Coronavirus Update: 4 More Deaths, 33 New Cases; Sununu Says N.H. Ready For NASCAR Race | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Update: 4 More Deaths, 33 New Cases; Sununu Says N.H. Ready For NASCAR Race

Jul 30, 2020

NHPR is continuing to cover the developing story around coronavirus in New Hampshire. Bookmark this page for the latest updates, including case numbers and other important news of the day. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage.

Related: What's open and what's not in New Hampshire? Click or tap here to find out.

The latest numbers in New Hampshire
Credit Centers for Disease Control

Scroll down to our live blog for more COVID-19 news and the latest updates.

The most recent update from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services on July 30: 

  • 4 new deaths were reported. All the patients were associated with outbreaks at long-term care facilities. 
  • 33 new cases were reported.
  • The state's total case number stands at 6,544.
  • One long-term care outbreak was closed, at Birch Hill in Manchester.

Click here for NHPR's COVID-19 tracker for case and trend data in N.H.

Other important links:

NHPR's reporting is free, but it's not free to make. Support our journalism...become an NHPR member today. 

LIVE BLOG - CORONAVIRUS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Portsmouth devotes more outdoor space for restaurants, retailers, artists

Update: Thursday, July 30, 11:17 a.m.

Portsmouth is preparing to open a new pop-up venue to devote more space for city restaurants and entertainment venues.

PopUp NH, which is sponsored by Service Credit Union, plans to open Saturday at the Bridge Street parking lot in Portsmouth.

The PopUp Portsmouth site, shown here at the Bridge Street parking lot at the corner of Congress Street and Maplewood Avenue, is to open Aug. 1-2.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Josh Denton is the chair of the board of directors of the pop-up. He hopes the initiative will help Portsmouth businesses recover from their losses during COVID-19.

"The two industries struggling a lot in downtown Portsmouth are restaurants. Likewise, many of our concert halls have been shut down. It looks like they're doing now as they would have any other year in the middle of January on a bad day."

Denton says organizers are working to minimize the threat of an outbreak by keeping people far apart and minimizing their need to move around. Tables will be 14 feet apart and customers will order their food from an app, while the music venue and the food court will be separated by fencing to control crowd size.

The pop-up area will continue weekly, Thursdays through Sundays, until the school year starts. Then it will be open Fridays through Sundays until October 31.

- Shehzil Zahid

Strawbery Banke announces temporary closure

Update: Thursday, July 30, 10:59 a.m.

The Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth has temporarily closed as a COVID-19 precaution.

The museum announced it would impose a self-quaraninte for 14 day after someone associated with a staff member recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Strawbery Banke delayed its opening this season until July 1, and proceeded with outdoor guided tours. Lawrence Yerdon, museum president and CEO, said in a statement that staff continue to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and do not share offices. Staff members also report their temperatures before starting work shifts. Visitors are required to wear face coverings on the grounds.

- NHPR Staff

2 deaths, 17 new cases announced July 29

Update: Wednesday, July 29, 6:11 p.m.

State health officials announced two additional residents died Wednesday due to the coronavirus. The state identified them as a man and a woman from Hillsborough County, both of whom were 60 or older. Total deaths in New Hampshire from COVID-19 are now 411.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported 17 new cases, and no new hospitalizations. The current hospitalization count, as of Wednesday, was 22 people. Two of the new cases are residents under the age of 18, and one of the 17 cases had no identified risk factors.

The DHHS geographic breakdown of the new cases: nine are from Manchester, one from Nashua, five from Rockingham County, and one each from Belknap and Strafford counties.

Go Deeper: Explore interactive charts of COVID-19 datasets in the Granite State

Of 6,513 residents testing positive for the virus since the outbreak began, 5,710 have recovered.

- NHPR Staff  

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CMC announces layoffs

Update: Wednesday, July 29, 4:49 p.m.

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester announced a round of layoffs today as it struggles in the wake of the pandemic.

The hospital is laying off 71 employees and reducing the hours for 40 other workers. The facility says it expects to lose $40 million this fiscal year.

Hospitals around the state have been forced to furlough or lay off employees, as patients forego elective procedures or non-urgent medical care due to the coronavirus.

- Todd Bookman

More towns consider mask requirements

Several Upper Valley towns are considering mask ordinances, adding to the roster of towns across New Hampshire considering a mandate.

The city of Lebanon and towns of Hanover and Enfield will have public hearings early next week about the proposed mandate.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin says that, as more than 2,000 Dartmouth students arrive in town this fall, she’s hearing some concerns from residents.

“One population group that we’re continuing not so inclined to wear masks and continuing to gather in large groups without masks or social distancing is our young adult population.”

