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Coronavirus Blog: Earlier Updates (Jan. 1 - Feb. 15, 2021)

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This post gathers NHPR's past updates on coronavirus in New Hampshire in December 2020.

NOTE: Some of the stories below may contained outdated guidance and stories that have since evolved. Please click the links below for the most up-to-date coverage and guidance. 

Earlier updates:

Active cases drop below 3,000 in New Hampshire

Update: Monday, Feb. 15, 3:15 p.m.

Two more Granite Staters have died from the coronavirus, state health officials announced Monday. The patients were residents of Coos and Hillsborough counties.

Get updates on COVID and vaccines in New Hampshire daily - sign up for our Coronavirus Newsletter.

The state also announced 258 new positive test results for COVID-19, including thirty-two patients under the age of 18. According to the state, health officials are tracking 2,953 active coronavirus cases, the first time case numbers have dropped below 3,000 since mid-November.

Hospitalizations in New Hampshire currently number 125.

- NHPR Staff

Three more residents die from COVID-19

Update: Sunday, Feb. 14, 4:35 p.m.

State health officials reported that three more New Hampshire residents have died from the coronavirus. The state's death toll since the start of the pandemic stands at 1,133.

The state also reported 292 new COVID-19 cases. Currently, 3,365 active cases are being tracked by the state, and 126 residents are hospitalized.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. confirms 70,000 known coronavirus cases since March

Update: Saturday, Feb. 13, 3:21 p.m.

Five more residents have died from the coronavirus.

The deaths announced by the state Saturday increased New Hampshire's total death toll from the virus to 1,130. 

The state reported 441 new cases and 3,253 active infections statewide. There are 128 current hospitalizations.

Since March, the state has confirmed 70,505 coronavirus cases.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. announces nine additional COVID deaths

  Update: Friday, Feb. 12, 7:01 p.m.

State health officials have announced nine additional deaths from COVID-19.

The update brings the total number of coronavirus deaths in the state to 1,126. 

The state reported 464 new cases Friday night. There are currently 131 residents hospitalized with the virus and 3,216 active infections statewide.

- NHPR Staff

Fighting vaccine misinformation in prison populations

Update: Friday, Feb. 12, 5:49 p.m.

Defense attorneys say they're working with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections to combat misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine in state prisons.

Although inmates are not a prioritized category under the state’s vaccine rollout, the Department of Corrections is offering vaccines to inmates whose age or medical condition make them eligible and to corrections officers, who are included in phase 1B.

But defense attorneys say there's distrust among some inmates about the roll-out, spurred in part by false rumors that the vaccine is expired or will cause sterilization.

“In this country we have a history of forced sterilization of men and women, so I get where that’s coming from, but the COVID vaccine does not cause sterilization,” said Robin Melone, president of the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Melone and members of the ACLU are encouraging inmates at the State Prison for Men in Concord to share public health information about the safety and importance of vaccinations.

"We know that vaccination is one way and probably the quickest way for our inmate populations to resume some sort of semblance of normal lives,” she says.

Normal operations, such as in-person family visits and some drug treatment services, have been limited during the pandemic at the state prison, where around 250 inmates have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic.

- Sarah Gibson

Sununu extends NH state emergency for another 21 days

Update: Friday, Feb. 12, 3:37 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu has issued an executive order that extends the state of emergency he first declared on March 13, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the 16th extension of the state of emergency. Read the order.

The extension, which was anticipated, comes as state health officials confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, aka the UK variant. State epidemiologist Benjamin Chan said in a statement that it' was not surprising that New Hampshire found its first case of the variant.

The state says there's no risk of further spread at this time. Read more.

- NHPR Staff

Governor lifts hiring freeze

Update: Friday, Feb. 12, 10:01 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu has lifted the order on a state hiring freeze first implemented in April, less than a month after the state and federal emergency declarations were issued.

In a statement Friday, Sununu noted the state was anticipating revenue shortfalls of up to $350 million back in the spring. It's now expected to be less than $50 million. READ the latest emergency order.

The governor discussed New Hampshire's economic challenges related to the pandemic when he presented his proposed $13.8 billion two-year state budget yesterday.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. announces one additional COVID death

Update: Thursday, Feb. 11, 5:30 p.m.

One additional Granite Stater has died from COVID-19.

The state announced a man from Hillsborough County was the latest virus-connected fatality. New Hampshire has recorded 1,117 coronavirus deaths and confirmed 69,612 cases since the pandemic began.

There were 394 new cases announced Thursday and the number of active infections statewide is 3,146.

The state's hospitalizations dropped five patients from yesterday; 138 residents are currently hospitalized.

The state has been averaging between 370 and 430 new cases a day for the last week.

The communities with the highest rates of active cases, adjusted for population, include Plymouth, Pembroke, Windham, Salem and Durham, where University of New Hampshire officials just announced plans to pause all in-person classes due to surging cases.

The state is reporting substantial transmission in all counties, and despite declining hospitalizations and other encouraging signs, officials say the public needs to stay cautious to avoid catching or spreading the virus.

- NPHR Staff

Likely new guidance coming for camps and bar entertainment

Thursday, Feb. 11, 12:20 p.m. 

The state task force working on possible changes to New Hampshire's coronavirus restrictions has issued some new recommendations. 

The recommendations include lifting some restrictions for restaurants and bars in connection with pool tables, dartboards and karaoke performances.

READ MORE from the AP

374 new cases, 7 deaths announced

Update: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5:15 p.m.

State health officials announced a further seven deaths today. To date, 1,116 New Hampshire residents have died due to the coronavirus. The state also reported 374 new cases, 76 of them in children and teens. One positive sign: since Jan. 23, the seven-day average in new cases has been steadily dropping, from 838 to today's average of 370.

The current test positivity rate stands at 4.4%. Health officials suggest a positivity rate of sub-5% is necessary to keep the virus under control. N.H.'s rate has met that threshold since Feb. 2.

Hospitalizations continue to decrease. On Wednesday, 142 residents were hospitalized due to the virus -- less than half the number at the start of the new year.

- NHPR Staff

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Catch-all bill would provide additional pandemic relief

Update: Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2:19 p.m.

The New Hampshire Senate is considering a COVID-19 catch-all bill that seeks to help nursing home residents, live performance venues, small business owners and employees required to get tested for the virus.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on a bill that would bring in outside consultants to assess the state's nursing homes and long term care facilities, create grant programs to support the live performance industry and businesses with five workers or fewer and require employers to bear the cost of COVID-19 tests that aren't covered by insurers when they require employees to get tested.

