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The N.H. News Recap for Dec. 16, 2021: Omicron in N.H., energy efficiency at the PUC

A photo of adults standing underneath orange and red fall foliage while kids play with chalk on the ground in front of them.
Alli Fam
/
NHPR
Children play before getting vaccinated last month at the Currier Museum in Manchester.

The first few cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 were detected in New Hampshire this week.

NHPR was able to report from inside Catholic Medical Center in Manchester this week.

There, ICU Director Diane Kobrenski said a recent 50-year-old patient went from being admitted to the hospital on a Wednesday to being intubated and put on a ventilator on a Friday.

"Now he is one of our patients that are paralyzed and very very sick," she said, "with an unknown outcome."

Kobrenski said it’s terrifying for the patients to decline so quickly, but also for their families and for the nurses at their bedside.

"One of our patients that got put on the vent, he called his family, and said, you know, 'I'm getting put on the ventilator right now. Goodbye,' basically," she recalled. "And the nurses are tearing up in the room as it's happening. Patients know and they are scared. And the nurses know because they’ve seen it. So it's emotional."

And in energy news, The Public Utilities Commission decided late last month to reduce funding for energy efficiency programs, but a long list of organizations are opposing that order.

Utility companies and advocates are seeking a rehearing on this decision and the Department of Energy is also looking for clarity from the PUC.

Guests:

  • Alli Fam, NHPR
  • Mara Hoplamazian, NPHR

What questions do you have for our reporters? Email voices@nhpr.org or call 603-513-7790 and leave us a voicemail.