CONCORD (AP) — A Bedford public school canceled a scheduled visit Friday by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson for the New Hampshire Department of Education said.
“They had informed us this morning that they had a positive test and obviously wanted to cancel the visit” at McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, spokesperson Grant Bosse said.
DeVos did go on to visit Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford, he said.
The decision regarding McKelvie was made by school officials in Bedford, he said.
“We defer to local officials on how to run their schools,” he said. “Not being in the middle of the school while they were doing contact tracing and other things like that just made sense.”
The schools were chosen because of how they notified families about earlier cases of the virus, according to a school board meeting this week.
The U.S. Department of Education did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced 48 new positive test results for COVID-19, but no additional COVID-19-related deaths.
There have now been 7,861 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in New Hampshire and the number of deaths remains at 438.
DHHS reported no additional hospitalizations for COVID-19 and there are 7 current hospitalizations. The state lists 306 active cases and 7,117 people as having recovered from the coronavirus.
Of the 48 new cases, 14 people are under the age of 18. The new cases are in Rockingham (10), Strafford (5), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (4), Merrimack (4), and Carroll (1) counties, and in Manchester (14) and Nashua (6). The county of residence is being determined for four new cases.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire increased over the past two weeks from 22 new cases per day on Sept. 3 to 34 on Sept. 17.
State epidemiologist Dr. Ben Chan on Thursday said the increase was mainly due to more testing in colleges, universities and school districts and that the state was not experiencing a surge. He did urge continued social distancing and other community mitigation measures.
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City Hall closing
Two new positive COVID-19 cases have been identified at Nashua City Hall, bringing the total among staff to six and news that City Hall will close for two weeks, officials said.
City Hall will be closed starting Monday through Oct. 5. Essential services, such as motor vehicle, city clerk, and tax office transactions, will remain available via phone, email and dropbox, the city said.
Last week, Mayor Jim Donchess said he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he hadn’t been feeling extremely sick.
“City leaders are working with Nashua’s Department of Public Health and Community Services on health and safety protocols at this time, as well as sharing information with City Hall employees to main the wellbeing of all,” Donchess said in a statement. “The health and safety of city employees and members of the public is the No. 1 priority.”
Nashua was one of the first communities in the state to enact a face mask ordinance.