- AP

State reports three new deaths, downward trends in cases and hospitalizations

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 3:20 p.m.

Three more Granite Staters have died from the coronavirus, state health officials announced Tuesday. Of the new deaths, one patient was associated with a long-term care facility. Since the start of the pandemic, 1,109 New Hampshire residents have died from the virus. 

The state also reported 421 newly-identified COVID-19 infections. According to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, the seven-day average for new cases is between 350-400, and the test posititivity average is 4.4%, both down from the previous week's report. 

According to Chan, the state is currently monitoring 3,170 active COVID cases, and 159 patients are hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

State reports lowest number of new infections since October

Update: Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

New Hampshire health officials announced the deaths of two additional residents from COVID-19 on Monday. The patients were from Hillsborough and Rockingham counties. Since the start of the pandemic, 1,106 Granite Staters have died from the virus.

The state also reported 121 new positive test results for the coronavirus, the lowest new case report since October of last year. Health officials are reporting 3,245 active COVID-19 infections in New Hampshire, and 179 current hospitalizations.

- NHPR Staff

Sullivan County Jail managing COVID-19 outbreak

Update: Monday, Feb. 8, 4:05 p.m.

The Sullivan County Jail in Unity is managing an active outbreak of the coronavirus. 23 inmates and six staff are currently positive with COVID-19. About two dozen have recently recovered.

Jail administrators say they have required testing for inmates showing symptoms since the pandemic began, and are now now offering testing within the facility twice a week. They say inmates who test positive are seen by medical staff five times a day.

The Strafford County Jail and the Correctional Facility for Women in Concord are also monitoring outbreaks.

- Sarah Gibson

Six more New Hampshire deaths, active cases drop below 4,000

Update: Sunday, Feb. 7, 6:15 p.m.

Six additional New Hampshire residents have died from COVID-19, according to a report from state health officials Sunday. The new deaths bring New Hampshire's toll from the virus to 1,104 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state reported 3,661 active infections in the Granite State, the first time case numbers have dropped below 4,000 since late November.

Health officials also announced 362 newly-identified infectons. The state's current positivity rate stands at 2.7%, a significant drop from recent weeks. Resident hospitalizations number 186, the state announced.

- NHPR Staff

Explore the data: Visit NHPR's COVID-19 tracker

8 more deaths, 477 new COVID cases

Update: Saturday, Feb. 6, 4:45 p.m.

New Hampshire state health officials reported eight additional deaths and 477 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

The fatalities are across six counties. To date, 1,098 residents have died due to the virus, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 183 patients currently hospitalized and there are 4,021 active infections statewide. Seventy-five of the new cases are under age 18.

- NHPR Staff

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N.H. announces six additional COVID deaths

Update: Friday, Feb. 5, 6:47 p.m.

Six additional residents have died due to the coronavirus, the state announced tonight. Three of the deaths were from Hillsborough County, and one each from Coos, Merrimack, and Rockingham counties.

Health officials also reported 500 new cases and 4,062 active infections statewide.

Since the pandemic began, New Hampshire has had 1,091 deaths from the virus and confirmed 67,595 cases of COVID-19.

As of Friday morning, 198 residents are hospitalized for treatment related to the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Two dozen residential outbreaks still active in New Hampshire

Update: Thursday, Feb. 4, 7:45 p.m.

The list of active COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, jails and other congregate settings is growing shorter each week, but more than two dozen outbreaks are still ongoing.

Three of the state’s five largest active outbreaks are at correctional facilities: the New Hampshire State Prison for Men, Hillsborough County Jail and Strafford County Jail. Outbreaks are also ongoing at the Sullivan County Jail and the New Hampshire State Prison for Women.

More than a dozen long-term care facilities are also battling active clusters of coronavirus. That includes Hillsborough County Nursing Home, with 16 deaths and more than 160 cases reported among residents and staff since the start of January. This comes after the same county home battled another severe outbreak last spring and summer, which infected more than 200 people and claimed 16 lives.

- Casey McDermott

Sununu apologizes for problems with vaccine scheduling

Update: Thursday, Feb. 4, 5:40 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu is apologizing for a botched rollout of scheduling for second dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments. This week, tens of thousands of residents who had been told they could make second appointments within the CDC’s recommended timeframe logged on to find no new slots available.

“Obviously, it’s been a very frustrating week for a lot of our citizens,” Sununu said. “We apologize, we understand it. We’ve literally been working around the clock to correct it.”

Sununu said the issue was with a CDC-run database called VAMS. New Hampshire is just one of a handful of states using VAMS to schedule vaccines.

Starting next week, second dose appointments will be made automatically. Appointment cards will be handed to residents as they receive their first doses.

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette says the state has so far administered 148,000 vaccine doses, with 110,000 of those first shots, and 38,000 second does.

-Todd Bookman

N.H. reports 9 more COVID-19 deaths; new infections trending downward

Update: Thursday, Feb. 4, 3:20 p.m.

State health officials announced the deaths of nine more Granite Staters from COVID-19 or virus-related conditions Thursday, bringing New Hampshire's death toll since the start of the pandemic to 1,085.

According to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, today's report is on par with the past week, during which 63 residents have died. 

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The state also announced 433 new positive test results for COVID-19 Thursday. According to Chan, the average number of newly-identified cases has hovered between 400 and 450 in the last week, which he says is a significant decrease from previous weeks. (You can explore the state's data on NHPR's COVID-19 tracker right here.)

The state is currently tracking 4,099 active coronavirus cases, and 209 residents are hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Ten more deaths, 354 new cases announced

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 3, 5:21 p.m.

Even as New Hampshire reports fewer new infections and hospitalizations from COVID-19, the death toll remains steady.

Ten more people were confirmed dead from coronavirus on Wednesday, for a total of 1,076 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. Most of those who've died from COVID-19  have been over age 60 or associated with long-term care settings. But New Hampshire's death toll also includes six people under age 40, and 11 healthcare workers.

More than 120 people have been reported dead from COVID-19 in just the past two weeks.

The state is averaging about 470 new cases a day over the last week, about half the rate of a month ago. Still, transmission remains high across the state and officials urge people to follow precautions to limit spread of the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Dartmouth, UNH to hold in-person graduation ceremonies

Update: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2:57 p.m.

Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire are planning in-person graduation ceremonies this spring, with restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dartmouth will limit its on-campus ceremony in June to graduating seniors and graduate and professional school graduates, with family and friends viewing online.

The college had hoped to also hold a delayed celebration for last year's graduating class, but that won't be happening. In Durham, UNH will hold ceremonies for the class of 2020 on May 15 and for the Class of 2021 the following weekend. Students will be limited to two guests.

- AP 

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7 new COVID-19 deaths, 328 new cases

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 4:11 p.m.

The state announced seven additional COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. The latest report brings the total number of coronavirus deaths in New Hampshire to 1,066.

There are 4,222 active infections statewide and 328 new cases reported - both numbers that are trending downward.

Health officials say 202 residents are currently hospitalized due to the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Current vaccination rate around 3,000 per day

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 4:00 p.m.

A week into the state's efforts to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 65, New Hampshire is vaccinating about three thousand people per day.

Dr. Beth Daly is the Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control for the state. She says more vaccination sites will open as the state receives more doses from the federal government.

“[A]s we get more vaccines available to us, we will absolutely onboard more locations. And the goal is to make this as available as the influenza vaccine, right? We just don't have the number of vaccines available to us to make that happen."

The state is in Phase 1B of its vaccination rollout. In addition to those 65 and older, younger people who have serious medical conditions are now eligible for their first doses.

- Mary McIntyre

N.H. considers more renter protections amid pandemic

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2:01 p.m.

Some renters facing eviction during the coronavirus pandemic would get extra time to come up with cash under a bill before a House committee.

The measure sponsored by Rep. Casey Conley, a Democrat from Dover, would require courts to pause eviction cases for 30 days if the renter has applied for help from a federal, state or local housing assistance program.

On Tuesday, he called it a temporary, critical lifeline for tenants facing financial difficulty during the pandemic. The Apartment Association of New Hampshire opposed the bill.

- AP

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Some residents report problems making second vaccine appointments

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 2, 12:00 p.m.

Some New Hampshire residents are expressing frustration as they continue to struggle to make timely appointments for their second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The state announced it would open up new appointment windows at 8am Tuesday. The move came following complaints that second appointments were booked out well beyond the CDC’s recommended six-week maximum between shots.

But many residents say the new system isn’t working for them. Debra Woodward of North Hampton said she’s been checking for an earlier appointment, but the state website shows none are available.

“They should have been ready for all of these people to get online,” Woodward said. “And it’s just, they said they had more appointments and they obviously don’t.”

The state says it is aware of the issue and will continue to release new appointments over the next 48-hours.

-Todd Bookman

Update: Monday, Feb. 1, 6:30 p.m.

State health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths Monday, bringing New Hampshire's total deaths since the start of the pandemic to 1,059.

Continuing a recent trend of declining case numbers, officials also announced 364 new infections. For the first time since early December, coronavirus hospitalizations have dipped below 200, and now number 193, according to the state.

- NHPR Staff

Bookmark this page and tune in to NHPR for more updates on this developing story.

Winter storm shuts down state's vaccination sites

Update: Monday, Feb. 1, 12:15 p.m.

The state is closing its COVID-19 vaccination sites on Tuesday, citing the impending winter storm. State health officials say that they have already reached out to anyone with an appointment and offered them a vaccine slot today.

State-run coronavirus testing sites in Concord in Londonderry will also be closed on Tuesday. Appointments at those sites are being rescheduled.

- Todd Bookman

UNH starts spring semester with new protocols, safeguards in place

Update: Monday, Feb. 1, 12:10 p.m.  

The University of New Hampshire is starting its spring semester today. Students began arriving on campus last week, and will return to in-person learning. Students were required to show a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and were tested a second time on campus.

The semester is starting a week later than originally scheduled, and there will be no spring break in order to limit the chances of exposure. 

The university has added beds to its COVID-19 isolation dorm. It's also starting a pilot program that will allow a small number of students to attend UNH hockey games through a lottery system.

- Mary McIntyre

New Hampshire reports 16 more COVID-19 deaths

Update: Sunday, Jan. 31, 6:25 p.m.  

State health officials announced 369 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, the lowest daily count since Thanksgiving, right before holiday-related travel and gatherings led to a surge of new infections across the state.

But while case numbers and hospitalizations have been trending down in New Hampshire, the average daily death tally has remained relatively steady for several weeks. On Sunday, 16 new deaths were announced.

Two hundred people were reported to be hospitalized in New Hampshire due to COVID-19 Sunday. That's down from more than 330 a month ago.

The seven-day average of new deaths has remained between eight and 10 since the second week in January.

The vast majority of COVID-19 fatalities in New Hampshire have been among residents over the age of 65. The state began prioritizing that group for vaccines starting last week.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. reports 6 additional COVID-19 deaths

Update: Saturday, Jan. 30, 4:02 p.m.

State health officials announced six additional COVID-19 deaths Saturday. Since the pandemic began, New Hampshire has recorded 1,042 deaths due to the virus.

Three of the deaths were from Cheshire County. Three others were residents from Hillsborough, Rockingham and Strafford counties.

The state reported 537 new cases and 217 current hospitalizations Saturday. There are 5,238 active COVID-19 infections statewide.

- NHPR Staff

Northeast states extend ban on interstate youth hockey

Update: Saturday, Jan. 30, 9:01 a.m.

Interstate youth hockey competitions will remain prohibited in New England and New Jersey until at least April 1, the region's governors said Friday.

The seven states previously had suspended interstate youth hockey activities for public and private schools and youth leagues through Jan. 31.

The prohibition does not apply to collegiate, professional or U.S. national team hockey activities. Ice rinks in some states had been temporarily closed last year because of clusters of COVID-19 linked to games and practices. The states have issued new guidance on games, fan numbers, and face coverings.

— AP 

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State announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Update: Friday, Jan. 29, 6:25 p.m.

State health officials announced the deaths of 14 more Granite Staters from the coronavirus Friday. New Hampshire's death toll from the virus now stands at 1,036.

The state also announced 614 newly-identified COVID-19 infections, and is currently tracking more than 5,000 active cases. There are 214 residents hospitalized with the virus.

The latest report from the Department of Health and Human Services includes positive test results in all ten New Hampshire counties, including 87 patients under the age of 18.

- NHPR Staff

Additional second dose appointments open up for Phase 1B

Updated: Friday, Jan. 29, 5:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., additional second dose appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available for scheduling in CDC’s VAMs scheduling system. Phase 1B participants who have received their first dose were emailed instructions earlier today.