Griffin says there are currently more than 400 Dartmouth students living in Hanover, and that she’s seen many parties on off-campus properties throughout the summer.

Hanover’s proposed mask mandate would be enforced through a verbal warning, then a $200 fine, and then a court appearance for the third violation.

- Daniela Allee

State launches review of how nursing homes have handled outbreaks

Update: Tuesday, July 28, 2:31 p.m.

The state of New Hampshire has launched a two-week review of those long-term care facilities that have experienced coronavirus outbreaks.

Gov. Chris Sununu says the review will collect data and examine the center's ventilation systems and infrastructure to identify possible patterns. The goal is to mitigate any potential future increases or outbreaks.

"We're leaving now stone unturned," Lori Shibinette, N.H. Health Commissioner, said during a news conference today in Concord. The review began Monday.

The announcement comes as the state closed out an outbreak at Hillsborough County Nursing Home in Goffstown -- and reported a new one at Ridgewood Center in Bedford, where two residents and seven employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Shibinette said the state has officially closed outbreak cases and investigations at 28 facilities, with four currently being monitored.

Sununu announces funds to expand scholarships

Sununu said the state will direct $1.5 million in coronavirus relief funds to further support scholarships for Black students and students of color. The funding, part of what Sununu said was an idea put forward from minority business owners, recognizes the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

Latest numbers:

  • New Hampshire has confirmed 6,500 total infections since the outbreak began. Of 59 new infections announced Tuesday, more than 80 percent are from Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, said Dr. Ben Chan, state epidemiologist.
  • The state reported only one new hospitalization Tuesday.
  • Sununu said the state will likely see upticks in cases in upcoming months. He added that, as of Tuesday, only 17 or 18 towns in New Hampshire have more than five cases.

- NHPR Staff

Plymouth, Keene State cancel fall sports seasons

Update: Tuesday, July 28, 2:00 p.m.

Plymouth State University and Keene State College's fall athletic seasons are being canceled due to the coronavirus. This involves all regular season play and championships in the Little East Conference, following the conference's Presidents Council's unaminous vote.

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UNH, SNHU and Dartmouth all called off their upcoming seasons in recent weeks, as did Saint Anselm and Franklin Pierce University. Officials say each school will decide individually on how to hold any practice activities, under state and NCAA health guidelines. 

The conference says they’ll try to reschedule their fall contests for the spring, in basketball, golf and tennis.

A spokesperson for Keene State says the school is still exploring non-conference options.

- Annie Ropeik

Note: This item was updated from an earlier version.

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Growing number of younger residents being infected with COVID-19

Update: Monday, July 27, 9 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in the state Monday, the lowest one-day number in well over a month.

The state's weeklong average in newly identified cases, though lower than a month ago, is at roughly the same level as in March, when the coronavirus pandemic was still ramping up.

Older residents and those in long-term care facilities continue to account for most of the state's deaths from COVID-19. But a growing number of young adults and children are also being infected.

Over the past week, 28 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with COVID-19. The state also added another 70 cases among those in their 20s and 30s during the same time period; that’s the largest jump among any age group for which data is available.

At least 31 new infections were reported among healthcare workers in the last week, as well.

- NHPR Staff

Extreme heat affects testing sites

Update: Monday, July 27, 4:55 p.m.

Extreme heat events, like today’s high temperatures, are forcing some changes in COVID-19 testing in the state.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Nashua has run a weekly testing site in the parking lot of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga Church. Justin Kates, the city’s director of emergency management, says hot weather has caused them to move that site into a parking garage.

“And so what that did was… it not only provided some cover from severe storms and other types of things that we deal with during the summer, but it also reduces the heat impact by about ten, fifteen degrees in some cases.”

Kates says the city will also cancel any COVID testing site if the National Weather Service declares a heat advisory.

There is currently a heat advisory for Southern and Central New Hampshire, with temperature reaching the mid to upper 90s today, possibly hitting 100 degrees in some locations.

- Alex McOwen

Ban on reusable bags to end

Update: Monday, July 27, 4:20 p.m.

Governor Chris Sununu says he will lift the state’s COVID-19 ban on reusable shopping bags. The policy has been in place since March. It stemmed from fears that bags brought from people’s homes could spread the virus in grocery stores.

Scientists say the bags are safe as long as people wash them between uses, and that face masks are a far more effective way of preventing new infections. New Hampshire is now the only New England state without a mask requirement.

Sununu says in a tweet that grocery shoppers are asked to be courteous to store workers by washing their bags. Further details on the end of the ban were not immediately made available.

- Annie Ropeik

State doesn't plan to make list of COVID outbreaks in schools

Update: Thursday, July 23, 4:45 p.m.

