Jordyn Haime | New Hampshire Public Radio

Jordyn Haime

Reporter

Jordyn is a reporter in NHPR's newsroom. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Many in New Hampshire are choosing to travel or get together with family this Thanksgiving, despite state and federal guidance to the contrary – and the demand for COVID-19 tests is increasing as a result.

That has meant longer wait times for a test, and for results, according to local health officials.

Courtesy

Shortly after Emily Michalik got together with family last Easter, she started feeling off - she was fatigued, developed shortness of breath and had eye pain. When she tested positive for COVID-19, she feared she may have spread it to her parents and her sister.

“That means on Sunday I had already been exposed and was already potentially able to contribute the germs... so unbelievably deeply thankful that we chose not to take any extra risks because my family was totally fine,” Michalik said.

Josh Rogers | NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu imposed a statewide mask mandate effective Friday, the state’s most sweeping response to the coronavirus pandemic in months. The policy came the same day that New Hampshire health officials announced a record for new daily COVID-19 infections in the state.

N.H. attorney general's office
Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

The state Attorney General's office has fined three New Hampshire food establishments for violating coronavirus emergency orders. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Last week, after reports of delays in contact tracing and schools beginning to do their own, top state health officials announced New Hampshire would scale back its contact tracing efforts to focus on populations most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Dan Tuohy | NHPR

The state's university system is feeling the effects of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the University of New Hampshire, some students are leaving campus early as the school reports record numbers of new COVID-19 cases.

39 students have voluntarily left the campus in the past week, and another 27 were evicted from housing, according to an email from Senior Vice President for Student Life Kenneth Holmes.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Top health officials announced Thursday that the state will no longer conduct universal contact tracing in new cases of COVID-19.  The move comes after a record number of new daily cases Thursday – 323, almost 100 more than the previous day – and reports of delays in contact tracing.

There are now 2,528 active cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire – another record – and 64 hospitalizations.

Face masks
Centers for Disease Control

Back in the spring, the first wave of coronavirus cases led many states, including New Hampshire, to shut down non-essential businesses and close schools. Those moves worked, flattening the curve and reducing new cases.

After a relatively quiet period this summer, infections and hospitalizations are back on the rise in New Hampshire, but so far, the state's response has been relatively muted compared to earlier this year. NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with NHPR reporter Jordyn Haime about why.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

COVID-19-related hospitalizations in New Hampshire are on the rise, with the seven-day average now at 51 patients.

The state is also seeing daily case counts higher than at any time during the pandemic, and health experts say they expect hospitalizations to follow closely behind.

Dan Tuohy | NHPR

The University of New Hampshire is reporting a record number of COVID-19 cases on campus.

The school's weekly positive case number has doubled since last week, now at 67. Of the total 84 active cases, 73 are students, and a total of 351 people are in quarantine, more than triple the amount quarantined two weeks ago.

photo of health care workers in scrubs
The National Guard

New Hampshire health officials have released the state’s draft coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

Dr. Beth Daly, chief of the state's Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, says the plan takes a phased approach to distribution, since the state will likely receive the vaccine in small allotments.

Dan Tuohy

Restaurants in New Hampshire began collecting customers' names, phone numbers and times of arrival this weekend as part of a new policy to aid the state in contact tracing.

ReadyNH.gov

Granite Staters are preparing for a completely different kind of Halloween.

This year, the coronavirus has cancelled major annual Halloween staples like the Portsmouth Halloween Parade and Laconia Pumpkin Fest, but many towns are still hosting events and allowing trick-or-treating with restrictions based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the state.

File Photo, NHPR

Vermont has updated its state quarantine rules, and now includes every New Hampshire county among areas with travel restrictions.

Vermont requires a quarantine for travelers to and from any county with over 400 COVID-19 cases per million. Counties with 400-799 cases are coded "yellow," and those with more than 800 cases are "red." 

CDC.gov

Manchester health officials say the city's COVID-19 testing sites are "maxed out" by hockey players seeking tests, as new cases and hospitalizations continue a steady rise in New Hampshire.