These second dose appointments will only available to people that have already received their first dose and are scheduling their second dose, and those who have already scheduled their second dose appointments but would like to reschedule for an earlier date.

A reminder email with a link is set to go out on Monday, February 1.  The email will come from no-reply@nh.gov

- NHPR Staff

N.H. DOE announces release of $156 million in COVID funds

Update: Friday, Jan. 29, 2:59 p.m.

The state Department of Education announced $156 million in federal funds are being released to support public schools in response to COVID-19.

The funding, via the coronavirus relief act, includes help for schools to reopen, assess student learning and support low-income students, and other steps to mitigate the impact of the virus on students and families, according to the DOE.

New Hampshire education has received more than $218 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding. View the state's town-by-town breakdown of federal COVID grants awarded.

- NHPR Staff

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Littleton Regional Healthcare vaccination appointments cancelled due to scheduling error

Update: Friday, Jan. 29, 10:52 a.m.

Littleton Regional Healthcare says a scheduling error means all appointments made there before January 25th for a COVID-19 vaccination were canceled and need to be rescheduled.

Marti Faulkner and her husband had both scheduled their vaccination appointments for Friday and were surprised to hear it had been cancelled.

“Last night, the 28th, we both received an email from the CDC verifying that our appointments are cancelled with a link to reschedule.”

Littleton Regional Healthcare's website has instructions for rescheduling vaccine appointments. The contact email is: geninfo@lrhcares.org

- NHPR Staff

16 additional COVID-19 deaths announced

Update: Thursday, Jan. 28, 4:29 p.m.

Sixteen additional residents have died from the coronavirus, state health officials announced Thursday.

The state also reported 721 new COVID-19 cases. There are 5,374 active infections statewide and 222 residents are in the hospital for treatment.

Since the pandemic began, New Hampshire has recorded 1,022 deaths and confirmed 64,258 positive cases of coronavirus.

- NHPR Staff

12 More COVID-19 Deaths In New Hampshire

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 5:25 p.m.

New Hampshire's death toll from COVID-19 is now more than 1,000. Today's announcement of 12 deaths brings the total number of fatalities in the state to 1,006, according to health officials. 

The state also reported 440 newly-identified COVID-19 cases, including 59 patients under the age of 18. There are currently 5,214 active infections being tracked by health officials, and 223 residents are hospitalized with the virus. 

- NHPR Staff

Vaccinations For Some Prison Inmates To Begin This Week

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 5:10 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections says it hopes to start vaccinating inmates who fall within phase 1B for the coronavirus vaccine this week.

The Department says it has a list of eligible inmates who are 65 or older, or who have two or more conditions. Once vaccines arrive, they will be administered by prison medical staff.

The National Guard has deployed some soldiers and airmen to the New Hampshire Men's Prison in Concord to provide security. Recent COVID-19 outbreaks have left a critical shortage of corrections officers.

-Peter Biello

Some N.H. Residents Report Delay In Getting COVID Relief Checks

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 12:20 p.m.

Sen. Maggie Hassan is urging the IRS to address issues with federal COVID-19 relief payments sent to New Hampshire residents.

In a letter sent to the agency Tuesday, Hassan said that more than 100 residents had reached out to her office because they didn’t receive the full economic impact payments and tax refunds they’re eligible for.

Some Social Security beneficiaries said they did not automatically receive the $600 payments they are eligible for. Others who filed taxes returns jointly said they received $600 payments instead of $1,200 payments for which they appear eligible.

Others who sent in 2019 paper tax returns have not had those processed, resulting in delayed tax refunds and delays in receiving federal relief. Hassan is asking the IRS to process those returns.

-Daniela Allee

Long wait times reported between first and second COVID vaccine doses

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 26, 5:40 p.m.

Phase 1B of coronavirus vaccination began today. Some people who received their first dose of the vaccine say they aren’t able to schedule the necessary second dose for up to six weeks.

The state says it is aware of the long lag-time and will soon release new appointment windows for those scheduling a second dose. Perry Plummer is coordinating vaccine distribution for the state.

“If you've got your first dose, and you are scheduled for your second dose, and you had to schedule out a ways, we’ll be able to open up more second dose appointments. We already have a plan to do that, we have the capacity to do it.”

The Pfizer doses require at least a 21-day window; the Moderna version is 28 days. Officials say second doses do not need to be delivered on those exact intervals to be effective.

- Todd Bookman

New Hampshire reports four more coronavirus deaths

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 26, 3:15 p.m.

State health officals announced four additional COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, bringing New Hampshire's death toll from the virus to 994. There are currently 5,430 known patients with active cases of the coronavirus. The state also reported 435 new positive test results for COVID-19.

According to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire's COVID-19 test positivity rate is trending downward, and is currently at 6.1%. Chan also says that overall case and death numbers are declining, but that community transmission of the virus is still a serious concern.

The state also announced the closure of 12 outbreaks at residential facilities, and reported no new outbreaks.

- NHPR Staff

AT Thru-hikers told to stand down this season

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 26, 10:01 a.m.

Hikers are being advised to postpone plans to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail this year due to COVID-19.

The Asheville Citizen Times reports the Appalachian Trail Conservancy made the suggestion because it feels the pandemic makes long-distance hikes unsafe. Morgan Sommerville, regional director for the conservancy, says that as long as the pandemic continues, while vaccines aren't widely available and there's been no all-clear signs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the conservancy is recommending against long-distance hikes on the trail.

The Appalachian Trail runs through 14 states from Georgia to Maine and covers 2,193 miles. There are more than 160 miles of the AT in New Hampshire, including the iconic stretch in the White Mountains.

- Associated Press

New Hampshire reports three more COVID-19 deaths

Update: Monday, Jan. 25, 5:35 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials announced Monday that three more residents have died from COVID-19, bringing the state's total deaths to 990 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The patients who died resided in Hillsborough and Merrimack counties.

The state also announced 434 new positive test results for the virus. There are currently 5,627 active COVID-19 cases being tracked by the state, and 230 Granite Staters are hospitalized with the coronavirus.

- NHPR Staff

Some residents report confusion with next step of vaccine scheduling

Update: Sunday, Jan. 24, 9:30 p.m.

As New Hampshire expands COVID-19 vaccines to all residents over the age of 65, some are expressing confusion with the second step of the vaccine registration process.

