Memorial Hospital Changing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule to One Day per Week and Closing COVID-19 Testing Center
June 22, 2021
With declines in vaccinations and COVID-19 testing, Memorial Hospital plans to reduce hours at its COVID-19 vaccine clinic and limit COVID-19 testing to only those with symptoms and as part of a visit to the emergency department or walk-in clinic.
Memorial officials caution that while the threat of COVID-19 has been reduced due to vaccinations and people following public health guidance, the danger has not been eliminated.
The changes take effect the week of July 5 and reflect the lessening impact COVID-19 is having in our community. Memorial’s Chief Medical Officer Matt Dunn DO, is quick to point out that the hospital remains prepared to respond to another surge and encourages the community to stay attentive towards COVID-19.
“We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the rate of vaccinations and in COVID testing as COVID restrictions have relaxed. The success we’ve had in fighting this virus is remarkable, but with approximately 55% of New Hampshire residents fully vaccinated, there is a possibility we could experience another surge at some point. We continue to monitor the situation very closely.”
As of July 5, the Memorial vaccination clinic at the former Mt Washington Observatory Discovery Center will be open Wednesdays only, from 8am until 4pm. Walk-ins are welcome or appointments can be scheduled at vaccine.MaineHealth.org. Clinic staff are also available for outreach at workplaces and community centers on other days of the week.
The vaccine clinic opened in January and was averaging 250 doses per day as recently as April. Even after reducing hours to three-days per week the clinic has been administering about 20 to 30 doses per day.
Testing for COVID-19 began at Memorial in the spring of 2020 as tests became available, first for individuals displaying COVID-19 symptoms then later for those without symptoms who needed proof of a negative test to return to work or other purposes. Daily tests now often number less than 20 with most related to pre-operative preparations.
Beginning July 5, Memorial Hospital may only test individuals exhibiting one or more COVID-19 symptoms – such as fever and chills, difficulty breathing, and new loss of taste or smell – as part of an evaluation in the emergency department (ED) or walk-in clinic. If possible, individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms should contact their primary care provider before presenting to the ED or walk-in for testing.
Memorial will no longer offer COVID-19 testing for individuals not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, including tests required for return to work or other activity as a result of travel or potential exposure COVID-19. Dunn notes that residents have other local options for vaccinations and testing, something that was not available a few months ago. “Local pharmacies have been administering vaccines and testing for some time. There are even tests available through mail order. And other area health providers are now able to test in their offices.”
Questions about testing and vaccines should be directed to one’s primary care provider. In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the emergency department immediately.
About Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit 25-bed Critical Access Hospital located in North Conway, NH, and is a member of the MaineHealth family. Its hospital services include a 24-hour emergency department, surgery center, clinical laboratory, heart health & wellness programs, imaging services, cardiopulmonary care, family birthing center, oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services. Practices include primary care and family medicine, diabetes care, behavioral health, women's health, podiatry, orthopedics and physical therapy. Memorial Hospital is also home to The Merriman House nursing home, which provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. For more information, www.memorialhospitalnh.org or call 603-356-5461.