Coronavirus Update: N.H. Reports 8 More Deaths, 34 New COVID-19 Cases | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Update: N.H. Reports 8 More Deaths, 34 New COVID-19 Cases

22 hours ago

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 June 26: 

  • 8 deaths were reported.
  • So far, 365 people have died from COVID-19 in N.H. 
  • DHHS reported 34 new cases. The state's total case number is now 5,671.

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

Other important links:

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N.H. sees 8 additional COVID-19 deaths

Update: Friday, June 26, 5:31 p.m.

New Hampshire announced eight new deaths related to COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the state's total number of deaths to 365.

There are 34 new positive cases of COVID. Most of those are in Hillsborough, Merrimack and Rockingham counties.

The state says three of those cases had no identified risk factors, but most of the new cases had close contact with an infected person or are associated with an outbreak setting.

Current hospitalizations continued to drop - to 32 on Friday. Of 5,671 total cases identified since March, 4,381, or 77 percent, have recovered.

- Daniela Allee

Governor issues fifth extension of state emergency order

Update: Friday, June 26, 5:11 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday issued a fifth extension to the state emergency declaration

The state of emergency is extended for another 21 days.

The first declaration was issued March 13, which was the same day the federal declaration was made. The governor has issued more than 55 emergency orders so far, as the state is now reopening most sectors of the economy, under state guidelines for public health.

- Dan Tuohy

N.H. has a new fund for self-employed residents

Update: Thursday, June 25, 3:21 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced a new relief effort for self-employed residents Thursday. Called SELF, the Self-Employment Livelihood Fund will be capped at $50,000 for qualifying business people.

Applications will be accepted from July 6 to July 17.

The idea for the fund comes from the Main Street Relief Fund, a $400 million fund to help small businesses in New Hampshire, using CARES Act funding.

Scores of self-employed individuals applied for the Main Street fund, but were not eligible for that recovery aid. Sununu said criteria will include:

  • self-employed businesses must be located in New Hampshire,
  • the owners must be the only employees, and it must be a for-profit business,
  • the business cannot be permanently closed - not including temporary closure due to COVID-19;
  • it cannot be in bankruptcy,
  • the business must have had gross receipts in 2019 of less than $1 million.

Sununu on Thursday also announced $1.5 million in CARES Act funding to be awarded to Volunteer NH. And the state on Monday, June 29, will notify about 600 childcare and early childhood programs and providers $15 million in funds. The money will go toward family childcare, after-school programs, recreation, and summer camps.

Hotel Update: Sununu said New Hampshire hotels and campgrounds will be allowed to operate at 100 percent occupancy, starting Monday, June 29. The guideline for out-of-state visitors to self-attest they quarantined for 14 days will remain in place.

10 More Deaths: Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced 10 additional deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday. Eight of the deceased residents were from long-term care facilities.

Shibinette reported 40 new cases, which brings the total confirmed cases to 5,638.

An estimated 137,000 residents have been tested for coronavirus in the state.

- NHPR Staff

NASCAR event at Loudon will allow fans

Update: Thursday, June 25, 3:16 p.m.

The NASCAR Race originally scheduled for July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been postponed to August. The NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 will be Sunday, August 2.

Gov. Chris Sununu has approved a plan that directs attendees to follow social distancing requirements and other protocols. The wearing of masks is quote "highly encouraged."

Cash will not be accepted at this event, only card and digital payments.

Camping around the track, which usually begins a week before the race, will not be allowed.

- Peter Biello

N.H. unemployment rate: 14.5%

Update: Thursday, June 25, 11:12 a.m.

Another 5,200 people filed initial claims for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire last week, according to new data from the U.S. Labor Department.

That’s significantly lower from the early stages of the pandemic, when more than 40,000 residents filed initial claims in a single week.

The state’s unemployment rate stands at 14.5 percent.

That’s higher than in neighboring Vermont and Maine, where the unemployment rates are 12.7 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

- Todd Bookman

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Merrimack H.S. staff member tested positive for COVID-19

Update: Thursday, June 25, 11:09 a.m.

A staff member who volunteered at Merrimack High School’s outdoor graduation two weeks ago has tested positive for COVID-19.

The district’s superintendent shared the news with families Wednesday night. The district says the state health department has contacted other staff who came within 6 feet of the staff member, unmasked, for longer than 10 minutes.

The superintendent says the infected staff member did not have unsafe contact with any graduate or family member of a graduate.

The district did not respond to requests for more information about when the staff member was tested, and how long the district has known about the positive test results.

- Sarah Gibson

Deerfield Fair canceled

Update: Thursday, June 25, 9:53 a.m.

Public health concerns around potential COVID-19 transmission has led to the cancellation of the Deerfield Fair, which bills itself as New England's oldest family fair.