Around 150,000 residents who are eligible as part of Phase 1B completed the first step by enrolling with the state over the past few days. But a follow-up email from the CDC, with a second registration process, is proving more challenging for some.

Bill Provencal, an 83-year-old man from Pittsfield, said the form contained strangely worded descriptions and hard to complete answers.

“Then it became very, very confusing,” he said. “There were, like, arrows pointing here and, you know, it just wasn’t kind to you, at all.”

Provencal said he nevertheless completed the form and got an appointment.

The state sent out an email late Friday with suggestions for successfully filling out the federal form.

Susan Goodwin and her husband Peter of Wolfeboro said the wording of some questions, as well as the process of filling in answers, was less than straightforward.

"We consider ourselves probably above average in intelligence, and it’s like, ‘Why is this so hard,’ you know?” Goodwin said.

Anyone with questions can call 2-1-1.

-NHPR staff

Six more New Hampshire residents die of COVID-19

Update: Sunday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m.

State health officials announced six more coronavirus deaths Sunday, bringing New Hampshire's death toll since the start of the pandemic to 987. The patients who died were all over 60, according to the state, and resided in Belknap, Coos, Rockingham, and Sullivan counties.

The Department of Health and Human Services also reported 808 new COVID-19 cases, including 98 positive test results for individuals younger than 18. There are currently more than six thousand active coronavirus cases in New Hampshire, and 239 residents are hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. announces 10 additional deaths

Update: Saturday, Jan. 23, 4:22 p.m.

Ten additional Granite Staters have died due to the coronavirus, the state announced Saturday. Five of the fatalities were from Hillsborough County. The remaining five deaths were from the counties of: Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, and Sullivan.

Since the pandemic began, 981 residents have died from COVID-19 and the state has confirmed more than 61,000 cases. 

As of Saturday, there are just under 6,000 active infections in New Hampshire. 

State health officials reported 636 new cases and 229 current hospitalizations.

- NHPR Staff

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State reports nine more COVID-19 deaths

Update: Friday, Jan. 22, 5:10 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that nine more residents have died from COVID-19. The patients who died resided in Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, and Rockingham counties. The state's death toll from the virus now stands at 971.

State health officials also reported 724 new positive test results for the coronavirus. Of the newly identified cases, 114 patients are under the age of 18.

According to officials, community transmission is continuing to occur in all New Hampshire counties, with most new cases being traced to contact to people with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses or associated with outbreaks at residential facilities.

- NHPR Staff

Portion of vaccines allocated to vulnerable communities

Update: Friday, Jan. 22, 5:01 p.m.

New Hampshire is allocating 10 percent of its COVID-19 vaccines to communities that are especially vulnerable to coronavirus infection. Mobile vaccinations to reach those communities are set to start next week.

Black and Latino residents in New Hampshire have made up a disproportionate share of COVID cases and hospitalizations. Michael Apollo, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the Nashua Public Health Network, says Nashua and other cities are using census data and the COVID-19 vulnerability index to identify where to set up mobile vaccination clinics.

The city will also be relying on community health workers to reach Spanish, Portuguese, French and Swahili speakers and let them know about the vaccinations.

- Daniela Allee

Governor Sununu extends State of Emergency

Update: Friday, Jan. 22, 3:26 p.m.

Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued Executive Order 2021-1, the fifteenth extension of the State of Emergency declared in Executive Order 2020-04, and Emergency Order #83, giving towns flexibility to postpone or reschedule 2021 town meetings and preprocess ballots in local 2021 elections prior to the enactment of Senate Bill 2.

SB2, to be taken up by the NH House in February and expected to pass, offers towns these provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the emergency order will allow towns to make those decisions earlier.

- NHPR Staff

Vaccine registration for Phase 1B off to busy start

 Update: Friday, Jan. 22, 12:29 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says registration for the next phase of New Hampshire's coronavirus vaccination plan got off to a quick start, with 60,000 people signing up in the first 40 minutes.

Registration opened at 8 a.m. Friday for the approximately 325,000 people in Phase 1B of the state's vaccination plan. That includes anyone age 65 or older, people with at least two qualifying medical conditions, corrections workers, and staff and residents of residential facilities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The easiest way to register is via the vaccines.nh.gov website. Those who can't schedule an appointment online can call the state's 2-1-1 hotline.

- AP 

State announces 12 deaths, 925 new COVID cases

Update: Thursday, Jan. 21, 3:20 p.m.

State health officials announced Thursday that 12 more New Hampshire residents have died from COVID-19. Six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at long-term care facilities. In the past week, the state has lost 65 people to the virus.

The state also reported 925 new coronavirus cases. Active cases in New Hampshire now number 6,204. 240 Granite Staters are currently hospitalized with the virus.

According to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, the test positivity rate has fallen slightly in the past week, from around 7% to 6.8%. Community transmission continues to be significant across the state, Chan said.

Several new residential outbreaks were reported, including at New Hampshire's State Prison for Women in Concord. 

- NHPR Staff

Twelve more COVID-19 deaths announced in New Hampshire

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 5:00 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced twelve additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the state's death toll to 950 since the start of the pandemic.

The state also reported 729 new COVID-19 cases, including 109 individuals under the age of 18. There are currently 254 Granite Staters hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Majority of Valley Street Jail Inmates Considered 'Recovered'

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 3:30 p.m.  

The majority of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Street Jail in Manchester are considered recovered. Thirty-two inmates at the jail are still positive, and the state continues to test inmates and staff on a weekly basis.

So far, Valley Street Jail has had the largest coronavirus outbreak of any county jail in the state, with dozens of staff and 108 inmates testing positive since the beginning of December.

Judges have allowed some inmates there to be released on bail, citing concerns about medical care and COVID-19 conditions in the facility. 

Read the full story here.

-Sarah Gibson

COVID-19 test positivity rate falls in New Hampshire

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 11:20 a.m.  

The percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus in New Hampshire has fallen in recent weeks, though it remains well above where health officials say it should be to limit community spread.

The so-called test positivity rate, which measures the number of positive cases out of everyone getting tested, peaked above ten percent in New Hampshire earlier this month. Speaking on NHPR’s The Exchange Wednesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said the seven-day average is now under 7 percent. (Listen to the full episode of The Exchange here.)

“The trend is promising. The overall number still remains too high. We’d like to see that certainly below 5-percent, and the lower the better,” Chan said.

Chan said the positivity rate is one of the key measures in determining if the state is performing enough testing to identify and isolate people with the virus.

