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Remember the 1 million COVID tests sent to N.H. liquor stores? Most of them are still unsold.

A view of the checkout at a New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet
Michael Brindley

The 1 million COVID-19 tests the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services ordered in January to sell at state liquor stores didn’t quite fly off the shelves, leaving about 926,000 tests still available.

The department has asked the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee for permission to send many of the surplus tests to health centers, schools, camps and child care programs.

In her request, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said sales of the $11.29 tests slowed at liquor stores as tests became more available elsewhere. That wasn’t the case in January when the department purchased the tests using $12 million in federal pandemic relief money.

The department said at the time it would use sales proceeds, which totaled about $833,600, for other allowed expenses.

The state wants to hold onto 175,000 of the unsold tests for other uses and distribute the rest at no cost to Federal Qualified Health Centers (187,700); public health networks (140,800); schools (187,700); summer camps (140,800); and child care programs (93,800).

“The proposed redistribution is reflective of the current and anticipated need in the coming months,” Shibinette wrote.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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