COVID-19 Information

 
 

We understand that many people are concerned about their potential risk of COVID-19. If you are experiencing cough, fever or shortness of breath and have concern that this might be COVID-19, please call your primary care provider for a risk assessment before seeking care. If your provider establishes the need for COVID-19 testing, they will inform you of next steps.

Call us at (603) 354-5400 for a phone screening and recommendations before seeking medical treatment if:

  • Your Primary Care Provider practices at Cheshire Medical Center, Walpole, or Winchester family practices
  • You live locally and do not have a Primary Care Provider

Notice: Please read our new visitor policy on this page.

Cheshire Medical Center COVID-19 general information hotline

603-354-6700

Our partners at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center provide more information on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Information about COVID-19 page.

Watch the "Understanding COVID-19 and How to Stay Safe" video

Frequently asked questions

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (caused by the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV) is the virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, which is spreading worldwide.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

Current understanding about the transmission, severity of illness, and other features of the virus is based on continued investigation by the CDC. Learn more on the CDC’s COVID-19 transmission page.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after infection. Call your primary care provider or the state at the numbers listed above if you develop the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC does NOT recommend that people who are healthy wear a mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a health care professional recommends it.

People who are sneezing, coughing, or showing symptoms related to COVID-19 should wear a mask. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of masks also is crucial for health care workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Should I keep my appointment?

If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath 

Call your primary care provider (PCP) before arriving at a health care location. To reach Cheshire Medical Center PCPs, call (603) 354-5400. Our operators can direct you to the appropriate resource for a phone screening and next steps.

Procedure delays for patients

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and Centers for Disease Control(CDC) guidance, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) system locations, including Cheshire Medical Center, will begin to delay some elective procedures starting Monday, March 16, 2020. A nationwide shortage of critical supplies is forcing D-HH, and hospitals across the country, to strategically focus on maintaining the availability of supplies and equipment during this challenging period.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health organizations are proactively reaching out to patients whose elective procedures will be delayed. Any patient not receiving a call about their procedure should arrive as scheduled. Doctor's appointments and well visits are not impacted. All D-HH hospitals remain open and outpatient appointments, urgent, and emergency procedures continue.

Please plan to enter Cheshire Medical Center through our Main Entrance.

  • Main Entrance access:
    • Monday through Friday, open 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
    • Saturday and Sunday, open 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Emergency Department entrance is open 24/7
  • Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) and Gastroenterology patients may enter through the NCCC Kingsbury Pavilion entrance between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday
  • Closed: West Entrance and Employee/Cafeteria Entrance
  • Please follow instructions on the signage at satellite locations before entering the building. We may ask you to call our dedicated line for a phone screening before entering these locations.

Should any patient suspected of having a high-threat infection arrive at Cheshire Medical Center or satellite locations, our Infection Prevention Team is available to provide care.

Can I visit an inpatient staying at Cheshire Medical Center?

Telephone and video visits are strongly encouraged for all patients during this time.

We have aligned our Visitor Policy with all Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health facilities. It is intended to assure the safety of our patients and the health care workers caring for them. The policy will evolve to become more, or less, restrictive based on the most up-to-date information. Updates will be made with an eye toward limiting the spread of COVID-19, flattening the curve, and assuring a healthy workforce who can care for current and future patients.

Please refer to Cheshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health's Current Visitor Policy.

We recognize the valuable role that family members and visitors play in the healing process and appreciate that these restrictions may cause challenges for our patients and their families. Thank you for your understanding and adherence to these policies as part of our continued efforts to keep our patients, visitors, and workforce protected and healthy during this time.

For questions or specific issues related to this policy, please contact our Patient Relations Representative:

Is Cheshire Medical Center testing for COVID-19?

We are providing testing on a case-by-case basis depending on symptoms, exposure risk, and risk for progressive illness. If you think you may have COVID-19 and need testing, please call your primary care provider or your state department of health at the numbers listed at the top of this page.

DO NOT visit Cheshire's Emergency Department or Walk-In Clinic with potential COVID-19 symptoms before calling the numbers at the top of this page for a phone screening and next steps.

To keep our community safe and provide the best quality care for patients during the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have transitioned our COVID-19 testing process to allow patients who have been pre-screened to be tested without leaving their car. Patients who are not suffering life-threatening conditions or symptoms will remain in cars while healthcare workers perform testing.

Is there treatment for COVID-19?

There is no approved antiviral treatment available, although one is currently entering a Phase 1 safety trial.The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a clinical trial at the University of Nebraska Medical Center that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19 in adult patients.

How is a patient treated for COVID-19?

