Mar 4, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus patient defies isolation directions to attend N.H. event

An image of the hospital in N.H.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Photo: Ken Gallager/Wiki Media

An employee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) who became the first coronavirus patient in New Hampshire defied directions to stay away from other people, state health officials confirmed in a statement Tuesday.

Details: Despite having been "directed to self-isolate," the patient attended a private event on Friday, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said. The health authority said it issued "an official order of isolation" following the patient's action.

  • It said it's contacting those who attended the event to recommend they isolate themselves for 14 days. DHMC has identified staff "who may have been exposed through close contact with the patient and will monitor those individuals' self-monitoring or self-isolating," the statement added.

The big picture: The patient's actions come as coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., which has now reported over 100 cases and nine deaths. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services confirmed in its statement that there had been a second presumptive positive test result in the state.

Of note: Per the CDC, states "have laws to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine" to control the spread of disease within their borders.

  • "In most states, breaking a quarantine order is a criminal misdemeanor," the CDC notes.

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