"At this time, we do not feel that it would be possible to provide our valued guests and supporters with a safe and traditional fair experience," the fair's board of directors said in a statement. "The Deerfield Fair without 4-H, FFA, amusement rides, and most of our vendors and exhibitors would not be the annual family event that our community looks forward to. We understand that this is disappointing news, and we share in your sadness."

- NHPR Staff

N.H. announces 4 additional deaths, 27 new cases

Update: Wednesday, June 24, 6:09 p.m.

State health officials announced four additional deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday. The total number of deaths from COVID-19 is now 347.

The four residents were all 60 years old or older; two lived in Hillsborough County and two in Rockingham County.

With 27 new positive test results, New Hampshire's total case count is 5,598. Nearly 80 percent, or 4,358 people infected, have recovered from the virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

No new hospitalizations were announced. 

- NHPR Staff

COVID also impacts housing for those in recovery

Update: Tuesday, June 23, 6:01 p.m.

COVID-19 equity task force members are asking Gov. Chris Sununu to help fund housing for people in recovery.

Members of the task force say many people with mental health disorders or substance addictions have lost their jobs during the pandemic and aren't able to afford rent at recovery houses, making it hard for those residences to survive.

Kim Bock is the executive director at New Hampshire Coalition of Recovery Residences.

"These houses are run by very caring individuals who would do anything to try and keep this house running, whatever that house happens to be. But finances are a reality and like every other small business in New Hampshire, if they can’t make the finances work, they’ll have to close.”

So far, six recovery houses in the state have closed. Bock says houses may need as much as $1.5 million in funding for rental assistance and capacity building.

- Shehzil Zahid

New funds to support veterans, children, and those with mental health and drug problems

Update: Tuesday, June 23, 3:20 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced new funding allocations Tuesday to support children's programs, veterans, and residents in need of mental health services and substance abuse help. The money from the federal CARES Act:

  • $5 million for youth-focused programs
  • $6 million for mental health and substance use disorder
  • $7 million for veterans assistance, including services for vets with housing needs.  

The governor also said that a $300 weekly stipend to frontline workers from a long-term care stabilization fund would be extended until July 31. The benefits have gone to 23,000 workers to date, and $30 million in funds have been disbursed.

N.H. Reports 4 Additional Deaths

State epidemiologist Ben Chan said four additional residents have died from COVID-19. All four were residents of long-term care facilities.

There have now been 343 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in New Hampshire.

The state reported 15 new cases, for a total of 5,571 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

Chan says state data continues to show promising trends, including decreases in the number of cases and hospitalizations. The state reported zero new hospitalizations Tuesday. Regardless, he urged Granite Staters to continue to practice social distancing and to wear cloth face coverings when in public, in places where one cannot maintain a 6-foot area from others.

"Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette," he said.

Chan says the state has not seen a spike in coronavirus cases stemming from recent protests for racial justice in cities like Concord, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth.

- NHPR Staff

Hotline aims to help unemployed residents find temporary health insurance

Update: Monday, June 22, 5:50 p.m.

Three New Hampshire hospitals have set up a free hotline to help people who are unemployed because of COVID-19 find temporary health insurance.

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Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Parkland Medical Center and Portsmouth Regional Hospital are all part of the HCA hospital network, which is offering this service.

Hotline advisors can walk people through a number of different options, including how to enroll in state and federal health insurance exchanges or apply for Medicaid.

- Daniela Allee

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Some day camps open in New Hampshire...and some are holding off

Update: Monday, June 23, 10:45 a.m.

New Hampshire’s day camps are allowed to open today, but some won’t be bringing kids back until later in the season. But how are towns and cities making that call?

Click here to get the story from NHPR's Alex McOwen.

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Dept. of Ed issues guidelines for school summer programs

Update: Friday, June 19, 2:50 p.m.

The New Hampshire Department of Education is issuing guidance for local schools to open their buildings for in-school summer programs. The recommendations include the wearing of face masks, staggered drop-off and pick-up times for parents, and moving class activities outside if possible.

The document doesn't provide any limits on the number of students allowed inside a school.

In-school summer programs range from special education services to drivers-ed programs.

- Jason Moon

New guidance for amusement parks, movie theaters, performing arts and music venues

Update: Thursday, June 18, 3:16 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says the state will announce a new fund next week for self-employed business people.

The fund is originating as an offshoot of the Main Street Relief Fund, a $400 million pool of federal funds. Checks are being mailed Friday to some 5,500 small businesses in that relief fund.

In the application process, Sununu said thousands of self-employed people who submitted paperwork were rejected, because they did not meet the qualifications for the Main Street fund.

The state is also creating an appeals process for businesses that believe their submissions were wrongfully disqualified.

The state has issued new guidance for amusement parks, movie theaters, performing arts and music venues, and adult day care operations.

The guidelines require those businesses to limit capacity and to encourage visitors to wear face masks. Sununu said the guidance aims to allow the venues to open with the space to ensure physical distancing of customers and parties.

Starting June 29, indoor movie theaters, performing arts centers, and music venues will be allowed to operate at half capacity. Amusement parks will be limited to 25 percent capacity.

