Current State of the Library & Decision-making

Thank you to everyone who has written and called to express support and gratitude for what the library is doing and offering during these uncertain times, changing day-to-day. Thank you also to those of you who have asked questions and made suggestions.

You may be wondering how the Library Board of Trustees and Lesley (library director) are making decisions. We are using information sources from State, National, and International organizations and individuals to decide on the best level of service with the least amount of risk. Also, it is our responsibility to participate in “flattening the curve” and spread of the virus. While there isn’t always definitive guidance from these information sources, an abundance of caution is something they all recommend. In that context we have decided:

  • No employees except for the library director are allowed in the library building; remote work has been assigned to maintain public communications, the library’s public catalog, outreach to people in the community, maintenance and improvements to the library’s online presence, among other tasks.
  • No physical items are entering or leaving the library.
  • Quarantine recommendations will be followed for the foreseeable future both for safety and to not contribute to the spread of the virus.

In this time period (as the situation is evolving rapidly – ie: cases in NH increasing by 44% between 3/19 and 3/22), an abundance of caution is being advised. The Board of Trustees is making this guidance a driving factor in making decisions.

Library Board of Trustees Public Virtual Meeting: Wednesday, March 25, 6:30 p.m. Information & virtual access information here: https://www.library.strathamnh.gov/home/pages/virtual-library-board-trustees-meeting


Some of the sources that the LIbrary Board of Trustees is following:


Recent Information/Updates:

CDC Frequently Asked Questions page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
--> "COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States."
--> "It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases et. al.: Report in New England Journal of Medicine
Summary
"
New research finds that the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces. Scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel."
Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200317150116.htm

Governor’s office: https://www.governor.nh.gov/
--> 44 cases on Thursday 3/19, 78 on Sunday 3/22 (43% increase).
--> On Friday (3/20), Sununu and New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation sent a letter urging Congressional leaders to take additional steps to speed up the production and distribution of critical medical supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
--> “New Hampshire and states across the country are running dangerously low on supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including personal protective equipment, swabs needed to conduct diagnostic tests, and ventilators,” the letter said. “States alone cannot address these shortages, especially when they are competing against each other and the federal government to purchase available resources.” 
(Letter: https://www.governor.nh.gov/news-media/press-2020/documents/0200323-mcconnell-pelois.pdf)

NHDHHS Daily Update 3/23/2020: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/news/updates.htm
"Since first testing for COVID-19 on March 2, the State Public Health Laboratories (PHL) has conducted more than 2,400 COVID-19 tests. As the PHL continues to ramp up testing, there will be more positive tests. As COVID-19 spreads in our communities, the chance of being exposed to the novel coronavirus is increasing. It is critical that all residents take steps to protect themselves and their communities. DHHS emphasizes that residents should follow the following recommendations [including]: • Employers need to move to telework as much as possible. • There is increasing evidence that this virus can survive for hours or possibly even a few days on surfaces, so people should clean frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, grocery cart and grocery basket handles, etc."

Flattening the Curve: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/19/world/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve-countries.html
Flattening the curve
Note: The NY Times has free access for Coronavirus news. You do have to enter your email address in order to "sign in" but after verifying you can bypass all other requests by using links like "continue without..." or "no thanks..."

World Health Organization: Young People are not Invincible on "Events As They Happen" page.
20 March 2020 
Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General [of the World Health Organization] said: 
"Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization. Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus."