Weekly Update - May 7, 2021 - Nashua, NH
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Weekly Update - May 7, 2021 Dear Community Partners, As the chief public health strategist for the Greater Nashua Public Health Region (GNPHR), the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services (DPHCS) will continue to send weekly updates to inform our community on the current status of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, the response efforts by the City of Nashua and Greater Nashua Public Health Network (GNPHN), and any additional updates related to the health and safety of our community. COVID-19 Data Update We continue to experience substantial community level transmission of COVID-19 in the City of Nashua. Substantial community level transmission is determined by two metrics established in conjunction with the State of New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When one of the metrics exceeds the set threshold, a community is designated as "RED" or substantial. Currently we are exceeding the thresholds set on one metric: new infections per 100k. Total Cases: All confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, either active or recovered. Active Case: A case that is currently sick or in isolation due to COVID-19. New Infections per 100k: Number of new cases within 14 days standardized by population size to compare across groups. This shows how quickly disease is occurring in the community or the incidence of disease. 7-Day Total Test Positivity Rate: Number of PCR and Antigen tests that are positive compared to the number of PCR and Antigen tests that are negative over the past 7 days. A rising positivity rate indicates a rising number of infections in the community. Public health officials are strongly urging everyone to stay home if you are sick (except to get medical care), avoid social gatherings, maintain physical distancing of six feet or more, wear face coverings, and wash your hands frequently. "Post-COVID Syndrome" You may have heard talk about the possible long-
term effects of COVID-19, also known as "Post- COVID Syndrome" or "Long COVID". The virus that causes COVID-19 can damage the lungs, heart, and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems. Research suggests COVID-19 can affect your health after recovery, even if you experienced mild illness or asymptomatic infection. While older people and people with many serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience lingering COVID-19 symptoms, even young, healthy people can feel unwell for weeks to months after infection. Research out of the Washington University School of Medicine examined 87,000 COVID-19 patients and 5 million control patients from a VA database. They found COVID-19 patients had a 59% higher risk of death up to six months after infection, compared to non-infected people. In a recent MMWR released by the CDC, it was found that two thirds of mild COVID-19 cases returned to their doctor within six months of their initial infection with new symptoms, 40% of which needed to see a specialist. More than 3,100 cases were reviewed for the study, none of which had been hospitalized for their initial infections. The patients who returned to the doctor were more likely to be African American, women, and people over the age of 50. About 10% of them were given a second diagnosis of an active COVID-19 infection. Many of the long-term effects remain unknown at this time, but research is ongoing. It is recommended that health care providers closely monitor patients who have had COVID-19 to see how their organs function after recovery. Although most people who have COVID-19 recover quickly, the potential long-lasting problems from COVID-19 make it even more important for communities to reduce the spread of the virus. Vaccination, mask wearing, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene continue to be necessary steps in ending this pandemic. Vaccinations remain the key to transforming the virus into a controllable threat. “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense,” he added. “I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.” State of NH Issues Universal Best Practices Effective Friday, May 7th, the State of New Hampshire (NH) is replacing all “Safer at Home 2.0” business operations guidance with Universal Best Practices. These are recommendations for all individuals, businesses, and organizations to consider and implement for their business operations. The State has also provided additional considerations for overnight congregate settings for children. Nothing in this guidance precludes any business or organization from taking additional precautions for the health and safety of its employees and consumers. The full document and further information can be found in the attached one-page quick guide below. NH Universal Best Practices Quick Guide
Viruses Do Not Discriminate - Neither Should We As COVID-19 infections continue across the country, one in four Americans associate shame with COVID-19, the National Johns Hopkins University Pandemic Pulse project found. This stigma of COVID-19 “stops people from accessing health services and prevents public health measures from effectively controlling pandemics,” says Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS. People reported being hesitant to notify others they may have exposed or to seek medical care unless their symptoms got worse. One of the clearest impacts of stigma associated with COVID-19 is that if people are hesitant to tell others that they might have inadvertently exposed them, the virus will keep circulating unchecked. For example, a coworker might not disclose a potential exposure for fear of angering others or being fired. Or a family member may not disclose a COVID-19 positive test because they don’t want their child to be “shunned” or not allowed to go to school. This stigma is associated with The virus that causes COVID-19 does not discriminate. COVID-19 can affect anyone regardless of race, gender, age, and other personal qualities. People who contract COVID-19 should not be treated differently. As a community, we need to work together to make sure individuals know that if they have symptoms, were exposed, or have a positive test result, it is okay to tell others, especially people you had close contact with. Read the full Johns Hopkins article here.
