at home, health officials will work with the family and school to determine any close contacts through contact tracing.

Students and faculty that test positive will stay at home until symptoms improve over 24 hours and it has been at least 10 days since the onset of those symptoms, Sununu said. They would be able to return to school once they’ve met those criteria and receive a letter from public health officials. Those identified as close contacts will also be asked to quarantine at home.

If multiple cases are detected, officials will determine whether they constitute a “cluster” or “outbreak,” Sununu said. A cluster would be three or more cases identified in one classroom or group working together. An outbreak is designated is if there is transmission identified between clusters. One example might be if two clusters were in a cafeteria, he said.

At that point, public health officials might recommend that schools transition to remote learning for at least 14 days.

He said public health officials will set up a website that will have updates on the status of schools.

In other education news, Sununu also issued an executive order requiring schools to offer special education services. He also expanded child care facility class size from 10 children to 20.

Other coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:

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LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES

Residents in most of New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities can now get indoor visits from one designated person, state Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette said Thursday.

The facilities also can allow limited, nonessential personnel such as hairstylists, to visit, Shibinette said.

Facilities may be able to increase the number of visitors indoors to two per resident if they are in a county that sees a drop in coronavirus cases to fewer than 10 per 100,000 people for a 14-day period, Shibinette said.

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MASKS REQUIRED

The city of Lebanon, New Hampshire, is the latest community to pass an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks in businesses, government buildings and other public indoor spaces during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Valley News reports the ordinance passed by the City Council on Wednesday requires employees to wear face coverings when they are within 6 feet of co-workers and customers who are not members of the same household.

Customers must wear mask when inside any “business, governmental or nonprofit,” or while riding on public transportation. Masks are “strongly recommended” for people utilizing the Northern Rail Trail, Mascoma River Greenway and sidewalks, but not required.

Violations could face a $100 fine for a first offense, and a $250 fine afterward.

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SENTENCE APPEAL

A man has asked a judge to suspend his 15-to-30-year sentence on a murder conspiracy conviction because of coronavirus concerns.

Jesse Brooks, along with others, including his millionaire father, John Brooks, were imprisoned following the 2005 slaying of a handyman they suspected of stealing.

Jesse Brooks, an inmate in Arizona, first asked for a chance to be released early in October. Brooks has a back injury, high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, and obesity, which put him at risk for severe consequences related to exposure to COVID-19, lawyers said in court paperwork.

Prosecutors objected to the request. A judge took the matter under advisement following a hearing Thursday.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Thursday, 6,921 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 34 from the previous day. There were two new deaths, for a total of 422. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks from 34 cases per day on July 29 to 28 per day on Aug. 12.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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