- NHPR Staff

1 new death, 17 new cases reported June 18

Update: Thursday, June 18, 3:17 p.m.

The state on Thursday said another resident has died from COVID-19. The individual was at a long-term care facility, said Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

There have now been 331 coronavirus deaths in the state. Shibinette announced 17 new cases, which brings the total confirmed cases to 5,450.

Of the total cases, 533 people, or 10 percent, required hospitalization at some point.

“As you can see, our data is certainly trending in the right direction,” Shibinette said.

She announced two long-term care facilities that had outbreaks - Mountain Ridge in Franklin and Ridgewood Center in Bedford - were both cleared from the state’s list.

The state reports 109,000 residents have been tested for coronavirus.

- NHPR Staff

Uptick in weekly jobless claims in N.H.

Update: Thursday, June 18, 2:03 p.m.

New Hampshire saw a small uptick in weekly unemployment claims in early June.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports there were around 6,300 first-time filers in each of the first two weeks of June. That was up slightly from the 6,100 new claims for the week ending May 30.

New Hampshire unemployment rate stood at 14.5% last month.

- Shehzil Zahid

Long-term care centers make up most of new COVID cases

Update: Wednesday, June 17, 6:39 p.m.

New Hampshire reported 73 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, with 75% of them from three long-term care facilities dealing with an outbreak, according to state health officials.

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The new positive results were identified after recurring testing of residents and staff at those homes. The state did not immediately disclose which three facilities account for the 54 cases.

Ten of the new cases required hospitalization, and 10% of the overall confirmed cases of COVID-19 have required hospital care at some point. (Go Deeper: Explore the data of coronavirus cases and testing in N.H.)

Four additional residents died June 17 due to coronavirus. They were three women and one man from Hillsborough County. All were 60 or older.

The total number of deaths in the state is now 330.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. amusement parks eye reopening dates

Update: Wednesday, June 17, 4:06 p.m.

Canobie Lake Park in Salem announced its reopening day will be July 16.

The amusement park says it will roll out new policies, including online ordering, as part of a plan to reopen safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There will also be health and safety protocols, such as social distancing in accordance with state and federal recommendations.

Amusement parks may reopen June 29, under the state's emergency orders and universal guidance design to limit potential exposure to the virus, including screening of employees for possible symptoms and wearing cloth face coverings or masks.

- NHPR Staff

Seafood festival at Hampton Beach canceled

Update: Wednesday, June 17, 3:31 p.m.

The 2020 Hampton Beach Seafood Festival has been canceled.

Organizers say the event - which typically draws 100,000 visitors over three days each September - would be impossible to hold given the public health and safety protocols that would have to be put in place.

Instead, the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce will produce a summer seafood guidebook which will direct would-be festival goers to local seafood restaurants.

The chamber also plans to have some activities during the festival’s scheduled dates in September that would include a Sept. 11th tribute, fireworks, and a 5K road race.

- Alex McOwen

U.S.-Canada border to remain closed to non-essential travel

The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to extend their agreements to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential travel until July 21 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest agreement extends the closure by another 30 days. The restrictions were first announced March 18 and extended twice previously.

U.S. border patrol says it will also no longer detain illegal immigrants in holding facilities, but will immediately return the undocumented individuals to the country they entered from, either Canada or Mexico. If that is not possible for a particular person, the government says they will return the individuals to their country of origin.

- Staff and Wire Report

Main Street Relief Fund grants soon in the mail

Update: Tuesday, June 16, 3:40 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says the state will soon cut checks to 5,456 small businesses that applied for aid under the $400 million Main Street Relief Fund.

The average grant is about $62,000. The total amount being disbursed is $338 million. It's short of the $400 million because the state capped the total allowable grant at $350,000.

The money, from the federal CARES Act, was established as a pool for small businesses to cover some of their losses, including rent and utilities. 

“This wasn’t to make anybody rich, it wasn't even to cover all their losses,” Sununu said.

Around 13,000 businesses submitted pre-qualification applications. Nearly 5,000 submissions were disqualified because the individuals were self-employed, and another 2,300 were disqualified for not meeting the criteria, the governor said. Sununu says the state is looking into what more it might be able to do to help self-employed business people.

- NHPR Staff

Updated: What's Open (and what's not open) in New Hampshire

4 of 6 new deaths are from long-term care centers

Update: Tuesday, June 16, 3:19 p.m.

Dr. Ben Chan, New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist, said six more residents have died from COVID-19. Four of them were associated with long-term care facilities.

The state announced 27 new positive test results, bringing the total confirmed cases to 5,364.

Two of the new cases are hospitalized.

Chan said the state’s data points to continued good news in terms of fewer cases and hospitalizations.

More than 100,000 have now been tested for coronavirus, and the state is avering 1,700 tests a day, he said.

New guidelines for visiting nursing homes

Update: Tuesday, June 16, 3:09 p.m.

