Editor's note: The Rochester Voice will be reporting on all local developments with regard to the COVID-19 outbreak in this space daily. Check back throughout the day for additional information as it becomes available.
ROCHESTER - Hannaford Supermarkets announced on Thursday they would be joining Market Basket in offering "seniors only" hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week for the foreseeable future.
Market Basket's hours are set from 5:30-7 a.m., while seniors shopping at Hannaford will have to have a little extra pep in their step with a 6-7 a.m. timeframe.
Hannaford also announced that beginning on Saturday they would reduce their normal hours to 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. to allow more time for cleaning and sanitizing the store.
Shaw's Supermarket of Dover will also have its own senior hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 a.m.
All the stores stressed that they are expecting nonseniors to refrain from entering the store during these hours to protect those who are most susceptible to COVID-19 illness.
Meanwhile, from City Hall, municipal officials said on Thursday that there are still no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rochester at this time.
Also on Thursday Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Mark Klose activated Rochester's Emergency Operations Center.
The EOC will be staffed Monday through Friday with typical business hours until such a time where the need dictates otherwise. The EOC will allow staff from multiple city agencies as well as state agencies, utilities and federal agencies to work together with the city, a bulletin sent out on Thursday noted.
With Klose assuming his new duties full time, Assistant Chief Tim Wilder will fill in as acting Fire Chief.
While Rochester Police and Fire will continue to respond to all emergencies, the departments will be limiting access outside visitors for general, walk-in business until further notice.
The City also convened a meeting of its internal emergency response team led by Klose and staffed by City Manager Blaine Cox, Health Officer Robert Veno, Deputy Fire Chief Adam Hughes, and clerical support staff.
The City also formally named John Guilfoil, head of the city's longtime communications agency, to the role of Public Information Officer for the COVID-19 crisis.
Surfaces at touch points in police and fire stations are being fully cleaned every four hours until further notice.
Encouraging proper self-care and hygiene including frequently washing hands, ensuring bathrooms are stocked with hand washing materials and making cleaning products and sanitizers available
The city has also established an alternative dispatch center at the Gonic Fire Station in case of contamination at primary dispatch center at Police Headquarters.
These temporary measures will be reviewed on a continuous basis, city officials said.
The city and its public health, human services and public safety officials are well-prepared to respond to the coronavirus situation, and officials prepare and train for public health emergencies regularly, the bulletin stated.
Also on Thursday Atlantic Broadband closed its customer counter at its Jarvis Avenue facility.
The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads:
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
How? Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.
However, some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It can also be spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
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.
As a precaution, it is recommended that residents clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
For more information, visit the NH-DHHS and CDC's websites.