Monadnock Community Hospital

PETERBOROUGH — Monadnock Community Hospital is postponing all nonessential appointments, procedures and elective surgeries in response to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.

The Peterborough hospital stated in a news release Wednesday night that all necessary procedures, surgeries and urgent care will still occur.

Those who had nonessential appointments scheduled will be contacted by hospital staff about next steps, according to the release.

The hospital has also closed all entrances except those to the lobby, emergency department, Oncology and Infusion Therapy Center and Bond Wellness Center.

All those entering the hospital, whether employees, patients or visitors, will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough and shortness of breath — and asked about recent travel.

The release says visitation has been limited to the following:

One healthy person for maternity and delivery patients

One healthy person with an emergency-department patient

One healthy person for oncology and infusion patients

One healthy person at a time for inpatients

In extenuating circumstances, visitation decisions will be made at the discretion of the nursing supervisor or administrator, the release states.

“Our focus is to protect patients and employees, as well as to conserve critical supplies,” President and CEO Cynthia K. McGuire said in the release.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System put similar precautions in place this week, and announced Wednesday it is seeking donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the community.

This includes masks, face shields, isolation gowns, gloves and hand sanitizer. The donations will be disbursed throughout the health system, including to Cheshire Medical Center in Keene.

“There’s no secret there is a worldwide shortage of PPE, and it’s affecting hospitals everywhere, not just us,” said Rick Adams, hospital spokesman.

And as the outbreak gains momentum in New Hampshire, Adams said the health-care system is making adjustments, such as canceling elective surgeries, to address its depleting stock of supplies.

Donations can be dropped off to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Service Center building at 52 LaBombard Road North in Lebanon. Items will be accepted Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

To make a donation at another location in New Hampshire or Vermont, contact Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health Supply Chain Manager Dave Coombs at 650-4217.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.