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First Person In N.H. Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, speaks about the first confirmed case of coronavirus in N.H., flanked by Governor Sununu and the congressional delegation. (Dan Tuohy/New Hampshire Public Radio)
Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, speaks about the first confirmed case of coronavirus in N.H., flanked by Governor Sununu and the congressional delegation. (Dan Tuohy/New Hampshire Public Radio)

The first positive test results for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 have been identified in New Hampshire, according to state health officials Monday morning.

The patient is an employee of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and recently returned from Italy. They presented mild symptoms and are currently on home isolation.

State health officials performed the test, which is now being sent to the CDC for confirmation.

State epidemiologist Benjamin Chan says the state is not waiting for CDC confirmation to take action, however. He says the state, in coordination with DHMC, is investigating what contacts the patient may have had with others before being diagnosed.

"We will continue to work with our partners to respond to this newest challenge, but I have every confidence in our staff to try to prevent further spread in our communities," said Chan.

Chan would not confirm whether others are currently being held in isolation in connection with this case.

The news of New Hampshire's first coronavirus case came during a press conference with the governor and the state's congressional delegation that was meant to convey a bipartisan state and federal approach to dealing with the public health threat.

"What we want to convey to people is stay calm, remain calm, and wash your hands," said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. "Most people won't be impacted, but it's important to take steps to keep you and your family safe."

Kuster said she expects a plan for supplemental appropriations to reach the House floor this week, which would provide more federal resources for the state-level response to coronavirus.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio.

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