Guests at WRJ party with virus patient asked to self-quarantine

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 5:25 PM EST
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Health officials say that while two people in New Hampshire so far have tested positive this week for COVID-19, they are looking closely at over 100 others that may have come into contact with one of the victims at a popular White River Junction club.

Just off Main Street in downtown White River Junction, there's a music venue called The Engine Room that holds up to 200 people. Doors were closed Wednesday and there was no sign of activity inside. Health officials say an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus attended a function at the club Friday night.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center says both people who tested positive earlier in the week are employees of the hospital. They say the second man contracted it from the first man, who contracted it on a trip to Italy. They say neither employee has had contact with patients.

"I think we are in for a long road with this epidemic," said Steve Clancy of South Woodstock. He says he travels on planes from time to time and is conscious of what's going on around him. "You start to be wary of people who are coughing and sneezing, getting too close, shaking hands. It is changing the way we approach things. The way we socialize with people."

It's a change in human behavior that Lebanon resident Keely Marie has also noticed after recently running into an old friend. "I reached out my hand to say, 'Good morning, how are you? I haven't seen you.' And two hands went up in the air and he was like, I'm not shaking your hand," she said.

New Hampshire's state epidemiologist says more than 100 people attended the private party at the Engine Room but only a handful had close enough contact to warrant being quarantined. The coronavirus is still considered "low risk" as cases continue to pop up around the world.

"I don't know enough about it, and if I did more know more, I probably would be nervous. But right now, life goes on," Marie said.

As of Wednesday, Vermont health officials say 115 people are currently being monitored for coronavirus, 20 people have been cleared and are not being monitored anymore, and three have tested negative. There have been no positive tests in Vermont.

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