State public health officials say should a COVID-19 outbreak occur in New Hampshire schools, daycare facilities or child care centers, there is not an intention to make a public list of those places.

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, says that public notification of an outbreak would depend on how contact tracing goes.

“If through contact tracing we get to a point where we’re not able to identify every close contact, then we would do a notification to the public, as we have done all along.”

Since the pandemic started, 412 people under age 19 have tested positive for COVID-19. in New Hampshire.

- Daniela Allee

Sununu says draft of new relief bill breaks promises made with CARES Act

Update: Thursday, July 23, 3:45 p.m.

Governor Sununu expressed frustration Thursday with the working proposals for a new congressional stimulus bill. He said federal officials said the funds from the original CARES Act were meant to go toward emergency relief efforts, and that future bills could be used to backfill state and local revenue shortfalls.

Sununu claims the current draft legislation abandons that promise to states, and now states the previously allocated money can be used to offset revenue losses.

He says states like New Hampshire, which had early outbreaks and have already spent a large chunk on supplies and equipment, are at a disadvantage to states still sitting on their money. He’s asking Congress to re-work its proposal.

- NHPR Staff

State creates new program for hospital visitors

Update: Thursday, July 23, 3:30 p.m.

Lori Shibinette, the state's Health and Human Services Commissioner, has announced a new program with New Hampshire hospitals that will allow non-COVID patients to designate one person as a support person who can visit the patient and assist with care decisions.

Visitor access to many acute care facilities has been greatly restricted during the pandemic. Shibinette says the hospitals can expand or reduce the number of family members or friends designated as “support persons” based on changing conditions in their area or their facilities.

Other news from today:

  • The state announced a new partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to take over the state's long-term care facility surveillance program. DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette says the intent is to increase the state's testing capacity.
  • Gov. Sununu announced a new application process for a program called Empower Youth,  which will provide funding to organizations looking to expand summer recreation and sports activities for kids.
  • Applicants for the state's self-employment fund will be notified of their eligibility by email tomorrow. $26 million dollars in benefits will be distributed, according to Gov. Sununu.

- NHPR Staff

State Says Testing Capacity Needs To Improve

Update: Wednesday, July 22, 6:45 a.m.

New Hampshire health officials say they hope to improve the state's ability to turn around COVID-19 tests but rising case numbers in other parts of the country are in part to blame for delays.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 people, on average, are being tested for COVID-19 in New Hampshire every day. But with most tests going out of state to be processed, it can take a week for results to return.  Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday the state is working to speed things up, particularly as schools contemplate reopening, but national demand is making that hard.

Sununu said the state Department of Public Health can process between 300 and 500 tests per day, with a two-day turnaround. Dartmouth Hitchcock also processes tests, sometimes several hundred per day. The state says those results tend to get turned around in one day.

-Josh Rogers

State launches mask-wearing campaign aimed at young people

Update: Tuesday, July 21, 3:45 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu has announced a new public service announcement campaign to encourage mask wearing. The campaign will largely target digital platforms like Facebook and TikTok and includes messaging like “Don’t take a selfie. Take a test” and “This is the one time you don’t want to go viral.”

The outreach is targeting younger people, those statistically likely to be asymptomatic carriers.

The governor also announced a new mask distribution effort. He says the state will make hundreds of thousands of reusable cloth face coverings available to schools, HHS offices, and other local community entities.

- NHPR Staff

Other updates from this week:

  • Gov. Sununu signed HB 1623, which expands telemedicine in New Hampshire, allowing healthcare providers to be reimbursed at the same rate for remote appointments as for in-office visits.
  • The New Hampshire General Assistance and Preservation Fund targets businesses that did not qualify for other rounds of assistance. Applications for the $30 million dollars in funding are now open.
  • The state's Department of Revenue is reviewing about 8,500 applications from self-employed residents seeking help from the state's SELF Fund, funded through the federal CARES act. 

New Hampshire State House adopts face mask rules

Update: Tuesday, July 22, 2:00 p.m.

Anyone entering areas of the New Hampshire State House controlled by the Legislature must wear a face mask under a policy adopted today by the Legislature’s Joint Facilities Committee.

The policy exempts children under six or people with health conditions that preclude them from donning a face covering.

Terry Pfaff, the Legislature's chief operating officer, says there will be masks available for people who lack them.

“The goal is to have compliance with this, not to be punitive in any way. But if they don’t comply or refuse absolutely to comply with this policy – if there is not the exemption, or the age exemption -- they will be denied entry. That’s what this policy is stating," Pfaff says.

Masks remain voluntary in areas of the state house not under legislative control, like the governor’s office, executive council chambers, and secretary of state’s office. But legislative leaders say all people will need to wear a mask that covers the face and nose to enter or pass through the State House complex.