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette reported a new outbreak at a long-term care facility. She says 10 residents and three staff members at Holy Cross Health Center in Manchester have tested positive for the virus.

She announced Greystone Farm at Salem is now removed from the state’s list of outbreaks.

The state on Tuesday unveiled its new visitation plan for long-term care homes. Every facility is required to develop an individual plan that’s tailored to their needs and safety.

The visits will be:

  • “No-contact visits” outside
  • Limited to two people, and no one under the age of 12
  • by appointment

Residents will continue to be screened regularly, and visitors will be screened before visits. And visits will only be at facilities that are not experiencing an outbreak.

Residents at long-term care facilities account for nearly 80 percent of coronavirus deaths in the Granite State.

- NHPR Staff

Jobless rate falls as economy starts to fully reopen

Update: Tuesday, June 16, 1:01 p.m.

The state’s unemployment rate fell in May as more parts of the economy reopened.

The rate now stands at 14.5 percent, according to New Hampshire Employment Security. Unemployment peaked in April at 17.1%.

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Food service, retail and construction all saw positive job growth last month as businesses began to reopen.

The numbers remain a stark reminder of the economic challenges in New Hampshire. While 24,320 more people were working in the state in May, compared with April, more than 105,000 residents were unemployed in May. That estimate is nearly 86,000 greater than May of 2019.

- Todd Bookman

'Stay At Home' order expires in New Hampshire

Update: Monday, June 15, 4:55 p.m.

New Hampshire’s ‘Stay At Home’ order will expire at midnight, as will the cap on gatherings of more than ten people.

Related story: What's open (and what's not open) in New Hampshire?

The stay-at-home provision was put in place by Gov. Chris Sununu on March 28 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Nearly three months later, community transmission of COVID-19 remains a risk in all 10 New Hampshire counties, though testing is now widely available and hospitals say they are prepared to handle any potential surge in cases.

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While nearly all businesses have been allowed to reopen, occupancy restrictions remain in place at many locations, and masks and social distancing are still recommended in public places.

- Todd Bookman

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Two more COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire

Update: Sunday, June 14, 6:00 p.m.

Two additional deaths reported Sunday brings New Hampshire's total COVID-19 to 320. Both patients who died were female residents of Hillsborough County who were over 60 years of age.

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services also announced 21 new positive test results. The state's confirmed case total is now 5,318

- NHPR Staff

3 additional deaths brings N.H. total to 318

Update: Saturday, June 13, 4:24 p.m.

Three additional deaths reported Saturday increases New Hampshire's total coronavirus deaths to 318.

The three residents — two men and a woman — were 60 and older and from Hillsborough County.

N.H. Health and Human Services also announced 49 new positive test results. The state's confirmed case total rises to 5,299, more than 70 percent of whom have recovered.

Ten of the new cases required hospitalization. As of June 13, the current hospitalization bed count is 71.

New Hampshire is closing in on 100,000 people being tested for COVID-19. To date, 96,421 have been tested, and another 15,000 have had antibody lab tests conducted.

On Monday, June 15, Gov. Chris Sununu will lift his stay-at-home order as the state reopens remaining closed and restricted parts of the economy under previous emergency orders. The state continues to recommend Granite Staters wear cloth face coverings and masks when in public and maintain physical distancing of 6 feet.

- NHPR Staff

7 additional deaths, 46 new cases

Update: Friday, June 12, 7 p.m.

State health officials announced seven additional deaths on Friday, bringing the total COVID-19 deaths to 315 in New Hampshire.

All seven residents were women aged 60 or older; six are from Hillsborough County, one from Belknap County, according to New Hampshire Health and Human Services.

The state reported 46 new positive tests. The state's case total rises to 5,251, with 3,843, or 73 percent, having recovered from the virus. Nearly 100,000 Granite Staters have now been tested for coronavirus.

Explore the Data: Tracking COVID-19 in New Hampshire

- NHPR Staff

State extends call hours for COVID relief fund deadline

Update: Friday, June 12, 4:11 p.m.

The state is extending call hours for businesses seeking to complete final submissions for grants under a COVID-19 relief fund.

The deadline for the Main Street Relief Fund is Friday at 11:59 p.m.

Staff at the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration will be available until the deadline is up.

The staff of the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery is also extending outreach.

Applicants in need of assistance are asked to call the DRA at (603) 230-5000.

- NHPR staff

Sununu: 'Stay At Home' Order Will Lift June 15

Update: Thursday, June 11, 3:27 p.m.

New Hampshire’s Stay At Home order will expire June 15, Gov. Chris Sununu announced Thursday. At that point, Sununu said, the state will transition to a “Safer At Home” advisory and people will once again be permitted to gather in groups of 10 or more, if they choose.

Gyms, racetracks, charitable gaming facilities, libraries and funeral homes will be among the industries allowed to reopen, with modifications, starting June 15. 

