NH Coronavirus: 5 More Dead; 1,139 Positive Infections Announced

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CONCORD, NH — Five more Granite Staters have died due to the new coronavirus, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the count to 32. All five were men with two living in Hillsborough County, two in Rockingham County, and one in Merrimack County. Two of the men were 60 years or older while three were under 60.

No information about the health conditions of the men was released by the State Joint Information Center Wednesday.

Fifty-three new positive COVID-19 tests were also reported by the state, bringing the count to 1,139, with several of those patients still under investigation.

"Any additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates," the state said.

Fifty-one percent of the cases were men and 49 percent women with 21 residing in Hillsborough County and 21 living in Rockingham County. Five of the new patients live in Merrimack County.

Fifteen of the new cases were hospitalized bringing the count to 178 or 16 percent of all cases. Seventy patients are still in the hospital.

The state said seven of the new cases have no identified risk factors.

Nine communities in the state — Bedford, Concord, Derry, Dover, Hudson, Londonderry, Pelham, and Windham — have between 20 and 49 people infected; three have more than 50: Manchester with 176, Nashua at 100, and Salem, with an unknown number of patients.

Recoveries in New Hampshire are at 32 percent, 365 cases, with 11,027 testing negative at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.

The state has 121 pending tests with an unknown number of pending tests at commercial labs.

Around 2,300 people are under public health monitoring.

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GOFERR Stakeholder Advisory Board Named

Gov. Chris Sununu announced the creation of a "stakeholder advisory board" to provide the Governor's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) with "key insight" on the needs of communities and industry in the state.

"The creation of the Stakeholder Advisory Board brings together community and industry leaders from across the Granite State to provide key input on COVID-19 relief efforts," said Sununu. "This advisory board will serve to add yet another layer of transparency to the distribution of federal relief aid and input into the process, ensuring as much accountability, transparency, and integrity as possible."

The initial members of the board include: Bill Ardinger, an attorney with Rath, Young & Pignatelli. Dean Christon, the executive director of the NH Housing Finance Authority; Jim Jalbert of C&J Trailways; Al Letizio of Wholesale Food Industry; Donnalee Lozeau, the CEO of Southern NH Community Action Program (CAP) and former Republican Mayor of Nashua; Scott Mason, a farmer and owner of Northwind Farms; Michelle McEwen, the president and CEO of Speare Memorial Hospital of Plymouth; Nancy Merrill, the director of Planning and Development for the city of Claremont; and Ben Wilcox, the president and general manager of Cranmore Mountain Resort.

The board's first meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday remotely at 800-356-8278 with a login pin of 125563.

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Governor Requests More Help For NH Restaurants

Sununu on Wednesday also wrote to Congressional leaders requesting changes and extensions to the Payroll Protection Program in the CARES Act on behalf of the 70,000 restaurant workers of the state.

Specifically, the governor requested an extension of the maximum loan amounts to three months after restaurants open while also increasing the size of the loan package beyond the $350 billion while also reinstating a $500 million gross revenue cap.

Repayment, he said, should be extended to 10 years from the current two year framework.

Hearing On Governor's GOFERR Held Friday

Hillsborough County Superior Court North will hear an emergency motion Friday initiated by Democrats in the Legislature challenging Sununu's GOFERR, which they deem as unconstitutional.

The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m.

House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff and Senate President Donna Soucy said they were "pleased" the court was "moving expeditiously to ensure there is a quick resolution, before the federal government is expected to deliver an additional $1.25 billion in CARES Act funding at the end of April."

In the interim, they added, "we are grateful that direct support to Granite Staters, like increased unemployment benefits and individual stimulus checks, are already being disbursed."

Liquor Commission Raising $125K For Hospitality Industry

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission is raffling six of the world’s most sought-after whiskies and bourbons — including decades-old, rare bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace O.F.C and Sazerac Rye from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, and selections from Heaven Hill and Michter’s — in an effort to raise $125,000 for New Hampshire restaurant and hospitality employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The value of the liquor is around $23,000.

Proceeds will be donated to the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association’s (NHLRA) New Hampshire Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, which is donating one-time $250 grants to qualified applicants.

So far, about $131,000 has been raised for the program with $75,000 distributed.

The commission said 1,250 raffle tickets will be sold for $100 each through June 1. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Dems Call For Guv To End 'Unconstitutional Unaccountable Scheme'

Five Executive Council candidates, all Democrats, held a press conference Wednesday calling on the governor to end his bypass of both the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee — "which is already established, is experienced at approving funds during emergencies like this one, is bipartisan, and is the fastest vehicle for getting communities the help they need" — and the Executive Council, which oversees spending in the state on most line items above $5,000.

Cinde Warmington, a Concord attorney and District 2 candidate, wondered why the governor was going to "such great lengths to avoid accountability and oversight" while Craig Thompson, a farmer, and another candidate from District 2, said the governor needed to "get out of the way" and let the fiscal committee do its job. Emmett Soldati, the owner of Teatotaller café in Somersworth and another District 2 candidate, called for equity with the spending while Leah Plunkett, another District 2 candidate from Concord, called for putting citizens ahead of special interests.

Patricia Lovejoy and Mindi Messmer, who are both running for the District 3 seat, also participated in the call.

Stop The Spread Of COVID-19!

COVID-19, not unlike the flu and other respiratory illnesses, 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

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