- Todd Bookman

5 more deaths in New Hampshire

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 5:20 p.m.

State health officials reported Tuesday that five more Granite Staters have died from COVID-19. The patients were residents of Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Strafford counties. So far, 938 people have died from the virus in New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic.

The state also announced 877 new positive test results for the coronavirus, among them, 112 individuals under the age of 18. 

There are currently 254 patients hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Teachers seek earlier vaccination window

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 19, 12:01 p.m.

New Hampshire teachers and some residents are pushing for the state to prioritize teachers in its COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

Currently, K-12 teachers in New Hampshire are slated to begin receiving the vaccine in March, in spite of CDC recommendations to put teachers in Phase 1 of vaccine distribution.

Gov. Chris Sununu says that's because vaccines need to go first to those at the highest risk of death and hospitalization from COVID-19.

The state's largest teachers union, NEA-NH, is asking Sununu to move teachers to Phase 1B. This is also the request of over 8,000 people who have signed petitions on change.org, started by a preschool owner in Amherst and parent in Manchester.

The organizers plan to deliver these petitions to the governor this week.

- Sarah Gibson

State announces 1,034 cases; positivity rate of 8.2%

Update: Monday, Jan. 18, 5:45 p.m.

State health officials announced 1,034 new positive test results for COVID-19 on Monday, bringing total infections in New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic to 57,864. No new deaths were announced.

Of the new cases, 138 patients are under the age of 18. There are currently 237 Granite Staters hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

State announced six additional COVID-19 deaths

Update: Sunday, Jan. 17, 5:35 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services reported six additional residents have died from the coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll to 933 since the start of the pandemic. There are 6,387 active COVID cases statewide, and 243 residents are currently hospitalized.

The state also announced 941 new positive test results for COVID-19, including 130 patients under the age of 18. According to DHHS, community-based transmission of the coronavirus continues to occur across the state, and has been identified in all counties.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. has had 927 COVID-19 deaths to date

Update: Saturday, Jan. 16, 5:01 p.m.

State health officials announced on Saturday an additional 19 coronavirus deaths, bringing the state total to 927 since the start of the pandemic.

These included residents from Belknap, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan counties -- all 60 or older.

Another 483 new cases were announced. There are currently 252 people hospitalized with the virus and 6,081 active infections.

The state announced on Thursday that residents 65 and older will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine during the next vaccination phase.

- Daniela Allee

11 additional deaths; 794 new cases

Update: Friday, Jan. 15, 6:21 p.m.

Eleven more Granite Staters have died due to the coronavirus. State health officials said Friday night that the residents, all of whom were over 60, were from seven of New Hampshire's 10 counties.

The state reported 794 new cases, and 105 of those individuals are under 18 years old. There are 6,574 active infections statewide and 255 residents are currently hospitalized with the virus.

Since March, New Hampshire has recorded 908 deaths and 55,500 total COVID-19 cases.

- NHPR Staff

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N.H. mask mandate extended through March 26

Update: Friday, Jan. 15, 3:17 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu has issued an executive order to extend New Hampshire's state mask mandate through March 26. Read the latest emergency order here.

"With high case rates, hospitalizations, and fatalities, our health care system is still under an immense amount of pressure," Sununu said in a press release. "To loosen or eliminate the tools we have utilized with success so far is the wrong approach to fighting this pandemic. The light at the end of the tunnel is within sight - but we must remain vigilant and we cannot let up now."

The governor first announced New Hampshire's mask mandate on Nov. 19. It took effect Nov. 20.

Sununu also issued an order extending the state's travel guidance.

- NHPR Staff

Your FAQs Answered: What You Need To Know About Coronavirus in N.H.

N.H. issues more emergency nursing licenses

Updated: Friday, Jan. 15, 2:50 p.m.

New Hampshire has issued 115 emergency nursing licenses to nursing students and EMTs as of Friday.

In the past several weeks, Governor Chris Sununu issued two emergency orders that allow certain nursing students, EMTs and military service members to apply for a temporary license. It's part of the effort to alleviate the state's nursing staffing shortage, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state has lost about twelve-hundred licensed nursing assistants since 2018, according to the New Hampshire Healthcare Association.

- Daniela Allee

On Jan. 22, residents 65 and older can register for the vaccine

Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday that the state has updated its COVID-19 vaccination plan to allow residents 65 and older to start registering for the vaccine. The state unveiled a new website to assist with the next phases of the vaccination plan:  vaccines.nh.gov

N.H. Residents 65 And Older Can Register for COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week

State announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated: Thursday, January 14, 4:15 p.m.

State health officials Thursday announced twelve more COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire. Nine of the patients who died were associated with long-term care facilities, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan.

The state also announced 706 new coronavirus infections. According to Chan, the past week has seen an average of 750-800 new cases per day. 70 patients have died in that same period.

Currently, there are 6,728 known active COVID infections in New Hampshire. 270 residents are hospitalized with virus. 

New residential outbreaks announced; previous outbreaks closed

The Department of Health and Human Services announced eleven new residential outbreaks Thursday, at: Birch Hill in Manchester, Carriage Hill Assisted Living, Dover Center for Health and Rehab, Greystone Farm at Salem, Keene Center/Genesis HealthCare, Kendal at Hanover, Lafayette Center/Genesis HealthCare in Franconia, Langdon Place of Nashua/Genesis HealthCare, Meredith Bay Colony Club, St. Vincent Rehab and Nursing, and Summerhill Assisted Living in Peterborough.

According to DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette, ten outbreaks at residential facilities in New Hampshire have been closed, at: Bedford Hills Center/Genesis HealthCare, The Courville at Bedford - Carlyle, The Elms Center/Genesis HealthCare in Milford, Fairview Senior Living in Hudson, Green Mountain Treatment Center in Effingham, Hanover Hill in Manchester, Lakes Region Community Services, Fairview Nursing Home, Mount Prospect Academy Seacoast Treatment and Stabilization Center, The Residence at Salem Woods, and Warde Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Windham.

- NHPR Staff

7 more New Hampshire deaths, 1,082 new infections reported

Updated: January 13, 4:30 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human services announced seven additional COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, bringing the state's total deaths to 885.

State health officials also announced 1,082 newly detected coronavirus infections. There are currently 6,607 COVID patients in New Hampshire. Since the start of the pandemic, more than fifty-four thousand residents have tested positive for the virus.