Additionally, Sununu said the state is aiming to allow indoor movie theaters, amusement parks, performing arts venues and adult day centers to reopen June 29, with some restrictions. More details on the reopening rules can be found on the state’s Stay At Home 2.0 website

After these reopening measures take effect, Sununu said, the state will lift distinctions between “essential” and “non-essential” businesses when it comes to COVID-19 reopening regulations. 

- NHPR Staff

N.H. Launching New Relief Fund for Renters

While the governor outlined plans to return to some sense of normalcy, he still cautioned that people need to remain vigilant about protective measures and New Hampshire is likely to see a second surge of COVID-19 in months ahead.

Additional relief funding is coming to New Hampshire’s renters, homeless shelters, broadband infrastructure, chambers of commerce and private higher education institutions, Gov. Chris Sununu announced at a press conference Thursday.

Using money from the CARES Act, the state is launching a $35 million Housing Relief Fund targeted to renters which will support one-time grants for households that have lost income or otherwise incurred extra expenses due to COVID-19, as well as a short-term rental assistance program. Sununu said he hopes this offers an “offramp” to renters as the state lifts the moratorium on evictions that went into effect early on in New Hampshire’s COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to this extra relief funding, Sununu said the state will give tenants 30 days — rather than the seven typically allowed — to vacate a home after an eviction.

Beyond the housing relief funding, Sununu said the state will also distribute $50 million in additional relief funding to extend broadband access, $15 million to support homeless shelters, $2 million to local chambers of commerce and $10 million to private colleges and universities.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. reports 7 additional deaths, 54 new cases

Update: Wednesday, June 10, 6:37 p.m.

Seven additional Granite Staters have died from the coronavirus.

State health officials say six of the residents were from Hillsborough County, with one resident being from Rockingham County. All but one were 60 years old or older. 

The state reported 54 new cases, which brings the total confirmed cases in New Hampshire to 5,178. Four of the new cases are hospitalized.

To date, 500 people in the state have required hospital care at some point since the coronavirus pandemic reached New Hampshire in early March. That is 10 percent of the total cases.

- NHPR Staff

Amtrak to reopen some train runs

Update: Wednesday, June 10, 1:09 p.m.

Starting on Monday, June 15, the Amtrak Downeaster will resume limited service.

The commuter train will operate only one southbound line in the morning, and one northbound train departing from Boston at 5 p.m. Before the pandemic, the Downeaster ran five daily trains in each direction.

Capacity on the train, which makes three stops in New Hampshire, will be limited to 50 percent.

 Passengers will be required to wear masks while boarding and moving around the train, though not while seated.

- Todd Bookman

SNHU extends remote learning for campus students

Update: Wednesday, June 10, 12:10 p.m.

Southern New Hampshire University announced today it is extending remote learning for on-campus students through the fall of 2020.

SNHU says it will reduce the campus tuition to match the online rate for remote instruction.

"Public health guidelines still say social distancing is our best way to slow the spread of the virus, and welcoming back thousands of students from around the world would put the health of our students, staff, faculty, and the greater Manchester and Hooksett communities at risk," SNHU President Paul LeBlanc said in a news release.

The university's on-campus head count is 3,000 students.

- NHPR Staff

Social Distance: House to meet at UNH arena

Update: Wednesday, June 10, 8:08 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu issued his 50th emergency order last night. It was drafted at the request of the Speaker of the House, Steve Shurtleff, and it ensures mileage reimbursement for state representatives who will travel to Durham, not Concord, when the full 400-seat House of Representatives meets on Thursday.

The House is meeting at the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore Center Arena in an effort to maintain social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The emergency order gives state reps "the ability to receive reimbursements for actual travel expenses incurred for trips to and from a member's home to the Whittemore Center" in Durham.

- NHPR Staff

Chan: Data shows improving trends

 Update: 6:49 p.m.

Dr. Ben Chan, New Hampshire's state epidemiologist, says there are promising trends in the state's public health data. He said the number of hospitalizations continues to decrease, and the number of positive tests are declining.

Over the past week, New Hampshire is at 2-3 percent of tests returning positive, he said.

“This shows ongoing, we believe, decrease in community transmission, but it’s important still for all of us to continue to take precautions to try to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in our communities.”

Even though the numbers have improved, Chan said residents should continue to wear cloth face coverings when out in public and maintains social distancing.

A Milestone

Wednesday, June 10, marks the 100th day since New Hampshire announced its first positive COVID-19 case.

Gov. Chris Sununu brought the milestone up during a news conference in Concord. “It almost seems like a hundred years, but it’s only been a hundred days,” he said.

He said there continue to be positive trends as the state works to lift restrictions imposed under the state’s emergency order.

The state’s stay-at-home order will likely sunset on June 15, but the state of emergency will remain in place, Sununu has said.

“I’ve always said there’s a second surge coming. I hope I’m dead wrong. I really do. But we are planning for a significant second surge. Whether it’s in - it could be August, but I’m thinking in the September or October range. We all have to be prepared for that potentially.”

