2,200 Request Access To Coronavirus Tests Via New NH Portal

Tony Schinella

CONCORD, NH — More than 2,200 people have signed up for the state's new COVID-19 Testing Registration portal in less than 24-hours after the announcement of its creation Wednesday, according to the State Joint Information Center.

Granite Staters with new coronavirus symptoms, underlying health conditions, residents who are 60 years of age or older, or people working in the health care field are all eligible to obtain access to the test. The tests can be access in three ways — through health care providers, via registration through the portal, or by calling the COVID-19 Coordinating Office at 603-271-5980 at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

The portal, the state said, was key to "ongoing efforts to increase access to COVID-19 testing by ensuring qualifying residents can schedule a test without a referral from a medical provider." All of the 2,200-plus people who requested testing during the last 24-hours have been accommodated, according to the state.

"We are ramping up our capabilities and rapidly expanding access to testing," said Gov. Chris Sununu. "This is one of our top priorities, and we are making huge strides every day."

After approval, drive-thru testing will be arranged at locations in Claremont, Lancaster, Milton, Plymouth, Tamworth and Rochester, within 24-hours of making an appointment.

"We created the COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Program to expand testing statewide, and the online registration portal will make it easier than ever for residents to be tested," said Commissioner Lori Shibinette of the NH DHHS. "Our goal is to ensure that COVID-19 testing remains easy and accessible for everyone, so anyone who needs a test will get one."

In addition to the COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Program, the health department is working on removing barriers to testing — including testing through the Visiting Nurses Association for individuals who cannot access a fixed site; a partnership with ConvenientMD to provide telehealth screenings and testing for individuals regardless of insurance status; and testing through primary care providers, hospitals, healthcare systems, and municipal health departments.

For more info about the COVID-19 emergency, visit the state's new coronavirus information site.

3 More Deaths; 104 More Cases

The health department also announced Thursday that three more people, a woman from Hillsborough County, and two men, from Rockingham and Strafford counties, all 60 or older, have died due to complications connected to COVID-19.

The fatality count in the state is now 114.

Another 104 positive test results were also reported, bringing the state's accumulative infection count to 2,843. There are currently 1,564 active cases in New Hampshire and 1,165 people have recovered.

Investigations of a number of the new cases have not been completed. But the state announced one new child was infected and of the new cases with completed investigations, most, 59 percent, were women, while 41 percent were men. Nineteen cases are currently still under investigation.

Most of the new cases — 58 — live in Hillsborough County while 30 reside in Rockingham County and seven live in Merrimack County, according to the data. Residency for two cases is unknown.

Only one of the new cases needed hospitalization bringing the count to 308 total who have needed care. Currently, 113 are in the hospital.

Nine of the new cases have no identifiable risk factors.

Approximately 3,050 people are under public health monitoring while 27,829 have tested negative for the virus. The state lab has 532 tests pending. The state is now averaging more than 1,200 tests per day.

More than 11 communities in the state — Bedford, Concord, Derry, Dover, Franklin, Hudson, Londonderry, Manchester, Milford, Nashua, and Salem — have more than 50 accumulated cases since March 1. Fifteen other communities have between 20 and 49 cases: Auburn, Goffstown, Hampstead, Hampton, Hooksett, Litchfield, Merrimack, Pelham, Plaistow, Raymond, Rochester, Portsmouth, Sandown, Seabrook, and Windham.

The rolling three-day average of positive tests as well as negative testing information released on May 7. Credit: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Learn More About The Spread Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory droplets, usually through coughing and sneezing, and exposure to others who are sick or might be showing symptoms.

Health officials emphasize residents should follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid any domestic and international travel, especially on public transportation such as buses, trains, and airplanes.
  • Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet from other people, including distancing while in waiting areas or lines.
  • Anybody who is told to self-quarantine and stay at home due to exposure to a person with confirmed or suspect COVID-19 needs to stay home and not go out into public places.
  • If you are 60 years or older or have chronic medical conditions, you need to stay home and not go out.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
  • Employers need to move to telework as much as possible.
  • There is increasing evidence that this virus can survive for hours or possibly even a few days on surfaces, so people should clean frequently touched surfaces, including door handles, grocery carts and grocery basket handles, etc.

Take the same precautions as you would if you were sick:

  • Stay home and avoid public places when sick (i.e., social distancing).
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

More information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about coronavirus can be found here on the department's website.

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This article originally appeared on the Concord Patch