CONCORD, NH — After one of the lowest days in months for new COVID-19 infections reported in New Hampshire Monday, the state reported 59 new positive cases Tuesday.
Health officials, however, were quick to point out that the 59 cases, the same as a few days ago, were about 2 percent of all the specimens collected Monday — 2,898. The new cases bring the total accumulation of COVID-19 patients in New Hampshire to 6,500 or less than a half percent of the total population of the state. Another 5,688 people or 88 percent of those infected with the virus have recovered.
The state has 403 active cases of the new coronavirus — another new low, the lowest since early April.
Of the new cases, six were children while 53 percent were female and 47 percent male. Twenty-six of the new cases live in Rockingham County, 15 live in Manchester, five reside in Nashua, and three live in Hillsborough County outside of Manchester and Nashua.
Only one of the new cases required hospitalization with three having no identified risk factors. There were also no new deaths reported in New Hampshire Tuesday.
Currently, 182,864 specimens have been collected by the state — the equivalent of 13.4 percent of New Hampshire's population and with 96.4 percent of tests offering a negative result.
Approximately 3,225 people are under public health monitoring.
Goffstown Outbreak Ends
State health officials also reported the end of an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Hillsborough County Nursing Home in Goffstown Monday.
During the outbreak, 39 people died while 154 residents became infected. Another 55 staffers were also infected.
There are currently four other outbreaks in the state at long-term care facilities — at Birch Hill, Evergreen Place Manchester, Greenbria Nashua, and Ridgewood Genesis Bedford.
Volinsky Blasts 'Delayed Response'
One of Gov. Chris Sununu's political opponents offered criticism Tuesday to the "delayed response" of the state addressing nursing home ventilation and school reopenings.
Andru Volinsky, a Concord Democrat running for governor who also serves on the Executive Council, called it "unconscionable" Sununu and state health officials have waited so long to address "basic, science-based precautions such as reviewing and updating ventilation systems in nursing homes — precautions that have been proven to prevent the spread of this deadly virus." The candidate offered the comment while noting that Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, reported in May that 80 percent of deaths in the state were in long-term care facilities and now, at the end of July, the rate is about the same.
"And, just as the Sununu Administration is only now waking up to the problems with nursing homes, his school reopening plan has no real guidance on the needs of schools and proper ventilation," Volinsky said. "As we head into the back-to-school stretch, I call on Sununu to address the very real emergency associated with the lack of proper HVAC ventilation systems in our schools. School districts are being left to fend for themselves with no real guidance or resources. Our elders deserve better, our children deserve better and Granite Staters deserve proactive leadership that will guide us through this crisis and offer proactive solutions to address the inevitable second wave of COVID-19."
Feltes Attacks Volinsky, Sununu On Unemployment
On the minds of everyone who is out of work or dealing with financial hardship during the pandemic is when a new stimulus package will be approved by the federal government.
Some have proposed lowering the $600 weekly stipend given to people who are unemployed which, in many cases, has given them more money than they were earning while working.
Concord Democrat Dan Feltes, a state Senator who is also challenging Sununu, was critical of comments by Volinsky recently, agreeing that the unintended consequences of the additional $600 is that people aren't going back to work.
"In the midst of a global pandemic, the primary responsibility of the government is to ensure its citizens are safe and financially stable," Feltes said. "We shouldn’t be punishing workers and their families crushed by job loss by taking away their unemployment insurance. While someone gifted a ski resort or someone who spent decades as a corporate attorney might not understand what $600 means to the average family, having represented hundreds of low-middle income Granite Staters crushed by job loss during the last economic crisis of the Great Recession, and having worked with dozens more during this crisis, I can tell you that unemployment insurance is not 'lucrative' or too high, as Governor Sununu or Councilor Volinsky claims. Unemployment insurance is not having 'unintended consequences'; it’s helping working families actually get by, it’s helping ensure the bills are paid, including to many landlords and small businesses, and it’s helping stabilize our local economy here in New Hampshire."
Testerman: Schools Need To Be Reopened
Another of Sununu's opponents, from his own side of the aisle, is calling on the governor to promote the immediate reopening of all school districts in the state.
Karen Testerman said Tuesday parents, who a child's first teacher and their primary role in education, know what is best for their children — and they should be heard on this issue.
"I cannot overemphasize the parent's responsibility when it comes to the educational well-being of the child," she said. "School boards must work with parents to determine how to meet their children's needs best. Public hearings should be held in each district before the school board finalizes any plans. I encourage school board members to examine the data and science associated with the current situation."
Testerman noted the New Hampshire branch of the American Academy for Pediatrics was urging "a balanced, collaborative approach" that included parents in the decision to reopen schools — while removing unnecessary restrictions and mandates on school reopenings.
GOFERR Meets Wednesday
On Wednesday, July 29, Jerry Little, the executive director of the Governor’s Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR), will hold a meeting of the Bipartisan Legislative Advisory Board at 1 p.m.
To listen in to the meeting, call 800-356-8278 and use the PIN: 389388. Anyone having difficulties connecting to the conference should call 603-271-7840.
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.
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