Poison Ivy: Leaves of three, let them be! An estimated 70 to 90 percent of people are allergic to urushiol oil, the culprit that causes the irritating rash when your skin comes into contact with poison ivy. Poison ivy is a shrub with alternate, compound leaves containing three leaflets. The leaves are extremely variable and can range from smooth, toothed, or lobed margins, and from stiff and leathery to thin and papery. They turn red, gold, and purple in color in autumn. All parts of poison ivy contain a dangerous skin irritant that is poisonous to the touch in all seasons. Usually within two days after touching the plant or coming in contact with other objects that have touched the plant, a rash develops from an allergic reaction the poison ivy oils.
If you have been exposed to poison ivy: Wash the affected area with soap and water as soon as possible. If the rash is severe, use skin cleansers specially formulated to remove poison ivy oils. Wet compresses, taking a cool bath, and applying topical steroid creams or calamine lotion can help soothe the rash. To prevent exposure, it is important to be able to recognize poison ivy. poison ivy isn't always so easy to spot. Be alert to the many forms of poison ivy. Avoid all plants, bushes, and climbing vines with three leaflets that may have smooth or rough edges, which may be shiny or dull in appearance. Gate City Bike Co-Op Holds Fundraiser Need wheels? Gate City Bike Co-Op repairs donated used bikes and gives them to greater Nashua area low- income residents, for free. Gate City Co-op is holding its annual fundraiser to keep this valuable program going: Sat, May 22 10am - 4pm 52 Amherst Street, Nashua (Across from Five Guys) Find a quality used bike, priced at a fraction of the original cost, tuned and ready to ride. There are adult and children's sizes. Mountain, road, and vintage bikes are available. Cash or check ONLY. Contact GateCityBikeCoop.org or 603-759-9056 for more information. Download Flyer Here National Prevention Week (NPW) The tenth anniversary of National Prevention Week (NPW) takes place on May 9th through May 15th. The purpose of the weeklong event is to involve communities to raise awareness of substance misuse and mental health issues, to increase collaborations and partnerships between agencies to improve public health, and to promote substance use prevention and mental health resources and services. National Prevention Week takes place in May because this is the beginning of summer and the end of the school year for older adolescents and young adults. Many high school students are preparing for prom and other celebrations, while college students are preparing for summer break. May is the beginning of a time of social transition, a risk factor for youth substance use. Timing for National Prevention Week provides an opportunity for schools to participate in raising awareness of these important issues and gives schools, families, and communities a chance to strengthen community health prior to these transition periods. Each year, National Prevention Week includes daily themes to focus on major substance use and mental health topics. The 2021 daily themes are: Monday, May 10: Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Misuse Tuesday, May 11: Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse Wednesday, May 12: Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use Thursday, May 13: Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-Cigarettes & Vaping) Friday, May 14: Preventing Suicide
More information can be found at www.SAMHSA.gov. EQUITY CORNER: About Ramadan As Muslims observe the final days of Ramadan with fasting and prayer, the conversation around the permissibility of vaccinations during fasting continues. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, with exceptions for the sick and elderly as well as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Access to the COVID-19 vaccines shot up around the time that Ramadan started in April. As a result, Muslims around the country are concerned that the injection can break your fast. Saudi Arabia’s highest cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh and the Sunni top religious leader in Lebanon, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian, both have said that getting the coronavirus vaccine does not break one’s fast. Similar statements have come from Islamic leaders throughout New England and the United States. The Lancet did make recommendations to address the challenge for those who may continue to be reluctant during Ramadan to get the vaccine. “A solution to this problem would be to extend vaccination times outside of fasts, such as during special Ramadan nightly prayers, Taraweeh. Using mosques as vaccination sites would allow vaccinations to occur during Ramadan, including in non-fasting hours. Concerns about vaccine-related side-effects and requiring to break the fast should be addressed and weighed against the serious morbidity related to COVID-19. Vaccinations are the greatest tool to aid the world back to normality, and to the gradual return of celebrating festivals and future Ramadans.” The Nashua DPHCS continues to host vaccination clinics in the Greater Nashua Region. For information, call our hotline at 603-589-3456. Nashua DPHCS Launches Mental Health Campaign Since 1949, May has been designated Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and is an integral part of our overall health, according to mentalhealth.gov. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. When mental health is prioritized and supported, people can realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities. Part of maintaining our mental health and well-being is getting professional help when needed, connecting with others, developing coping skills, along with getting enough sleep and physical exercise. Throughout the lifespan, mental health problems can affect your thinking, mood, and behaviors. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse Family history of mental health problems In a community survey conducted by the Nashua DPHCS in 2020, it was found that as a result of COVID- 19, 58.2% of survey participants reported experiencing an increase of feeling anxious, nervous, or on the edge, 50% reported experiencing an increase of news or social media related anxiety or stress, and 36.4% reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless.
