CONCORD, NH — During the past 48 hours, health officials in New Hampshire reported some of the deadliest coronavirus data since the pandemic started in March.
On Wednesday, the state reported 21 deaths, a one-day high, and 13 deaths on Thursday. Twenty-nine of the 34 lived in long-term care settings, according to the state's data dashboard. Nineteen of the fatalities were men and women who lived in Hillsborough County while eight lived in Merrimack County. One man lived in Belknap County while another lived in Rockingham County. Two men in Strafford County also died. Twenty were 80 years of age or older, 10 were 70 to 79, and four were 60 to 69.
The latest deaths due to or related to COVID-19 bring New Hampshire's fatality count to 690 or 2 percent of all cases with 80.3 percent of those from long-term care settings and 89 percent Granite Staters who were 70 or older.
On Wednesday and Thursday, state health officials also reported 988 new infections including 94 children. Officials said Thursday the case count was "lower than expected" due to "a new data process" but numbers would be updated in future counts, expected Saturday. The daily positivity rates were between 4.6 and 5.8 percent and mostly gathered via polymerase chain reaction tests.
The new positive tests were compiled across six days: 24 were from Dec. 18; 126 were from Saturday; 40 were from Sunday; 112 were from Monday; 428 were from Tuesday; and 258 were from Wednesday.
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Most of the new infections live in Rockingham County: 241, with 232 living in Hillsborough County outside of Nashua, 120 from Merrimack County, and 65 in Nashua. The state is still investigating dozens of cases. Nearly 39,000 people in New Hampshire have become infected with the virus while 83 percent about 32,000, have recovered.
Hospitalizations are at 298 with about 2 percent of all cases requiring more extensive care.
More than 495,000 residents have been tested via PCR test while 24,465 have been tested via antibody lab test with 1,037,643 tests administered in the state.
State health officials said Thursday that there were 17 active cases in colleges and universities and 67 connected to K-12 school settings.
At colleges, there are 16 active cases at UNH in Durham, along with 344 recoveries, and one case at Plymouth State University.
New cases connected to school settings in Patch communities include one new case at the Peter Woodbury School in Bedford, three active cases at the Woodbury School in Salem, a new case at Bedford High School, a new case at World Academy in Nashua, and two new cases at Beaver Meadow Elementary School in Concord.
Active case counts in New Hampshire communities published Dec. 24. Source: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
Stop 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.
When you can't practice 6 feet of social distancing, wear a face covering.
Anyone who is told to self-quarantine and stay at home due to exposure to a person with confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 needs to stay home and not go out into public places.
If you are 60 years or older or have chronic and underlying health conditions, you need to stay home and not go out.
Avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
Employers should work from home as much as possible.
There is increasing evidence that the virus can survive for hours or possibly days on surfaces. 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.
Wear a face covering.
Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
Wash hands frequently.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Guidance to schools can be found can be found here.
Instructions for returning travelers to self-observe for symptoms of COVID-19 are available are available here.
For more information on COVID-19 in NH, visit its site here.
For the latest information from the CDC, visit its site here.
To access the state's COVID-19 data dashboard, click on this link here.
To access the state's COVID-19 Interactive Map Dashboard, click on this link here.