STRAFFORD COUNTY

COMMISSIONERS

WILLIAM A. GRIMES

Justice & Administration Building,

259 County Farm Road, Suite 204, Dover, New Hampshire 03820

PRESS RELEASE

April 3, 2020

Over the last several days, Governor Chris Sununu and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, Department of Health and Human Services, have advised the media/press of clusters of COVID-19 showing up in group living facilities. The Governor and Dr. Chan refused to name the facilities, indicating that it is the individual facility’s obligation to do so.

In Strafford County, we have taken great measures to protect our nursing home residents, detainees/inmates at the House of Corrections, and our employees. These measures include following all Federal and State recommended infection precautions and consist of employee screening prior to entering the work place, the use of masks and other preventative gear (PPE) beyond the basic recommendations, and good hand sanitizing. To date, we have had no cases of COVID-19 for Riverside Rest Home residents or House of Corrections detainees/inmates.

In order to offer full disclosure to the public, and to alleviate the concerns for the unknown from families and staff, we are pledging to immediately release numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 of our residents and/or detainees/inmates. The information will not include specific names, but will include general methods of treatment and the status of the resident and/or detainee/inmate.

Please remember to keep all employees who are working hard to keep you and those they serve safe during these challenging times in your thoughts and prayers.

We are in this together and we will get through this together.

                                                       Strafford County Commissioners

                                                          George Maglaras, Chairman

                                                          Robert J. Watson

                                                          Deanna S. Rollo, Clerk

 

IMPORTANT!

NOTICE OF BUILDING CLOSURE

EFFECTIVE TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2020

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Strafford County Courthouse will be closed to the public, with the following exceptions:

  • Individuals who need to do business with Circuit and Superior Court clerk’s offices;

  • Individuals involved in court hearings permitted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court Order dated March 16, 2020; and

  • Individuals with pre-approved business with County or State personnel.

For those entering the Courthouse, a brief survey will be conducted to ensure the health and safety of yourself and personnel.

All essential State and County personnel will be allowed into the building to conduct business. Please be supportive and patient as we work together to fight this pandemic and keep our personnel safe. We thank you in advance for your support and cooperation.

Based on the potential devastating effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), we are taking all steps suggested by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to deter the disease’s progress. Strafford County’s Team has been working diligently and the closure of the Courthouse was determined the best course of action to continue to protect staff from the likely spread of the Corona virus (Covid-19).

                                                                        Raymond F. Bower

                                                                        Raymond F. Bower

                                                                        County Administrator

 

This summarizes the facts of the COVID-19 that are known thus far

This summarizes the facts of the COVID-19 that are known thus far and summarizes the current recommendations of CDC, CMS and NH DHHS effective February 27, 2020.

Emergence of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) has certainly increased surveillance of influenza like illness globally. New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services provides frequent health alerts and has been offering Webinars to review current status and evolving public health response to the illness.Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issues clear guidance and recommendations from the CDC ( US Centers for Disease Control ) to protect patients and residents of healthcare facilities from the spread of infectious disease.

As required by the 2016 Emergency Preparedness Final Rule, Riverside Rest Home has an active Infection control team, led by Christopher Hamilton, RN. There are numerous policies and procedures already in place, the most prominent being Standard precautions for Contact and Airborne infections.Riverside Rest Home has been aggressive in education and enforcing the CDC's Infection Control Recommendations, for not only COVID-19, but for all infectious disease both named and emerging infection.

HOW COVID-19 IS DIFFERENT COVID-19 is evolving quickly. News of new quarantines and rapid viral spread,scarcity of medical staff, medications, equipment and personal protective devices are making headlines daily causing fear and potential distrust in the news. Words like "pandemic, "global" "quarantine" are becoming common place and causing fear. 

There are thousands of people in New Hampshire right now with influenza (flu)with a 7.65 increase from last week.COVID-19 is affecting elders, people with underlying illness and males. Children are seemingly spared. More than 80% of cases are considered mild.In the United States, every year, 5-20% of the population will get the seasonal flu. More than 200,000 people will be hospitalized and about 36,000 will die from flu related causes.Influenza affects children, 36 children have died of the flu this year alone.

The flu can be scary in its own way, the symptoms come on quickly and heavily and the virus causing the flu changes frequently. There is poor immunity year to year which is why the flu shot is given yearly, it will boost immunity towards the viruses identified as causing the most type of illness. The flu shot has had lower than hoped for efficacy and that is a focus for researchers to improve. The current philosophy is that some protection is better than none. There is aprescription medication, Tamiflu, which can prevent the flu or reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms.In contrast, COVID-19 has caused 82,588 people to become ill, of these 2,814 have died (8%). There are 46,429 currently ill patients globally.

The concern now is that the virus continues to be spread.There is no vaccine or medication for COVID-19. There is no cure on the horizon,but there is no cure for the flu either. Flu has been talked about for centuries,COVID-19 is brand new, no one alive has any immunity to it. What we do not know about how to best diagnose it, treat it and prevent its spread is causing wide spread fear.Many people have expressed their fears of contracting COVID-19. They have bought in cleaning products and inquired about masks. My advice to staff,residents and visitors is that this is not a time for panic, but a time for planning.Make a sick day plan, obtain a supply of Tylenol or ibuprophen, cough syrup and fluids of their choice. I have read and heard many stories of hoarding canned foods, tissues and supplies. This is a time to be planning for mutual support and education in our communities.I tell people to expect that they will be affected by a viral illness and plan accordingly. In the face of an illness that spreads quickly, with no known cure, the one thing you CAN do is to try to prevent exposure. The CDC Clean Hands Campaign supports healthcare workers to adhere to hand hygiene recommendations.