“There are early warning signs when people are experiencing mental health problems. We want our community to know that help is available and people can get better. Many people who face mental health problems are able to fully recover.” said Lisa Vasquez, City of Nashua DPHCS Behavioral Health Strategist. “It is because of this, that the City of Nashua Mayor’s Opioid Task Force is pleased to announce the adoption of the Change Direction Campaign in the Greater Nashua region.” Beginning in May, we are kicking-off Mental Health Awareness Month with a marketing campaign to promote the national Change Direction: 5 Signs of Emotional Suffering movement. The goal of this campaign is to change the culture of mental health so that all of those in need receive the care and support they deserve. This campaign encourages everyone to pay attention to their emotional well- being, reminding us that it is just as important as our physical well-being. The Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and the Healthy Habits of Emotional Wellbeing graphics used in campaign materials provide a common language to identify when someone is suffering and how we can stay emotionally healthy. If you or someone you live is experiencing a mental health crisis or needs support, call a mental health professional help is available. For more information about mental health providers in your area, contact your insurance company to get linked to a provider or call 2-1-1. You can also reach out to the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center at (603) 889-6147 or their 24/7 Emergency Line at (800) 762- 8191. We encourage our community to let us know what you think of our Mental Health Campaign by following us on Facebook (@NashuaDPHCS), Twitter (@NashuaPHealth), and Instagram (@NashuaDPHCS), and sending us photos of our materials in town! Additional Resources Nashua COVID-19 Hotline: 603-589-3456 Upcoming Events New Hampshire COVID-19 Website SSANA May 10, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Between Temple St. & Cottage St., Nashua Nashua COVID-19 Website Harbor Care COVID-19 Testing Clinic May 10, 3 - 6 p.m. (45 High St., Nashua) By Appointment: 603-821-7788 Greater Nashua Data
Dashboard DPHCS COVID-19 Testing Clinic May 11, 3 - 4:30 p.m. Elm Street Parking Garage By Appointment: Register Here CDC COVID-19 Website (English) Immunizations, Child Lead Testing May 11, 3:30 - 5 p.m. Elm St. Middle School Front Parking Lot (117 Elm St., Nashua) CDC COVID-19 Website (Spanish) Immunizations, STD/HIV/HCV Testing May 12, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Elm St. Middle School Front Parking Lot (117 Elm St., Nashua) Vaccination Information SSANA May 12, 2 - 4 p.m. (29 Temple St., Nashua) Food Resources STD/HIV/HCV Testing May 13, 5 - 7 p.m. Lamprey Health Care (22 Prospect St., Nashua) By Appointment: Register Here STD/HIV/HCV Testing May 13, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Laton House (28 Railroad Sq., Nashua) PLEASE NOTE: COVID-19 vaccines are NOT offered at our mobile immunization clinics listed in this section. For information about getting vaccinated against COVID-19, please visit vaccines.nh.gov or call 2-1-1. Full DPHCS Mobile Outreach Schedule
The New Hampshire Public Health Association NHResponds is the system used pre-register health (NHPHA) supports science based public health policy and general volunteers who have are interested in and has a goal of informing citizenry of changes responding in an emergency. Whether you are a needed in the laws and government in order to healthcare provider, administrative specialist, a improve public health. They track bills and attend retired professional - anyone ready to help in your hearings on public health issues. Subscribe to the community - New Hampshire needs you. Check it ”Health in All Policies” E-News on their website. out! City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services STAY CONNECTED! Greater Nashua Public Health Network (603) 589-4500 www.nashuanh.gov/DPHCS
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