- Josh Rogers

New Long-Term-Care Outbreaks Still Emerging in N.H.

Update: Monday, July 20, 8:50 p.m.

Just days after state officials said they had closed out all but a few COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities, New Hampshire’s top health official said Monday that new outbreaks are still emerging.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said she took last week off work and thought the state would be on track move towards a new phase of managing COVID-19 at long-term care facilities by the time she returned. But that isn’t the case.

“I was hoping to come back and see maybe two or three facilities at the end of their outbreaks, still on our outbreak list, and maybe start thinking about how do we do indoor visitation,” Shibinette said at a meeting of the state Commission on Aging. “But I came back today and our list is as long as it was when I left and there’s four or five new facilities added.”

State officials declined to provide additional details on the new outbreaks and said more information would be provided at a Tuesday press briefing.

Market Basket now requiring customers to wear masks

Update: Monday, July 20, 1:50 p.m.

A sign directs shoppers to go one way down an aisle in the Rye, N.H. Market Basket
Credit Dan Tuohy | NHPR

Starting Monday, a major New Hampshire grocery store chain is joining other big brands in requiring face masks.

Customers at Market Basket are required to wear masks or face coverings moving forward. Shoppers without masks can get them at each store's customer service desk. Market Basket follows the lead of other chains that have implement mask rules, including CVS, Walmart, and Kohl's.

- Shehzil Zahid

Survey: Revenue for substance abuse treatment providers has taken a hit during pandemic

Update:  Monday, July 20, 8:30 a.m.

A new survey from a New Hampshire non-profit shows that income for substance use treatment and recovery providers had decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group New Futures received responses from 23 organizations that provide substance use treatment about how COVID has affected revenue, costs and staff.

About 80 percent of survey respondents said they experienced an overall decrease in revenue since March – with a decrease in Medicaid billing accounting for nearly all the total decrease from insurance billed revenue. Most respondents to the survey say that they’ve been unable to hire staff during this time, and several had to lay off employees.

New Futures is asking the Governor’s office handling coronavirus relief money to allocate $15 to $18 million for treatment centers in the state. The non-profit says this would cover lost billed income and reimbursement costs for technology and PPE.

- Daniela Allee

Governor, congressional delegation seek National Guard role extended

Update: Friday, July 17, 5:14 p.m.

New Hampshire's congressional delegation has joined the governor in asking to extend the National Guard's role in the state's coronavirus response.

They wrote to the Secretary of Defense asking to extend the funding authorization that lets the Guard pitch in.

Guard members have been staffing COVID-19 testing sites and contact tracing centers, and assisting with food banks, unemployment call centers, and other response efforts.

The delegation's letter Friday echoes a request from Gov. Chris Sununu to President Trump earlier this month.

Sununu wants to be able to keep on up to 400 guard members through the end of the year.

He had to ask in May for that authorization to extend through September.

- Annie Ropeik

26 new cases, 2 new hospitalizations

State health officials announced 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, July 17, bringing the state's total confirmed number of cases to 6,165. There were no new deaths reported. 

Explore the Data: Tracking COVID-19 Cases in New Hampshire.

Of the new cases, two individuals were under 18. The new cases geographic breakdown: Six from Manchester, four from Nashua, eight from Hillsborough County not including the state's largest cities, four from Rockingham County, two from Carroll County, and one resident each from Grafton and Merrimack counties. Seven of the new cases had no identified risk factor, indicating community-based transmission, according to the New Hampshire Division of Public Health.

The state reported two new hospitalizations, with the current hospitalization number statewide being 24. 

- NHPR Staff

N.H. universities, colleges canceling fall sports due to COVID

Update: Friday, July 17, 3:09 p.m.

More college athletics are being canceled in New Hampshire for the fall due to COVID-19. UNH, SNHU and others have just announced their decisions.

UNH says is postponing the fall seasons for men and women's soccer and cross country, along with football, field hockey and women's volleyball.

They are still planning how practices and other on-campus activities will take place. They will decide in early fall whether winter sports, including basketball and hockey, will proceed.

Saint Anselm College, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire Universities are also canceling fall competitions, as has the entire Northeast-10 Conference in which they compete.

Those schools say they hope to play the canceled seasons in the spring, if possible. Plans for team practices and other activities will be left to the individual schools, under NCAA and state guidelines.

- Annie Ropeik

Surge in other states delaying some N.H. tests

Update: July 16, 5:19 p.m.

A surge in coronavirus cases in nearly every other state in the country is delaying testing times in New Hampshire, one of the few states not experiencing a spike in confirmed cases in recent weeks.

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Approximately 70% of the swabs taken in New Hampshire are sent to labs in other states for COVID-19 analysis. Those labs, however, are struggling under a surge in demand.