- NHPR Staff

9 more New Hampshire COVID-19 deaths announced

Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 5:15 p.m.

State health officials Tuesday reported nine more Granite Staters have died from the coronavirus, bringing New Hampshire's death toll to 878 since the start of the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced 842 new positive test results for COVID-19, cases that span all ten of the state's counties. There are currently 287 residents hospitalized with the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Many hospitals remain full, but cautiously optimistic

Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 4:30 p.m.

287 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Hampshire. That's high compared to the overall span of the pandemic, but a slight decline from last week. Many hospitals remain full and expect to see cases linked to the winter holidays for about another week, but say they're cautiously optimistic about numbers leveling.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital CEO Dean Carucci says 20 surge beds were added recently, and some staff have taken extra shifts to keep other hospital services open.

"What we would be concerned with is if we see another 10 percent rise in our volume, let's say. Then you're talking about making decisions outside of normal operating."

Larger hospitals in the state like Portsmouth are continuing to take transfers from smaller ones, though available space remains limited.

- Jordyn Haime

State releases guidance for those who've gotten both vaccination shots

Updated: Tuesday, Jan 12, 1:30 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials have released new quarantine guidance for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Those who have had both doses of their vaccine and have waited 14 days after getting their second shot no longer need to quarantine or get tested after potential exposure to COVID-19, or after traveling outside of New England.

Some members of the first vaccination group - including front line health workers - have now had their second shot of the vaccine.

People within 90 days of a positive test can also follow the new guidance.

Non-essential travel is still discouraged, and anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should still isolate and get a test...as vaccines and previous infection do not provide 100 percent protection from the virus.

- Jordyn Haime

(Explore the Data: Tracking COVID-19 in New Hampshire)

UNH providing & processing COVID tests

Updated: Monday, Jan. 11, 5:23 p.m.

Since late December, the University of New Hampshire has been providing COVID-19 testing for 30 long-term care facilities and homeless shelters in the state.

More than 3,000 tests for those facilities have been processed at the university's testing lab, and UNH says it can process up to 1,000 tests a day for the state.

That testing for the state of New Hampshire will continue once classes are back in session, and is supported through CARES Act money.

UNH also processes the test results for its own community.  Students, faculty and staff are required to get tested at least once a week.

- Daniela Allee

711 new COVID-19 cases reported, no new deaths

Updated: Monday, Jan. 11, 5:10 p.m.

State health officials Monday announced 711 new positive tests for COVID-19 in New Hampshire. No new deaths were reported.

Since the start of the pandemic, 52,307 residents have contracted the virus, and 869 people have died.

- NHPR Staff

797 new cases & 7 deaths announced today

Updated: Sunday, Jan. 10, 4:58 p.m.

The N.H. Department of Health & Human Services announced another 797 new cases of COVID-19 today. Nearly 20% - 138 - of these new cases involve children and teenagers under 18 years of age.

7 additional deaths were also announced, spanning Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Coos counties. There are currently 6,454 confirmed active cases statewide, 262 hospitalized, and the virus has taken the lives of at least 869 Granite Staters.

- NHPR Staff

16 additional deaths, 817 new infections

Update: Saturday, Jan. 9, 6:09 p.m.

Another 16 deaths from COVID-19 were announced Saturday night.  

New Hampshire has now had 862 coronavirus deaths - with more than 100 of the fatalities recorded in 2021. The latest deaths were from six counties: Belknap County, five; Hillsborough County, four; Strafford County, three; Merrimack County, two; and Coos and Rockingham counties, one each.

State health officials also reported 817 new cases, with 109 of the individuals younger than 18. There are 268 residents hospitalized and there are 6,635 current cases statewide.

- NHPR Staff

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N.H. gets $156 million in relief funds

Update: Saturday, Jan. 9, 7:51 a.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Education has received an additional $156 million through the latest round of federal coronavirus relief funds.

The funding is intended to help school districts with safely reopening, assessing student learning, and other actions. The department is developing school-level allocations for the second Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said Thursday that the funds will provide additional resources to close the gaps that this pandemic has widened.

"COVID-19 has been the most disruptive event in the history of New Hampshire education, forcing us to adopt new methods of instruction and work even harder to meet the needs of our most vulnerable students," Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said in a statement Thursday. "These funds will provide additional resources to close the gaps that this pandemic has widened."

- AP 

Shaheen, Hassan vaccinated after violence, lockdown

Update: Saturday, Jan. 9, 7:30 a.m.

New Hampshire's U.S. senators have received their initial doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were vaccinated Thursday.

They said the attending physician of the U.S. Congress urged senators to get vaccinated after the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, when many senators were in a confined space for an extended period.

The senators, both Democrats, said they want constituents to know that they have full faith in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

- Associated Press

N.H.'s first phase is targeting front-line health care workers

Update: Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.

Over 80,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been allocated in New Hampshire so far, as of Thursday.

The state is still in the first phase of vaccination, targeting front-line health care workers, first responders, and long term care facility residents and staff first. A majority of the vaccines so far have been administered to hospitals.

Of the doses available, about 45 percent have been given to patients, as some begin to get their second shots.

The state plans to begin the next vaccination phase, which includes people over 75 and people with medical conditions that put them at high risk, by the middle or end of January.

- Jordyn Haime

N.H. has 19 additional COVID-19 deaths

Update: Friday, Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m.

With 19 additional deaths reported Friday, New Hampshire has recorded 87 deaths from the coronavirus since New Year's Day. It's been the deadliest week since the pandemic began.

State health officials announced nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 infections, 6,811 current cases statewide, and 297 residents hospitalized due to the virus.

The geographic breakdown of the latest fatalities: Hillsborough County, eight; Belknap County, five; Merrimack County, three; and Rockingham County, three. 

Since the pandemic began, there have now been 846 deaths and 50,152 confirmed coronavirus cases.

- NHPR Staff

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N.H. announces 11 more deaths, 515 new cases

Update: Thursday, Jan. 7, 5:31 p.m.

The state reported 11 additional coronavirus deaths and 515 new infections today.  

Belknap, Hillsborough, and Merrimack counties each had three fatalities. The other two deaths were from Coos and Rockingham counties. 

New Hampshire has recorded 827 deaths and confirmed nearly 50,000 positive cases since the coronavirus pandemic began.

There are currently 6,630 cases statewide and 314 residents hospitalized due to the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Some workers looking to get second vaccine shot

Update: Thursday, Jan. 7, 3:21 p.m.