- Dan Tuohy

N.H. working on allowing visitors to some nursing homes

Update: Tuesday, June 9, 4:11 p.m.

The state is looking into reopening nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for some visitation.

A group of public health experts are working on guidelines that would permit nursing homes to arrange for outdoor visits between residents and their loved ones. No other information is yet available.

Nursing homes have been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in New Hampshire, accounting for approximately 80% of all fatalities.

On Tuesday, state health officials announced eight additional deaths due to the coronavirus, bringing the total fatalities to 294. Six of the eight deaths were residents at long-term care facilities, said Dr. Ben Chan, New Hampshire's state epidemiologist.

The state also announced 53 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19. More than 5,100 residents have now tested positive.

Gov. Chris Sununu, who himself received a coronavirus test this week, encouraged anyone interested in getting a test to do so.

- Todd Bookman

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New mobile testing site to open in Manchester

Update: Monday, June 8, 3:45 p.m.

Manchester will be opening up a mobile COVID-19 testing site at the intersection of Union and Spruce Streets this week. The site was created in partnership with several community organizations, including Centro Latino, Hope Tabernacle, and the Granite State Organizing Project.

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The site will be open for one day – this Thursday – but Sarah Jane Knoy, Executive Director of the GSOP, says if there’s enough demand they’ll try to do it every week.

“We want to make sure that this community that is traditionally underserved gets all the testing that they need,” she says.

There will be Spanish interpreters at the site, and organizers say they’re looking into having Arabic, Swahili, and French interpreters as well. The testing will be free and available by appointment only.

- Alex McOwen

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Hotels reopen in New Hampshire

Update: Sunday, June 7, 3:25 p.m.

Hotel managers across New Hampshire say they had a busy reopening weekend. As of Friday, the state’s hotels, motels, and other lodgings are now able to resume operations with increased safety precautions and limited capacity.

Molly Rice, general manager of the Woodstock Inn Brewery in North Woodstock says they had 15 rooms booked this weekend.

“All the guests were like super happy just to be out of their house you know and to be here having dinner having breakfast, it was great to see people again,” Rice says.

Under the state’s reopening guidelines, all hotel common areas are closed and elevators will be limited to one party at a time. Out-of-state guests will be required to sign a document attesting that they’ve remained at a home for at least 14 days before arriving in New Hampshire.

- Alex McOwen

Protections for New Hampshire renters set to expire

Update: Sunday, June 7, 2:30 p.m.

Protections for renters during coronavirus will end when New Hampshire's state of emergency expires. Governor Chris Sununu announced his fourth extension of that order last week. It's now currently set to end June 26.

Jeff Goodrich is an attorney at the Legal Advice and Referral Center based in Concord. He says one place people facing an eviction can go for help is their municipal welfare office.

“That’s probably the first place you want to go, if you have an eviction notice for rent, have that for the welfare officer for bringing the rent current,” he says.

Goodrich says under state law, welfare offices have an obligation to help people meet those payments if they’re facing an eviction.

- Daniela Allee

5 more Granite Staters have died from COVID-19

Update: Saturday, June 6, 4:05 p.m.

Five more New Hampshire residents have died from the coronavirus. State health officials announced Saturday that all five people were 60 or older and from Hillsborough County. The number of Granite Staters who have now died from COVID-19 is now 283.

New Hampshire reports 74 new positive test results, which brings the total number of cases to 5,019. An estimated 66 percent of those have recovered, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Eleven of the new cases required hospitalization. To date, 487 people, or 10 percent of the total cases, have required hospital care at some point after being infected.

- NHPR Staff

More details offered on fund for small businesses in N.H.

Update: Saturday, June 6, 9:00 a.m.

After a week's delay, the state on Friday announced additional details about a $400 million fund aimed at small and mid-sized businesses.

Gov. Chris Sununu said the state received more than 13,000 pre-applications for unrestricted grants. Every applicant will now be sent a short follow up form that is due by next Friday, June 12. Sununu says the aim is to make the program seamless.

“We feel very confident. It should be a very successful program to allow folks to get some basic funds in to pay rent or mortgage, utilities, or whatever they need to do to keep those businesses floating and thriving.”

Given the large number of applicants, no entity will receive more than $350,000 in aid. Every business that qualified will receive some level of funding.

- Todd Bookman

New guidance for restaurants, golf, camps, and weddings

Update: Friday, June 5, 3:25 p.m.

New Hampshire will allow indoor dining and wedding receptions to open starting June 15, under new guidance announced Friday by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sununu outlined additional steps to reopen businesses and activities that were shut down in his previous emergency orders in response to coronavirus.

The guidelines updated Friday include:

Restaurants were allowed to serve outdoor dining customers starting May 18. The next step, on June 15, will allow for indoor dining to resume. Read the latest restaurant guidance.