The basic approach to prevent disease transmission is to:

  • Identify patients who show symptoms.
  • Isolate those patients from others for assessment.
  • Inform appropriate staff and authorities for further response.

If people appear with symptoms, they will be asked to wear a mask and answer a series of questions about their health and travel. Based on their answers and vital signs, they may be isolated from other patients while COVID-19 test results can be verified.

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 are then isolated and treated.

What if I develop a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath?

  1. Stop the spread of the virus you have - see CDC’s Steps to Take When Sick
  2. See CDC’s Symptoms & Testing page to use the Coronavirus Self-Checker tool.
  3. Call your primary care provider or the state at the numbers listed above if you plan to seek medical care.
  4. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately by calling 911. Emergency warning signs include*:
    1. Difficulty breathing or gasping for breath
    2. Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    3. New confusion or inability to arouse
    4. Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your primary careteam for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. Reach Cheshire’s Primary Care Teams at (603) 354-5400.

What do I need to do to "self-quarantine" or "self-monitor"?

Anyone who has symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath should self-isolate at home. The recommendation for the duration of home isolation period is at least seven days from the onset of symptoms, and at least three days of no fever, and resolution of symptoms. It is recommended that others in the home also quarantine during this time to help limit spread.

If, however, patients at any time feel that their situation is worsening and might require hospitalization, they should call their Primary Care Team at (603) 354-5400 or for emergency care call 911 and tell the operator the symptoms may be related to COVID-19.

The NH DHHS has shared these helpful resources:

The CDC also shares more information on home isolation.

Information for pregnant patients

We know you have many questions and concerns about exposure to COVID-19 during your pregnancy. Please visit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health's FAQ page and watch Julie Braga, MD, talk about COVID-19 during pregnancy, the impact on the baby in the womb, and after delivery.

Is Cheshire Medical Center changing procedures in response to COVID-19?

Cheshire Medical Center staff are well prepared. We already have established procedures and train for infectious diseases that may impact our medical center and local community.

Patients are screened for symptoms and recent travel upon arrival to all Cheshire Medical Center and D-HH locations. This allows for early isolation of any patients with potential COVID-19 symptoms.

How can I donate to best support Cheshire Medical Center and your staff?

As we prepare for a surge in patients, we know our resources are going to become strained. Please consider donating to our COVID-19 Fund. When you make a gift to Cheshire Health Foundation, it will help provide specialized patient care, while also supporting our doctors, nurses and staff on the front lines during this public health crisis.

Can I make donations of masks or other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

We’ve heard from many people in the community who want to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and we appreciate all of your support. Cheshire Medical Center is now accepting donations of unused:

  • Manufactured masks, such as n95 respirators and surgical masks (PDF)
  • Isolation gowns
  • Gloves
  • Sanitizer
  • Face shields
  • Handmade cotton masks  

Donations should be in original packaging or sealed in resealable plastic bags with the donor’s name and address and phone number attached to the outside so that we may acknowledge your generous contribution.

We are accepting donations at the following dates and times:

  • Cheshire Medical Center's West Entrance
  • Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, 9:00 to 10:00 am and 1:00 to 2:00 pm

Note: Please do not make masks or bring donations if you are feeling ill or have had close contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

For those who are interested in making masks for donation to our location, please refer to the instructions from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s mask donation page.

Have any Cheshire Medical Center patients been suspected of or have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time?

Consistent with federal and state laws governing patient confidentiality, we will not provide any information on patients being screened and our expectation from staff is to keep to that standard as well.

How will I know if there are cases of COVID-19 in my community?

Local departments of public health and the CDC are responsible for publicly reporting COVID-19 cases.

Cheshire Medical Center and D-HH are committed to the privacy of our patients and comply with all applicable laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Cheshire Medical Center and D-HH do not share patient-specific information with the media without prior authorization. We collaborate with public health authorities, including the CDC and local public health authorities, as appropriate. These authorities are best positioned to provide public health information.

To learn more, visit New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS).

Is information about COVID-19 available for non-English speaking or Limited English Proficient (LEP) community members?

Yes. New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services has provided information about COVID-19 in a variety of languages on their dedicated website for COVID-19. Notices focused on monitoring your health and guidelines for self-observation are available in Arabic, English, French, Kinyarwanda, Portuguese, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese.

The "Stop the Spread of Germs" poster is available in Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, and Ukrainian. Please reference the "Posters" section of the following page to download the appropriate language.

Is information about COVID-19 available for American Sign Language proficient community members?

Yes, the CDC offers an ASL video series which can be referenced at any time and includes a variety of helpful topics.

Additional information

If you're looking for more current information about the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, consult