Some health care workers in New Hampshire say they haven't been able to schedule an appointment for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Both doses of the vaccine are necessary for it to be effective, either 21 or 28 days apart.

Health care workers use the state's Vaccine Administration Management System to register to get vaccinated, but appointments past the end of January haven't been made available yet. The system was established in December, just before the vaccine became available.

In a call with providers Thursday, New Hampshire health officials said second vaccine doses have been reserved for health care workers. The state is working on shifting to a new registration system, where more appointments will be available soon.

- Jordyn Haime

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N.H. announces 24 additional COVID-19 deaths

Update: Wednesday, Jan. 6, 4:31 p.m.

State health officials announced 24 additional COVID-19 deaths and 912 new infections on Wednesday.

With the latest fatalities, New Hampshire now has recorded 816 residents who have died from the coronavirus.

Of the 24 deaths, only one was younger than 60, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS does not provide much more demographic data on those who die from the virus.

Of the new cases, 134 are residents under 18 years old. 

There are 6,785 current cases statewide and 301 people hospitalized. Since March, the state has confirmed nearly 50,000 coronavirus cases.

- NHPR Staff

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Long-Term Care Facilities Say Scheduling Vaccine Clinics Hasn't Been Easy

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 5, 5:40 p.m.

The effort to vaccinate New Hampshire's long-term care population against COVID-19 is off to a somewhat rocky start, according to the statewide association representing these facilities.

“The pace has been slow,” New Hampshire Healthcare Association President Brendan Williams said Tuesday afternoon. “I think Operation Warp Speed has sort of devolved into Operation Pony Express when it comes to the actual vaccinations.”

Most of New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities are relying on a program called the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care, which is run by the federal government and administered by large pharmacy chains, for their COVID-19 vaccines. At a Tuesday press conference, Governor Sununu said the program has nonetheless “required a lot of oversight by our teams, even though it's supposed to be a direct federal contract.”

In the initial weeks of the program, New Hampshire facilities have run into scheduling problems or other roadblocks to getting those doses to the residents who need them as efficiently as possible.

Williams said some problems have also come up at facilities that house both nursing home and assisted living beds. One of the participating pharmacy chains, which he declined to identify, restricted some of its clinics in such facilities only to nursing home residents, until the state stepped in to correct the issue.

“I think the state's done a good job of running interference,” Williams said. “So when when facilities have issues and they have had issues with CVS or Walgreens, the state's done a good job of reaching out to those pharmacies and making our case for us.”

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, New Hampshire’s Infectious Disease Control Chief Beth Daly said 62 vaccination clinics have been completed at long-term care facilities to date, and 66 more clinics are scheduled in the coming weeks.

- Casey McDermott

11 new deaths, 305 hospitalized

Update: Tuesday, Jan. 5, 3:20 p.m.

Dr. Benjamin Chan today announced 11 additional COVID-19 deaths and 305 residents hospitalized due to the virus. The state epidemiologist said nine of the 11 deaths were associated with long-term care facilities. Chan says about two-thirds of the coronavirus deaths in the state over the past week were linked to long-term care facilities.

New Hampshire is averaging 750 to 800 new infections a day. There are 6,480 active cases statewide.

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, announced 15 new outbreaks at long-term care facilities or other congregate living facilities. The state has also closed out three of the outbreaks it was previously monitoring, Shibinette said.

Governor Sununu provided an update on the phased vaccination plan for Granite Staters. (View his slideshow here on the phases.) The state is currently in the first phase, which focuses on high risk individuals, first responders and long-term care facilities. Dr. Beth Daly, chief of the state's Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said the state has received 17,175 vaccine doses this week.

The governor's news conference on the state's COVID-19 response is continuing. This post will be further updated.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. reports 1 additional death, 879 new cases

Update: Monday, Jan. 4, 5:02 p.m.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain high. The state reports tonight that 319 residents are in the hospital due to the virus. 

There was one additional death and 879 new infections announced. The fatality was a woman from Hillsborough County, who was older than 60, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Statewide, there are 6,200 active coronavirus cases. Since the pandemic began, the state has recorded 781 deaths and 47,328 total cases.

- NHPR Staff

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Towns could delay meetings over virus concerns

A bipartisan Senate bill would allow New Hampshire towns and school districts to postpone their March elections to the second Tuesday of April, May, June or July if they are concerned about coronavirus.

Towns also would be allowed to postpone the business or deliberative session of the annual Town Meeting when budgets are adopted to later dates. In the event of postponement, elected officials whose terms would have expired would continue.

The arrival of the pandemic last spring created confusion and raised questions about the legality of postponing such meetings. Some towns conducted parts of their meeting online and offered drive-up voting instead of the traditional in-person gatherings.

- The Associated Press

1,317 new COVID-19 cases

Update: Sunday, Jan. 3, 5:14 p.m.

State health officials announced 11 additional deaths and 1,317 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.

New Hampshire has had 780 deaths since the pandemic began.

The latest fatalities were from Belknap, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties.

There are 6,096 active cases statewide and 325 residents are hospitalized due to the virus.

- NHPR staff

Ten additional COVID-19 deaths in N.H.

Update: Saturday, Jan. 2, 5:12 p.m.

Another 10 Granite Staters have died from COVID-19, the state announced Saturday.   

Six were from Hillsborough County, two from Belknap County, and one each from Merrimack and Rockingham counties. All the deceased were older than 60, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

New Hampshire has had 769 coronavirus fatalities -- and confirmed 45,184 positive cases -- since the pandemic began. 

There are 6,468 active cases statewide and 335 residents are currently hospitalized -- the highest count since March.

The new case numbers are from test results over the past handful of days, with 378 new infections from Thursday, and 712 from Wednesday. Of the new cases, 150 are under the age of 18.

The geographic location of the new cases: Hillsborough County, 234; Rockingham County, 212; Strafford County, 131; Merrimack County, 115; Cheshire County, 56; Grafton County, 50; Belknap County, 47; Coos County, 32; Sullivan County, 21; and Carroll County, 16. Nashua had 121 cases, and Manchester 101. The state on Saturday was continuing to determine the residence of 42 cases.

- NHPR Staff

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Sununu issues order extending state of emergency

Update: Friday, Jan. 1, 6:30 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu issued an executive order today that extends the state of emergency he first issued March 13 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the 14th extension of the emergency order. The extension, which was anticipated given the rising COVID-19 case numbers and the national emergency declaration, is for another 21 days.

- NHPR Staff

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