November 19, 2020BROOKFIELD — On Nov. 10, Brookfield suddenly had 10 active cases of Covid-19, with a cumulative total of 11. Brookfield's health officer and NH State Representative, Dr. William Marsh, expressed frustration with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) when asked on Nov. 13 what he knew about his town's recent spike in Covid-19 cases.
"When I observed that Brookfield suddenly had the highest rate of active cases per capita in the State of New Hampshire, after notifying the Selectmen (who immediately closed the town offices & etc.), I placed a call to the Health Officer Liaison at DHHS. As I anticipated, precisely zero data was forthcoming," said Marsh.
He believed, based on Facebook postings, that it was related to a post election gathering at the Poor People's Pub in Wakefield.
The pub reported on its Facebook page on Nov. 5 that when the management was notified that a customer who visited on Nov. 3 tested positive, it closed and began the testing of all its employees. It opened back up on Nov. 12 with a return to takeout service for an indefinite period of time.
Marsh said he has been working on a bill with the objective of "upgrading our vintage 1915 public health system to deal with this pandemic. One of the issues is that it is totally unreasonable for DHHS to ask Health Officers to be their 'boots on the ground' and not provide health officers with the information to protect their communities.
His frustration comes at a time when the state's Covid-19 deaths recently totaled 500 and state health officials have reported 358 new infections through all ten counties, including 64 patients under 18 years old. Also, the agency announced at a press conference on Nov. 12, the state will now limit its full case investigations to high risk populations, that is, health care workers, communities of color and people in group living situations.