The COVID-19 coronavirus: What You Should Know


A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and which continues to expand. Cases have been identified in the United States, as well as many other countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State health departments including the New Hampshire (NH) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services' (DPHS), and City of Dover emergency management and health officials continue to monitor the situation. 

"We have been and remain attentive to how this virus may affect our community, our employees and our families," said City Manager J. Michael Joyal, Jr. "Our local Emergency Operations Center remains in the monitoring phase and we will continue to follow and urge adherence to the precautions being actively promoted by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to limit the risk of exposure to the virus. These precautions have been and will continue to be reinforced with members of our community, our employees, family and friends through our website, social media, Channels 22 and 95, and our email alerts and newsletters. Meanwhile, our Emergency Management Director, Fire Chief Paul Haas, remains in close contact with our state health officials and continues to monitor the information and guidance that is being provided should further actions become necessary."

In addition to providing timely information, the City of Dover wants to remind its residents about the simple precautions that can help protect themselves and others.

"Following these basic guidelines to protect yourself from all respiratory illnesses is good practice," said Mayor Robert Carrier.

Among the steps residents can take to reduce the risk of getting sick from respiratory infections and prevent transmission to others include: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you have a fever or are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

People who are showing signs of the virus, including fever, a cough and shortness of breath, are advised to stay home, limit their contact with others, and immediately contact their healthcare provider or dial 9-1-1.

Public schools distributing food to all students

With Dover public schools closed, the schools are distributing food to all students. Superintendent of Schools William Harbron said two meals will be provided to students each day. Participants will receive a lunch for the day that will include breakfast for the following day. 

Students in all grade levels, regardless of whether they are qualified for free or reduced meals, can participate.

A Dover school bus will be parked in designated locations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. each day to distribute the meals. Please pick-up meals from the location closest to your home address and use it consistently, which allows an accurate count for the number of meals needed each day.

The locations are as follows:

  • Dover Ice Arena, 110 Portland Avenue
  • Strafford Farms, 58 New Rochester Road
  • St. Thomas Aquinas High School, 197 Dover Point Road
  • Horne Street School, 78 Horne Street
  • First Seacoast Bank, 633 Central Avenue
  • Janetos Market, 77 Main Street
  • Seymour Osman Community Center, 40 Hampshire Circle
  • DiCicco’s Market, 385 Washington Street
  • Woodman Park School, 11 Towle Avenue
  • Adelle Drive, Redden Gardens
  • Lilac Gardens, 1 Lilac Lane
  • Garrison School, 50 Garrison Road
  • Rutland Manor, 1 Abby Lane
  • Cleary Cleaners, 120 Central Avenue

For families that participate in End 68 Hours of Hunger, food will be distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays at the following locations and times: 

  • Seymour Osman Community Center, 40 Hampshire Circle: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Dover Public Library, 73 Locust Street: Open Hours
  • Waypoint, 279 Locust Street, Suite B: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, 577 Central Avenue, #10: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Dover Fire & Rescue, South End Station, 25 Durham Road: Open Hours
  • Community Partners, 50 Chestnut St.: Pending Confirmation

If you wish to donate food items to End 68 Hours of Hunger, donations are being accepted at St. John's United Methodist Church, 28 Cataract Ave. Cash donations, canned goods of all sorts, granola bars, and peanut butter are greatly appreciated.

For more information, contact the School Department at 516-6800, or visit

Call 2-1-1 for questions and concerns about coronavirus

Gov. Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, and New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, announced that 211NH is now active and can handle all COVID-19 related calls from New Hampshire residents . All residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1.

As federal, state and local officials continue to monitor cases of COVID-19, a coronavirus first detected in China, residents are reminded to take steps to protect themselves from all respiratory viruses.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, but only several types are known to commonly cause infections in people, with these common human coronaviruses usually causing mild to moderate respiratory illness (like the common cold). Newer human coronaviruses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms. The COVID-19 is originally thought to have spread from animals to humans, but now person-to-person spread is occurring.

How is it spread?

It’s not clear yet how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person. Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets, including:

  • Through the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

This is similar to how influenza and other respiratory infections spread. Until we learn more about how easily the COVID-19 spreads between people, healthcare providers may wear special personal protective equipment (e.g. masks and eye protection) when evaluating a patient if there is concern for infection with the COVID-19.

What are the symptoms?

We are still learning about how the COVID-19 affects people. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Symptoms of people with confirmed COVID-19 infections have primarily included:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

If you have traveled to/from countries with a COVID-19 Travel Advisory and develop symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness within 14 days of your travel, contact your health care provider before going to their office or the emergency department, and tell them about your recent travel and symptoms. You can also contact the NH Division of Public Health Services at 603-271-4496, if you have questions or concerns.

For the latest travel information and advisories, visit the CDC website:

How can I protect myself and others?

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick from viral respiratory infections, and help prevent transmitting infections to others, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you have a fever or are not feeling well.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot - it is not too late to be protected from flu.

Is there a treatment?

There are no specific antiviral treatments recommended for infection with the COVID-19. People infected with COVID-19 can receive supportive care at home to help relieve symptoms, such as taking pain or fever medications, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying home and resting. Some patients who are very sick may need to go to the hospital to get care.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their health care provider immediately.

Additional resources

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website provides updated information about the state's response to COVID-19. The page can be accessed at:

Additional information, including advisories for travel, businesses and schools, can be found at the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page at:

The Dover School District also provides updates about COVID-19 and the response by school officials here.

Talking with children about coronavirus: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children

As public conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill with COVID-19. Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. The Centers for Disease Control has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.

General principles for talking to children

Remain calm and reassuring.

  • Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

Make yourself available to listen and to talk.

  • Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.

Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.

  • Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.

Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.

  • Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

Provide information that is honest and accurate.

  • Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
  • Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.

Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff. (e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
  • Get children into a handwashing habit.
    • Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and childcare facilities.

Facts about COVID-19 for discussions with children

Try to keep information simple and remind them that health and school officials are working hard to keep everyone safe and healthy.

What is COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 is the short name for “coronavirus disease 2019.” It is a new virus. Doctors and scientists are still learning about it.
  • Recently, this virus has made a lot of people sick. Scientists and doctors think that most people will be ok, especially kids, but some people might get pretty sick.
  • Doctors and health experts are working hard to help people stay healthy.

What can I do so that I don’t get COVID-19?

  • You can practice healthy habits at home, school, and play to help protect against the spread of COVID-19:
    • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away.
    • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose, and eyes. This will help keep germs out of your body.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Follow these five steps—wet, lather (make bubbles), scrub (rub together), rinse and dry. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
    • If you don’t have soap and water, have an adult help you use a special hand cleaner.
    • Keep things clean. Older children can help adults at home and school clean the things we touch the most, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. (Note for adults: you can find more information about cleaning and disinfecting on CDC’s website.)
    • If you feel sick, stay home. Just like you don’t want to get other people’s germs in your body, other people don’t want to get your germs either.

What happens if you get sick with COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID-19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough, or have a hard time taking deep breaths. Most people who have gotten COVID-19 have not gotten very sick. Only a small group of people who get it have had more serious problems. From what doctors have seen so far, most children don’t seem to get very sick. While a lot of adults get sick, most adults get better.
  • If you do get sick, it doesn’t mean you have COVID-19. People can get sick from all kinds of germs. What’s important to remember is that if you do get sick, the adults at home and school will help get you any help that you need.
  • If you suspect your child may have COVID-19, call the healthcare facility to let them know before you bring your child in to see them.