Sununu said he’s taking a geographic approach based on where most of the COVID-19 cases have been identified - in the southern tier.

To that end, restaurants in Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties can open June 15 at 50 percent of their indoor capacity. Restaurants in the remaining counties can reopen indoor seating June 15 at 100 percent capacity. Social distancing guidelines for the businesses remain in place.

Wedding reception guidance was also released Friday. For post-weddding receptions and events, occupancy must be limited 5o percent for facilities, tables limited to six people, and dancing within 6 feet of another person is discouraged, with the exception of family members and people from the same household.

Story: Restaurants can soon open for indoor seating; wedding receptions to resume

The state's stay-at-home order is in effect until June 15. At that time, Sununu says, "It is our intent to allow the stay-at-home order to sunset."

The governor said each component of the new guidance includes maintaining social distancing and practicing proper hygiene to limit possible transmission of the virus.

- NHPR Staff

N.H. Reports 5 Additional Deaths, 80 New COVID-19 Cases

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced five additional deaths Friday due to the coronavirus. Four of the residents were from long-term care facilities.

Nearly a Quarter of Nursing Homes in N.H. Impacted by Coronavirus

She announced 80 new cases, which brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 4,953. 

- NHPR Staff

Sununu to discuss further guidance for reopening N.H.'s economy

Update: Friday, June 5, 2:01 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu will outline additional updates to New Hampshire's emergency orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic during a news conference Friday at 3 p.m. 

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The governor's stay-at-home order was extended previously to June 15. In recent weeks, a task force has continued to review various sectors and industries for reopening guidelines.

Sununu announces phase 2 of seacoast beach reopening

Update: Friday, June 5, 11:01 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu has adjusted his emergency order to further reopen New Hampshire's seacoast beaches. He announced Friday that the next phase of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic would allow for sunbathing and other traditional beach activities.

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It takes effect immediately.

The state's seacoast beaches reopened Monday, June 1, but only for "active recreation," such as walking, running, swimming, and surfing. With Friday's adjustment, beachgoers are still advised to maintain social distancing of 6 feet from other groups.

Parking restrictions remain in place for state parks, and parking is still prohibited along Route 1a in Seacoast communities.

- NHPR Staff

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N.H. offers testing to any resident

Update: Thursday, June 4, 11:39 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says increased coronavirus testing capacity means it’s time to “push the limit" on getting as many people as possible tested.

“Even if you are asymptomatic," he says, "having that information about folks about folks who may be asymptomatic knowing that there are a lot of individuals out there who test positive those folks test positive one that are asymptomatic, and making sure that iffolks are positive, making sure they are not carriers, unknowing carriers to loved ones or other folks in the community. It’s very very important.”

The state announced 47 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, and nine new COVID-19 related deaths. Six of the people who died were residents of long-term care facilities.

Almost 80 percent of New Hampshire’s 265 coronarvirus deaths are linked to long term care settings.

- Jason Moon

Sununu backs peaceful protest gatherings

Update: Thursday, June 4, 11:12 a.m.

Governor Sununu on Wednesday defended his support of the peaceful protests being held around New Hampshire, which remains under a stay-at-home order because of the pandemic.

Though gatherings of 10 or more people remain banned, thousands of people have attended numerous protests this week following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Sununu noted that he has not stopped other protests during the pandemic, including some aimed at him.

State tax revenues plummet during pandemic

Update: Wednesday, June 3, 4 p.m.

State tax collections came in 22 percent below target for the month of May as the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrict the economy. The $25 million shortfall leaves the state about $100 million behind forecasts for the fiscal year, which closes at the end of June.

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With hotels largely closed and restaurants limited to take-out or outdoor seating, collection of the Meals and Rooms Tax came in 58 percent below target.

Business tax collections were off by about 27 percent, though the Department of Revenue Administration says part of that shortfall is due to an emergency extension for filing returns, meaning some of this shortage will be collected in June.

Real estate transactions in New Hampshire slowed by 17 percent statewide, hurting the collection of the real estate transfer tax.

Tax receipts from the sale of tobacco and liquor in the state were largely on target for the month.

- Todd Bookman

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Long-term care homes still bearing burden of pandemic

Update: Wednesday, June 3, 3:25 p.m.

Dr. Ben Chan, New Hampshire's state epidemiologist, said the latest numbers continue to show the burden that COVID-19 has had on at-risk populations. Six of the nine new deaths reported Wednesday are from long-term care or congregate living homes, he said.

Of the total 265 COVID-19 deaths in New Hampshire, as of June 3, close to 80 percent have been residents of long-term care facilities. More than 76,000 residents have now been tested for coronavirus. Chan says the state is averaging about 1,700 tests a day.

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced that the state is expanding testing in the North Country. ClearChoiceMD and Littleton Regional Hospital have a new site on the grounds of the hospital. Residents may make an appointment, but one is not necessary.

The state allows anyone who wants a coronavirus test to now get one.

