Substantial community spread of COVID-19 seen in Strafford County

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Strafford County is now seeing a rapid uptick in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, prompting health officials to send out a warning.

The county is the fifth in New Hampshire to be flagged for having substantial community spread of the coronavirus.

Officials at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital said they aren’t treating many patients with COVID-19 at the moment, but because of the rise in cases, they are preparing for what could be a challenging winter. The hospital has a testing center up and running off Exit 9 of the Spaulding Turnpike, and medical workers say they’re seeing hundreds of people every day.

“We are seeing definitely an increase in positives coming forward as we increase testing,” said Martha Wassell, director of infection prevention. “We see this sharp increase, and it’s not just one or two days, this is a trend, and it’s a significant increase every single day.”

The Strafford County Public Health Network is seeing the same trend across the area.

“We are now moving to cases per day that matches where we were at our worst,” said Scott Schuler, of Strafford County Public Health Network.

Health officials are urging people to limit time at indoor public settings.

“The longer you are exposed to the virus, the more likely you will receive it,” Schuler said. “We want to reduce the amount of time you are indoors and the total number of times that you go.”

People are also being asked to limit indoor gatherings, especially during the holidays.

“Preventing transmission especially in this season, when we are seeing what we are seeing and the increase in the number of positives that we’re seeing, limit the amount of people coming into your home,” Wassell said.

Medical experts are urging people to wear a mask and social distance, especially in indoor settings.

Learn more about the Strafford County Public Health Network

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