The Saalt/Libby's Bistro

The restaurant industry is preparing for a tough winter season as dining begins to move back inside.

In Portsmouth, at least six restaurants have reported positive cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks as cases and hospitalizations across the state continue to rise, many connected to small gatherings. City officials recently extended their support for outdoor dining through the end of November, in an attempt to reduce community spread within restaurants.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

The state's emergency relief program is making an effort to close equity gaps for New Hampshire small businesses with a new round of CARES Act funding.

Gov. Chris Sununu said at a press conference Thursday that the Governor's Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery is working alongside groups like the COVID-19 Equity Response Team toward ensuring equal access to $100 million in Main Street relief funds that were released last week.

Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire seeking federal food assistance.

Non-English speakers are supposed to have assistance in their native language when applying for those services under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. But state immigration advocates say those services aren't as accessible remotely and has stood in the way of some seeking food stamps or other benefits.

A  microscopic image of the first case of COVID-19 in America.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC

New Hampshire has filed its draft plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were required to send their draft vaccine plans last week.

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said the plan is still in draft form and is subject to change. State health officials are awaiting feedback on the plan from the CDC.

Fat Katz, a restaurant in Hudson, New Hampshire
Google Maps

Fat Katz Food and Drink, a restaurant in Hudson, has been fined $2,000 for violating state emergency orders in response to COVID-19. 

According to a notice from the state Attorney General’s office, Fat Katz hosted karaoke inside the restaurant with shared equipment and failed to enforce mask policies.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire has more than doubled over the past two weeks, from 500 to over 1,000 infections, a number almost five times higher than the number of cases in the beginning of September.

Jordyn Haime for NHPR

Activists from the Poor People’s Campaign gathered outside Governor Chris Sununu’s press conference this afternoon to demand changes to the state’s draft Crisis Standards of Care.

CDC

Two additional restaurant employees at Flatbread Company in Portsmouth have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Jason Lyon, company president and COO.

The new positive tests come after one staff member at Flatbread Company in Portsmouth initially tested positive this weekend. All other staff were encouraged to quarantine and get tested, even if they did not come in contact with the infected employee. 

NHPR

New Hampshire first responders now have access to COVID-19 test results within 15 minutes. ClearChoiceMD and ConvenientMD will start to provide those tests this week.

Health officials say there’s not a lot of opportunity for social distancing among first responders, and expanded rapid testing should help with staffing concerns.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health has declared racism a public health crisis, along with 38 other members of the national Healthcare Anchor Network.

The national organization said it would double down to address systemic racism within its respective communities. 

Jordyn Haime for NHPR

Students, faculty and supporters at the University of New Hampshire rallied in support of UNH lecturers today. Lecturers, who are not tenured and work off of contracts, have been negotiating for a new contract for over two years, demanding higher wages and stronger job security.

This year, five lecturers were informed their contracts would not be renewed. Four teach in the English as a Second Language Institute

UNH

The University of New Hampshire’s College of Liberal Arts faculty voted unanimously yesterday in favor of a new minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

The minor will fall under the College of Liberal Arts, but those behind the program say it will be inter-disciplinary, with classes ranging from literature and anthropology to biology and sustainability.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The University System of New Hampshire has announced a tuition freeze on in-state tuition costs for the next academic year.

Undergraduate in-state tuition will freeze for all four USNH institutions – Granite State College, Keene State, Plymouth State, and the University of New Hampshire.

UNH currently has one of the highest in-state tuition costs in the country at over $18,000 per year with fees.

Courtesy photo

The University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law - the state’s only law school - has been running annual deficits of millions of dollars since at least 2014, according to budget reports obtained by NHPR. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people across New Hampshire turned out at Climate Strike events Friday to lend their voice to calls for action on climate change. 

Carrying handmade signs, pushing strollers and handing out leaflets, they joined striking protesters around the world in a coordinated effort to kick off a week of climate activism.  

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