DHMC’s Handling of COVID-19
The first person to test positive for COVID-19 in New Hampshire was an employee at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Our little town is on the map!
All jokes aside, a resident from the medical center, who had recently returned from Italy, was said to have the virus on March second. While waiting for results, the employee was told to self-isolate. He did not.
Naturally, as a Dartmouth Student, he went to a mixer at the Tuck School of Business. Naturally, a second case was confirmed soon after.
The mixer was said to have had about one hundred and forty attendees–one hundred from the business school and the rest from DHMC (mostly resident physicians). Apparently, investigators were sent to trace those who were in direct contact with the known carrier. Those who did not interact with the student were told to monitor their health and inform authorities if any symptoms appeared. However, considering this was a gathering with many people in close quarters–and considering how highly transmissible COVID is–it’s not difficult to believe that perhaps many more than just those who had direct contact with the man now have the sickness.
The second case was said to be a “close contact” of the first, and both showed flu-like symptoms after trips to Italy. The illness manifested itself in fevers and respiratory issues for the students and each was advised to quarantine himself.
Though angry community members have railed against the initial individual, claiming he should be fined or even imprisoned, he was under no legal obligation to isolate himself because it was not yet confirmed he had the illness. So, though be it certainly irresponsible, the patient did not commit a crime.
This brings us to question what the medical center is doing now to combat the so-called “pandemic.” On its website, DHMC claims, “when confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the U.S. escalated early last week, we immediately implemented established appropriate response protocols. These protocols included activating internal, multi-disciplinary teams that work closely with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and that are trained to respond to rapidly-evolving situations such as COVID-19.”
They also note that not all those directed to self-quarantine indeed comply, but “all appropriate procedures were followed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and we are confident that no patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock were put at risk of exposure”.
Personally, none of this really puts me at ease about the whole epidemic. In fact, it seems like, for the most part, the continued spread of the virus is inevitable. And on that note, dear reader, though I can offer no comfort, I wish you well.