NH DHHS health alert of 2/26/2020 clearly delineates the current travel advisories and surveillance of symptoms. Testing supplies are limited to US CDC at this time which will delay formal diagnosis. People with mild symptoms within 14 days of travel are being asked to stay home, avoid publicplaces until symptoms resolve. Mild symptoms are defined as upper respiratory with minimal cough.NH DHHS recommends that infection prevention strategies continue to be reinforced for the prevention of all contagious illness, including hand washing {20seconds in duration), covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, frequent hand washing as described in the RRH policy and procedure handbook, anew recommendation is to try to avoid being in the six feet radius of an ill person,to which we know is an impossibility for those providing direct patient care. Iknow you have a good supply of PPE and are aware that N95 masks are a near impossibility to obtain, but that Cheryl Moultan has been diligent in pursing them and that she has many items on backorder.

So while I believe RRH is in a very proactive position here, I believe continued monitoring of hand washing techniques, as you have instituted, staff support and education continue to be the main targets here. Staff have been educated to stay home if they are ill and have been willing to comply. I believe your plan of the dedicated disaster team isan excellent one, where staff will be provided accommodations on site for the duration. We do have one negative pressure room. Again, the far bigger threat is of influenza outbreak and the rapid response plan has been Tamiflu twice a day for POSITIVE residents and maintenance therapy for roommates and bathroom sharers.The last recommendation to consider is facility wide screening of families and visitors about their recent travel and if symptomatic, to replace an in person visit with telephone or Facetime.This information will be updated as more information becomes available.

Respectfully submitted, Lynn K Devlin, APRN 

Additional Information relesed fromWentworth Douglas hospital

 

WELCOME TO STRAFFORD COUNTY, NH!


Welcome you to the Strafford County website. Whether you are a current, past, or prospective resident, we hope you enjoy your visit to our virtual home.

County Functions and Responsibilities

The County is currently responsible for: Caring for the elderly in need of nursing home care at Riverside Rest Home; operating a regional jail/house of correction, together with a jail industries program, community corrections program, drug and mental health courts, and a transitional housing program; the County Attorney oversees and provides for the prosecution of criminals; operates a domestic violence unit, child advocacy center, and family justice center; the Sheriff oversee and handles the transportation of criminals, delivery of writs and other Court-related paperwork, operates a Communications and Dispatch Center, and oversees Courthouse security; the Register of Deeds is responsible for the recording of official land transfer documents at the Registry; the Treasurer, together with the Commissioners, oversee the payment of all County financial obligations; as well as a variety of other community-related programs to assist the citizens of the County.

County Government’s Structure

The structure of County government today is modeled after a basic three-branch system of government. The three County Commissioners make up the Executive branch, with responsibility for the day‑to‑day operations of County government, in both fiscal and policy matters. In Strafford County, the Commissioners are elected for two-year terms, at large, meaning from anywhere in Strafford County.

By virtue of election to the State House, a Representative also becomes a member of the County Delegation, which in many counties meets several times a year. The Delegation works primarily on matters of budgeting, exercising its responsibility for appropriating money for County use, which makes up the Legislative branch of County government. It is likely that relatively few New Hampshire voters realize that when they elect their Representatives to the State House of Representatives they are also making them the legislative authority of their County.

Current County Events

Strafford County is made up of three cities: Dover, Rochester, and Somersworth; and ten towns: Barrington, Durham, Farmington, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Rollinsford, and Strafford, and is home to approximately 125,000 citizens. There are ten (10) counties in New Hampshire, of which Strafford County is the fourth largest in population. According to the 2010 Census the County's population was estimated at 123,143, with 80% of the population over the age of 18 and a median age of approximately 34. Strafford County's estimated racial/ethnic composition in 2010 was 94% White, 1% Black or African American, 3% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian or Alaskan Native, with the remainder of the population being made up of small percentages of other races. Individuals of Hispanic or Latino origin comprised almost 2% of the County’s population. There were 46,576 households reported in 2006-2010. The Census also found that the median household income in the County was $57,809.

A Brief History of Strafford County Government

County Government in New Hampshire began in 1771 with five (5) counties: Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Cheshire, and Grafton. Strafford County was organized at Dover in 1771 and was named after William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. Today, the County borders on Belknap, Carroll, Merrimack, and Rockingham Counties in New Hampshire and York County in Maine. The Court system was once a part of County Government, but is now operated by the State of New Hampshire. Roads, which were also previously the responsibility of the County, are now cared for by the State of New Hampshire or the city or town in which they are located. The State Department of Health and Human Services provides services to assist families and juveniles with behavior problems. These services were also provided by the County at one time.

We hope this little synopsis of County government has enlightened you as to the workings at this level of government in New Hampshire. For further information on individual offices and departments within the County, please go to their web page.

 

Very truly yours,

Strafford County Commissioners

George Maglaras

George Maglaras, Chairman

 Robert J. Watson

Robert J. Watson, Vice Chairman

 Deanna Rollo

 Deanna Rollo, Clerk