“The two to three day turnaround times that we were seeing about a month ago have really exacerbated to seven, and sometimes almost up to 10 days because not of what is happening in New Hampshire, but what’s happening in the rest of the country,” Gov. Chris Sununu said during a press conference Thursday.

Public health officials say that all tests performed on residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes are processed by the state’s local public health lab, where the turn-around time for results remains three days.

- Todd Bookman

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State to provide financial support for foster care providers

Update: Thursday, July 16, 4:31 p.m.

Foster parents in New Hampshire will receive additional financial support as they care for children who have suffered abuse or neglect.

The state announced it will use federal CARES Act money to give $500 per child to caregivers.

The money is aimed at providing foster children with additional socialization and recreational activities this summer. Applications will be released next week.

- Todd Bookman

Child care providers question state's reopening guidance

Update: Thursday, July 16, 4:21 p.m.

Some New Hampshire child care workers are asking the state to revisit their industry’s reopening guidelines, following the new guidance for schools released Tuesday.

Kim McKenney, director of Easterseals Child Development Center in Manchester says the public health protocols that day cares are being asked to follow are much stricter than those for schools.

“They’re not limiting their room to 10 individuals. They’re going to have 20 kids in a room," she says. "So why is it ok for school-aged kids to be in a larger group. Why are we being limited?”

The state’s back-to-school guidance does not specifically limit class size, although some districts may choose to do so on their own.

- Alex McOwen

N.H. state university system gets another $19 million

Update: Thursday, July 16, 3:33 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced the state is giving a $19 million grant to the state university system to help respond to coronavirus concerns and keep students safe upon their return to campus. The state previously directed $10 million to the University System of New Hampshire from the federal CARES Act.

The latest grant will go toward what the respective universities and colleges need to support operations and public health, including testing and personal protective gear. 

Sununu also said $6 million in new funding will go to the community college system of New Hampshire for tuition support - for existing students or new students.

The governor  made the announcement during a news conference Thursday in Concord. Other news items addressed include:

  • The "Self-Employed Livelihood Fund" application period closes Friday, July 17. Sununu said the state has received nearly 7,000 applications so far.
  • 1 additional resident has died from COVID-19. The state reported 27 new cases.
  • The state has closed two more outbreaks at long-term care facilities: Bedford Hills and Holly Cross; outbreaks at long-term care centers are down to three: Birch Hill, Greenbriar, and Hillsborough County nursing home.

- NHPR Staff

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2 additional deaths, 24 new cases

 Update: Wednesday, July 15 , 7:27 p.m.

Two more residents died from COVID-19 on Wednesday, state health officials announced.

There are now a total of 6,113 confirmed cases and 394 overall deaths, according to the New Hampshire  Department of Health and Human Services. The state reported 24 new positive test results July 15. Go Deeper: Explore interactive data graphics of COVID in New Hampshire.

There were three new hospitalizations, and the current hospitalizations are 22 residents, as of Wednesday.

The two latest deaths were two residents of Hillsborough County, both women 60 and older. 

Four of the new cases had no identified risk factors. Most of the remaining cases had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, recently traveled, or are associated with a known outbreak. The state says community-based transmission continues to occur each of the state's 10 counties.

Of the new cases, two individuals are under 18. Eight cases were reported from Manchester, and two from Nashua, with four others from Hillsborough County. 

- NHPR Staff

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Sununu says N.H. wants to build its PPE wares

 Update: Wednesday, July 15, 1:09 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says he wants the state to have a two-month stock pile of PPE on hand at any given time in the event of a surge of COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire.

At a press conference Tuesday, Sununu said there are signs of improvement in the economy and in COVID-19 cases, but there’s still a long road ahead as New Hampshire continues to respond to the pandemic.

“This is not a mission accomplished moment, not by any means. We are right in the middle of a very long marathon.”

Sununu said state has that two-month stockpile of masks and gowns on hand, but is behind its target of having half a million gloves in stockpile.

- Daniela Allee

N.H. releases guidance for reopening schools this fall

Update: Tuesday, July 14, 3:45 p.m.

NOTE: This is a developing story and will be updated shortly

Gov. Chris Sununu unveiled back-to-school guidance for New Hampshire schools to reopen this fall. (Click here or scroll down to read the guidance document.)

New N.H. School Reopening Guidelines Leave Major Decisions to Local Districts

Professional development, class size, classroom health screening, and mask guidance are part of what Sununu describes as a "flexible" and "dynamic" document that provides guidance for districts to reopen or operate under hybrid learning models. 

"Schools can choose to be in a remote learning environment," the governor said.

"This entire document has to be practical. It has to be manageable," Sununu said at a news conference in Concord.

