To The Daily Sun,
I am a Registered Nurse and have been for over 47 years. I started my career as an Operating Room Nurse and wore a surgical face mask all day long to protect my patients from my respiratory secretions. All who work in a sterile environment are required to do so. The hours can be long, and not a single health care worker ever developed any health related issues to the long mask wearing.
Eighteen months ago, I was asked to come out of retirement to assist with New Hampshire's COVID response. My role as a Public Health Nurse for the State of New Hampshire was titled Subject Matter Expert in Infectious Disease, as it was before my initial retirement in 2018. I responded to calls and emails with questions and concerns from physicians, PA’s, Nurse Practitioners and clinicians from emergency rooms throughout the state, school nurses and daycare providers as well as the general public. All of the callers wanted to do the right thing for their patients, family and friends.
I want the Laconia School system to do the right thing for the protection of all our children and our staff.
Currently there is substantial transmission of COVID-19 in all 10 New Hampshire counties.
On Aug. 31, the state announced 337 cases. There had been an average of 252 cases per day over the most recent seven-day period. This is a 42-percent increase compared to the previous seven-day period. Just for comparison, when I ended my employment in July, the daily case rate was between 30-40.
Data as of Aug. 31: Belknap County showed a seven-day positivity rate of 6.6 percent. In Belknap County over the last seven days there were 440 new cases!
In Laconia, over the last 14 days, there were 103 cases. However, we cannot look at Laconia alone as people travel here from all over the county to work and play (never mind from the entire state and those from outside New Hampshire).
What are the Best Practices for keeping safe in school?
July 19: American Academy of Pediatrics put out a statement that everyone in school from 2 years and older should wear masks.
Aug. 31: CDC says: “To maximize protection from the Delta variant (which is twice as infectious and multiplies more than twice as fast) and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask.
Please be aware that both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission are possible – even common. Studies have found that viral load peaks in the days before symptoms begin and that speaking is enough to expel virus-carrying droplets. What shapes this guidance on masks is that we can’t tell who’s infected. You can’t look in a crowd and say, oh, that person should wear mask. There’s a lot of asymptomatic infection, so everybody has to wear a mask.”
What Can Be Done?
I end this with a plea that the school board make the correct decision to protect the children and the staff and require face masks.