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N.H. man with coronavirus ordered to self-quarantine

A technologist demonstrated a coronavirus test processing procedure.
A technologist demonstrated a coronavirus test processing procedure.Johnny Milano/The New York Times

The first New Hampshire resident to test positive for coronavirus has been ordered by the state to remain in isolation after he attended a private event in Vermont attended by over 100 people and was found to have infected a co-worker, according to state officials.

Both New Hampshire men who tested positive for the virus live in Grafton County and work for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, but neither has had contact with patients, according to the hospital. The men are recovering at home while awaiting confirmation of their test results from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

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The first man tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, days after he returned from a trip to Italy, where more than 3,000 people have been infected, more than 100 have died, and schools have been closed to slow the virus’s spread.

Despite being told to isolate himself, the man attended an invitation-only event Friday at the Engine Room in White River Junction, Vt., officials said. New Hampshire officials issued an order of isolation for the man.

Attendees who had close contact with the man were asked to quarantine themselves and monitor for symptoms, but other patrons should have little to worry about, New Hampshire officials said.

“The rest of the people at that party are considered low risk and are not asked to self-quarantine, but simply to monitor themselves for symptoms and concerns, and if they develop symptoms, reach out to a health care provider,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist.

Following the event, the Vermont Health Department worked with the Engine Room’s management “to ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing efforts were carried out to prevent spread,” the department said in a statement. Vermont officials have also asked residents who were at the venue on Friday to call 802-863-7240.

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“People in this situation — with only minimal possible contact with a case — are still considered to be at low risk for infection, but out of an abundance of caution the department is seeking contact from anyone in attendance,” said Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s health commissioner, in the statement.

New Hampshire public health officials are investigating both men’s contacts with others and expect to identify additional, related cases, state officials said. So far, 10 other New Hampshire residents have tested negative for the virus and seven more are awaiting results, the department said.

Officials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said Wednesday that they are working closely with state health officials and have quarantined people who had close contact with the men.

“What you should know is that we are very closely monitoring, with the state, all these individuals in quarantine, and as they are becoming symptomatic, we are getting them tested right away,” Dr. Antonia L. Altomare, the hospital’s epidemiologist, said in a video message Wednesday.

There are more than 120 coronavirus cases in the United States, spread across at least 15 states. There have been 11 deaths, all but one in Washington state.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.




Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.