Face masks or cloth face coverings will not be mandated, but they will be encouraged, he said.

It spells out best practices for hygiene and facility cleaning or disinfection, and for use of common areas, including cafeterias, to limit crowding. Schools are advised to establish procedures to screen staff, students, and visitors for potential symptoms.

Onsite after-school day care for students of each school can be considered by school districts.

- NHPR Staff

Read the guidance here:

Portsmouth councilors back mask resolution

City councilors in Portsmouth passed a resolution Monday encouraging the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The resolution doesn’t apply to anyone who can’t wear a face mask for health-related reasons. Children under the age of 6 aren't required to wear one either.

While there are no fines or penalties if you don’t wear a mask, the council hopes the resolution sends a message of support to protect the city’s health.

- Shehzil Zahid 

Judge rules against man challenging Nashua's mask rules

Update: Monday, July 13, 5:45 p.m.

A judge says Nashua’s face-covering ordinance and the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency will stand while they’re being challenged in court.

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Nashua resident Andrew Cooper had filed a request for a preliminary injunction as part of his lawsuit seeing to end Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency declaration and the city’s rules requiring members of the public to wear face masks when entering any business, work site or government building.

He argued that Sununu lacked the authority to make the declaration because “there is no ‘emergency’ in New Hampshire,” a claim that Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn said Monday defied common sense.

- Associated Press

N.H. mayors make plans for next school year despite no official state announcement

Update: Monday, July 13, 5:10 p.m.

As New Hampshire parents and students wait for Gov. Chris Sununu to make an official announcement about how and whether the state's schools will open next year, mayors across the state are already making plans for their own districts.

Click or tap here to read the story from NHPR.

COVID cases top 6,000 in N.H.

Update: Saturday, July 11, 5:17 p.m.

With 33 new positive test results, coronavirus cases in New Hampshire topped 6,000 Saturday.

One additional death and four new hospitalizations were announced. A woman older than 60 from Hillsborough County died from COVID-19, becoming the 391st resident to die from the virus, according to the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services.

To date, 5,013 of the residents to test positive have recovered. 

- NHPR Staff

N.H. deaths rise to 390

Update: Friday, July 10, 5:20 p.m.

Three more Granite Staters have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths here to 390.

New Hampshire health officials say the three residents were 60 and older. Two lived in Hillsborough County, and one was from Belknap County.

The state reported 18 new cases. Of the total 5,991 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, 4,897 people have recovered. Four new hospitalizations were announced, as the number of current hospitalized patients decreased to 20.

- NHPR Staff

Snowmobile event 'Grass Drags' canceled due to COVID

Update: Friday, July 10, 2:39 p.m.

Organizers of a three-day snowmobile event known as the Grass Drags announced today the annual fall event is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was scheduled for Oct. 9-11. But town officials in Fremont expressed concern about possible transmission of COVID-19.

The event organized by the N.H. Snowmobile Association is also known as the Race Into Winter Grass Drags. Participants operate their snowmobiles on grass, as the name entails, and skimming across water on their machines.

- Dan Tuohy

1 additional death, 21 new cases

Update: Thursday, July 9, 6 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials announced one additional COVID-19 death on Thursday, a woman over 60 from Hillsborough County. There have been 387 deaths from coronavirus.

The state reported 21 new cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 5,973. Of those, 81 percent, or 4,831 residents, have recovered.

Three of the new cases require hospital care. The current hospitalization number is 24 patients. 

- NHPR Staff

Mobile food bank traveling to Lakes Region

Update: Thursday, July 9, 4:28 p.m.

A mobile food pantry is traveling through the Lakes Region to help families put food on the table.

The New Hampshire Food Bank and Army National Guard are hosting a food pantry Friday at Laconia Middle School. The pantry will start at 1 p.m. and finish at 3 p.m.

The Food Bank says that since the spread of COVID-19, one in seven people in the state don’t know where their next meal will come from.

The mobile pantry will also drive through Manchester and Nashua in the coming weeks. More information can be found on nhfoodbank.org.

- Shehzil Zahid

Catholic schools to resume classroom instruction in fall

Update: Thursday, July 9, 4:10 p.m.

Catholic schools in New Hampshire will resume classroom learning in the fall. The Diocese of Manchester is also announcing a new program to encourage students to transfer to their schools.

The Transfer Incentive Program gives transfer students from non-Catholic schools grants off tuition.

Transfer students from grades 1-8 will receive $1500 for the first two years of school, while students from grades 9-12 will receive $3000. The program is not need-based and will run July 1 - August 31.

- Shehzil Zahid

5,200 filed unemployment claims last week

Update: Thursday, July 9, 12:31 p.m.

