Coronavirus patient ignored self-isolation order to go to business event

A hospital worker who became New Hampshire’s first coronavirus patient had been ordered to self-isolate — but went to a college’s business event instead, health officials have revealed.

The selfish Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center staffer showed symptoms after returning from a trip to Italy, and was told to stay home while awaiting the test result, which came back positive Monday, health officials said.

“The first patient, despite having been directed to self-isolate, attended an invitation-only private event on Friday,” the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) warned in a release.

Having defied the first directive, the hospital worker was “issued an official order of isolation” after officially testing positive on Monday, officials said.

A close colleague of his at the hospital then became the Granite State’s second confirmed case on Tuesday, their hospital confirmed.

It left health workers scrambling to contact attendees at the event in neighboring Vermont to tell them to “follow the recommended 14-day self-isolation,” the service said.

Dartmouth College emailed staff and students to confirm that the patient went to the event run by its Tuck School of Business. It was not immediately clear how many others were at the event.

“An investigation of those who were in close contact with that individual is underway and all close contacts have been notified,” the college co-chairs wrote in the warning.

“At this time, there are no Dartmouth students considered to be close contacts,” the email said while conceding it was a “stressful time for many people in our community.”

The event was held at a popular Vermont music venue, the Engine Room in White River Junction, which said in a Facebook post that it had “a professional cleaning company coming in to take care of this.”

“We just want to let the public know we are taking this seriously and following all the recommendations of the VT & NH Health Departments,” the venue stressed.

The first patient, from Grafton County, had suffered “fever and respiratory symptoms” after returning from Italy, the health care officials said.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital then confirmed Tuesday that the second positive case was also a worker there, but insisted both men “had no contact with patients.”

“This patient was a close contact of the first identified patient and had gone into quarantine,” the hospital said in a statement.

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