Manchester activates Emergency Operations Center around coronavirus prevention

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coronavirus testkit sample 5
CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is being shipped out to designted laboratories. Photo/CDC

MANCHESTER, NH — While there have been no known cases of suspected or confirmed illness among residents who live within Manchester to-date, the City of Manchester Health Department (MHD), the Fire Department (MFD) and Mayor Joyce Craig, are jointly activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support ongoing planning and coordination of prevention efforts to address the potential threat of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Monday the State DHHS announced NH’s first confirmed case of the disease is a health worker from Dartmouth-Hitchcock who recently traveled to Italy.

The EOC provides a mechanism for more efficient and effective communication among key stakeholders, including but not limited to elected officials, healthcare leadership, and emergency responders. Daily communication and coordination is also occurring with the NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) to ensure alignment with state plans and dissemination of pertinent information from the federal level.

In addition, MHD, MFD, and partners have been working to create plans and build community capacity to respond to large-scale, infectious disease outbreaks since 9/11. These plans and infrastructure are serving as the foundation of our local prevention efforts and response to COVID-19, if warranted.

We are communicating with health care partners to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information to guide clinical decision-making for their patients, as well as the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Manchester School District, and local businesses. Lastly, we are working with NH DHHS daily to continuously monitor the situation in NH and proactively implement public health prevention measures based upon the best available science and in accordance with state law.

The following are steps that the public can take to help prevent COVID-19, as well as influenza and other respiratory illnesses, in general:

Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, especially before eating;

  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and throw tissues in the trash after you use them;
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that may be contaminated, such as shared dining areas and doorknobs;
  • If you get sick, stay home from work, school, or daycare until your fever has been gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines;
  • Adhere to all travel advisories issued at a federal level; and
  • It is NOT necessary to bulk purchase face masks and other supplies for your home.

This is a developing situation that will require the public to check in frequently for the most current information.
A 24/7 phone line (603-271-4496) has been established by NH DHHS to answer questions from health care providers and the public.

Please visit the NH DHHS’s COVID-19 webpage for ongoing updates and information regarding the situation within NH. A City of Manchester webpage is also under development.

Please visit the following links for a Situation Summary and FAQs regarding COVID-19 at an international/federal level as of this media release.

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Office of Mayor Joyce Craig