Another 5,200 residents filed unemployment claims last week, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

That’s a slight uptick from the previous week, when 4,800 New Hampshire workers filed new claims.

The number of unemployed workers requesting benefits had been declining since it peaked in early April at around 40,000 first time filings.

- NHPR Staff

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State Library reopening with restrictions

New Hampshire's State Library is re-opening to the public by appointment only. The library will allow visitors on weekdays, in half-hour and hour-long increments.

They say the scheduling will leave time for cleaning between appointments. Use of masks and physical distancing will also be enforced.

State officials say walk-up appointments may be accommodated, but they encourage people to schedule visits in advance.

The library offers genealogical records, microfilm and other research materials, with more than 600 thousand items in its catalog.

- NHPR Staff

2 additional deaths, 20 new cases in N.H.

Update: Wednesday, July 8, 5:17 p.m.

State health officials have announced two additional deaths from coronavirus. In New Hampshire, 386 residents have now died from the virus. The deaths Wednesday were two women, age 60 and older, from Hillsborough County.

The state reported 20 new cases and one new hospitalization. It continues to record a decrease in patients receiving hospital care; as of July 8, current hospitalizations numbered 22 - the lowest since mid-March. 

Of the overall confirmed cases in the state, 81 percent of the patients have recovered, the state says.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. officially closes another nursing home outbreak; 6 remain

Update: Tuesday, July 7, 3:14 p.m.

New Hampshire Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced that an outbreak at Bedford Nursing and Rehabilitation is officially closed. There remain six outbreaks at long-term care facilities. 

Long-term care homes have been largely impacted by COVID-19, with more than 80% of deaths linked to these facilities. On Tuesday, Shibinette announced two additional coronavirus deaths; both were at long-term care facilities.

The state announced 19 new positive test results for the coronavirus, which brings the total confirmed cases to 5,932. There are three new hospitalizations.

Face Mask Questions

Gov. Chris Sununu said he encourages residents and visitors to wear face masks when out in public, and in situations where social distancing is impossible. And he says that remains the advice for anyone attending President Trump's rally Saturday in Portsmouth.

Sununu says he will be wearing a mask when he meets the president.

“We hear from the Trump campaign that they’ll be there wearing masks as well," he said during a news conference Tuesday in Concord.

- NHPR Staff

COVID-19 impacts substance abuse, disorder recovery efforts

Update: Tuesday, July 7, 2:10 p.m.

Specialists in the substance use recovery field say the pandemic is hitting them and their clients hard.

On a call Tuesday with Senator Maggie Hassan, Michelle Merritt, of the advocacy group New Futures, said many substance use disorder providers in New Hampshire have received COVID relief funds, but they are still struggling to support their staff and clients.

“Over the coming months it's really going to be critical to make sure our provider system which again is young and fragile has some protection,” Merritt says.

Providers say they need help connecting their clients to basics like housing, food, and phones to help them stay connected during the pandemic and avoid relapse.

- Sarah Gibson

New Hampshire reports 21 new COVID-19 cases; one more death

Update: Monday, July 6, 5:25 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that a resident of Rockingham County has died from COVID-19. The patient, who was identified as a female over 60, is the 382nd New Hampshire resident to succumb to the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

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The state also announced 21 new positive test results for COVID-19, bringing the state's total cases to 5,914. Several cases are still under investigation, the state says. The results of those investigations will be included in future updates.

- NHPR Staff

Related: Explore the data of COVID-19 in N.H.

5 more deaths, 43 new cases in New Hampshire

Update: Sunday, July 5, 7:00 p.m.  

New Hampshire health officials reported five new deaths from COVID-19, bringing New Hampshire's total deaths to 381. 

The state also reported 43 new cases, bringing New Hampshire's total positive corononavirus test results to 5,897.

- NHPR Staff

4 additional deaths: 380 total deaths in N.H.

Update: Saturday, July 4, 7 p.m.

State health officials reported four additional deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing New Hampshire's total deaths to 380. 

Overall confirmed infections are 5,871, up from 5,857 reported on July 3. The current coronavirus case tally is 824.

The current hospitalization bed count registered at 25 on July 4. To date, 569 residents have required hospital care at some point for coronavirus. Go Deeper: Explore the data of COVID-19 in N.H.

- NHPR Staff

1 additional death, 38 new cases reported July 3

Update: Friday, July 3, 5:23 p.m.

A woman from Hillsborough County has died from COVID-19, state health officials announced Friday. The resident, who was 60 or older, was the 376th Granite Stater to die from the coronavirus.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services also reported 38 new cases, bringing the state's total confirmed cases to 5,857.

Two new coronavirus hospitalizations were also identified, bringing the current total to 27 people. That's down from a high of more than 120 hospitalizations in May.

- NHPR Staff

State replacing defective PPE sent to N.H. nursing homes

Update: Friday, July 3, 8:16 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says the state has replaced defective personal protective equipment that was shipped to some nursing homes in New Hampshire from the federal government.

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Sununu said the state has been working with nursing homes to make up for the defective PPE that the feds sent, which included medical gowns without armholes and gloves too small to use.

“We're making sure that as soon as we hear of those incidences, we're replacing it out of our own stockpile,” he said.

State public health officials also announced Thursday that communal dining and recreation can resume in long-term care facilities in certain counties. Facilities in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, which have been hardest hit, will not be allowed to take that step.

Seven long term care facilities in New Hampshire still have active outbreaks of COVID-19.

- Jason Moon

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Sununu lifts quarantine for lodgings for N.E. residents

Update: Thursday, July 2, 3:11 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu is continuing to relax coronavirus restrictions in the state.

Sununu on Thursday announced visitors from other New England states will no longer be asked to quarantine for two weeks.

Hospitals in the state will also be allowed to resume procedures that are not time-sensitive.

The moves come as state public health officials announced 21 new COVID-19 cases and 2 new deaths in New Hampshire.

The 14-day quarantine requirement remains in effect for residents from states outside New England. Sununu said lifting the restriction was made in cooperation with neighboring states, and reports of declining cases. Read the "Safer at Home" guidance for hotels

The state has adapted its restrictions on lodgings since the early days of the pandemic, including an emergency order restricting hotels and similar businesses to provide lodging for vulnerable populations or essential workers.

- Jason Moon

N.H. COVID-19 Deaths Rise to 375

State health officials announced two additional deaths and 21 new cases of coronavirus Thursday. As of July 2, 375 residents have died from COVID-19. Dr. Ben Chan, state epidemiologist, said the two deaths were associated with long-term care facilities.

The total confirmed cases climbed to 5,822, but Chan said New Hampshire statistics continue to show promising signs. The state reported two new hospitalizations, the first announced in four or five days, and new cases have gradually declined over the past month, according to Chan.

The U.S. at large is seeing a surge in infections, but that is not the case in New Hampshire.

The 375 deaths in the state reflects the impact COVID-19 has on more vulnerable populations, Chan said.

He encouraged residents to continue to take precautions to limit possible transmission, such as maintaining social distancing and wearing cloth face coverings.

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced the state has officially closed the outbreak at Villa Crest Nursing and Retirement Center in Manchester.

The state has identified seven current outbreaks at long-term care facilities, and it has closed 23 outbreaks since the beginning of March.

- NHPR Staff

Back-to-school guidance coming soon

 Update: Thursday, July 2, 8 a.m.

A task force convened by the New Hampshire Department of Education to determine how schools should re-open in the fall has sent their final recommendations to Gov. Chris Sununu.

The task force says districts should implement professional development on remote learning, and be prepared to provide remote instruction or a remote/in-person combination, depending on the circumstances.

The recommendations leave many of the final decisions - such as how to conduct screenings of staff and students, and whether to open schools back up - to individual districts.

Sununu is expected to give official guidance to schools by mid July.

- Sarah Gibson

Consumer Advocate Wants Rulemaking on Plan to End Utility Shutoff Ban

Annual Shrine Game canceled

The annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has been canceled this summer because of the pandemic.

It would have been the 67th summer football game between two all star teams of high school seniors from New Hampshire and Vermont.

The annual event is one of 30 similar games across the country that raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The Shrine Board met Tuesday night and announced on Facebook that while disappointing, the decision was in the best interest of all parties.

- Lauren Chooljian

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Confirmed cases in N.H. now 5,802

Update: Wednesday, July 1, 5:30 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced 20 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the state Wednesday. There are now 5,802 confirmed cases, 77% of which have recovered from the coronavirus.

There were no new hospitalizations from the virus. The current number of patients in the hospital stands at 32.

There were also two more deaths linked to the illness announced July 1 - two women from Hillsborough County. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state is 373.

- NHPR Staff

Lawmakers seek UNH COVID-support funds

Update: Wednesday, July 1, 4:44 p.m.

A group of lawmakers is recommending that Gov. Chris Sununu send $10 million to the University System of New Hampshire, and $5 million to community colleges, to help them operate safely next year.

The money would come from federal CARES Act funds for New Hampshire that are set aside for higher education.

USNH has already received its first installment of $10 million to cover COVID-related expenses, including converting spring and summer classes to online formats, and training teachers.

It says it would use the next $10 million for enhanced cleaning and safety measures this fall, and for developing a testing lab with a capacity to process 2,000 tests per day.

- Sarah Gibson 

Earlier updates

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