- Dan Tuohy

Crowds a challenge for contact tracing

Update: Wednesday, June 3, 10:52 a.m.

Manchester health officials say large gatherings like this weekend’s protests make it nearly impossible to conduct effective contact tracing.

The state of New Hampshire, and the cities of Manchester and Nashua all have teams investigating cases of COVID-19.

Phil Alexakos is the Chief Operating Officer of the Manchester Health Department. He says contact tracing is one of the city’s most effective tools in fighting the coronavirus.

“And so by having large events where things like close contact can happen, if you have cases there could potentially be a lot more exposure that is incubating and waiting to present itself.”

Alexakos says it’s important that people attending these events continue to practice social distancing and to wear face coverings.

If someone who attended a protest tests positive, the city will put out public messaging to alert anyone who may have been exposed.

- Alex McOwen

N.H. reports 11 additional deaths

Update: Tuesday, June 2, 6:52 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials announced 11 additional deaths due to the coronavirus on Tuesday. The deaths, all of whom were 60 or older, brings the total number of COVID-19-related fatalities to 256.

With 65 newly identified positive results, the overall caseload is now 4,749.

Six of the new cases required hospitalization. As of June 2, 97 Granite Staters are in the hospital receiving care for the virus.

- NHPR Staff

Just how accurate are antibody tests?

Update: Tuesday, June 2, 11:31 a.m.

Antibody testing could help determine whether someone has been infected with COVID-19 in the past. But public health officials are still unsure about whether an individual who has antibodies is immune to the virus.

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Antonia Altomare is an epidemiologist and infectious disease physician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. She says available antibody tests are only accurate 50 percent of the time.

"Until we have a better test, it's going to be hard to know what to make of the results. As far as the research behind immunity, we're getting closer. I would say in the next weeks to month, we'll have a better sense of what that means."

Altomare says antibody testing could still be helpful for the state with regards to contact tracing and keeping track of the spread of the virus.

- Mary McIntyre

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Lawmakers want to study how nursing homes are handling COVID-19

Update: Tuesday, June 2, 11:21 a.m.

A state Senate committee voted unanimously Tuesday to study how New Hampshire nursing homes are handling COVID-19.

The study would look at testing, PPE, infection control policies, and staffing issues in light of COVID-19.

The committee decided against also looking into the fiscal health of nursing homes.

Senator Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, feared looking at homes’ finances would impede focusing on pressing safety issues.

“And it seems to me that it might prevent getting the information that we need in a timely fashion. So perhaps there is another way to get that information.”

In New Hampshire, residents of long-term care facilities account for more than 75% of the state’s 245 COVID-19 deaths.

- Josh Rogers

Inland beaches open

Update: Tuesday, June 2, 10:59 a.m.

New Hampshire has opened inland beaches at state parks, but for walking or passing through only.

Inland beaches are narrow and don’t allow for proper social distancing as a seacoast beach would, according to the division of parks and recreation.

State officials say for the most part, park employees haven’t seen the crowds that typically gather at inland beaches in the summer months.

State has tested at all N.H. nursing homes

Update: Monday, June 1, 4:45 p.m. 

New Hampshire has now tested for COVID-19 at all of the state's nursing homes. Completing those tests, which took weeks, was a precondition for the launch of long-term care surveillance testing, a method the state hopes will give it a better handle on how the coronavirus is moving through nursing homes.

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"So what that is, is 10 percent of residents in nursing homes and all staff tested between seven and twelve days with the hope that the average is ten,” says Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

About 40 percent of New Hampshire’s recent new cases of COVID-19 are tied to long term care facilities, as are more than 75 percent of the state’s deaths.

Overall, the coronavirus has killed 1.5 percent of the residents who live in long term care facilities in New Hampshire.

- Josh Rogers

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N.H. beaches, some business to reopen today

Update: Monday, June 1, 6:55 a.m.

Seacoast beaches are officially open today, but only for visitors who remain in motion.

The governor's reopening plan allows for swimming, running, walking, surfing - but you can't spread out a blanket or eat a picnic lunch on the beach yet. State-owned parking lots are limited to 50 percent capacity.

The state advises any beach goers to maintain social distancing and limit groups to ten people or fewer.

Tattoo shops, personal care businesses can reopen

New Hampshire tattoo shops, massage therapists and some other personal care businesses can open their doors today as long as they follow state public health restrictions.

Michaela Clarke with Midnight Moon Tattoo in Meredith says she and her colleagues are excited to get back to work. They've decided to implement extra precautions like changing into a different set of clothes when they arrive at the studio.

”And then when they leave the studio they change out of their clothing, to wear their home clothing just to lessen any chance of spread,” she says.

Small fitness classes like yoga and martial arts are also allowed to restart today - but the state requires gyms to remain closed to other uses.

- Lauren Chooljian

3 additional deaths, 106 new cases

Update: Sunday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.

State health officials announced three additional deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, which brings the total number of deaths from the virus in New Hampshire to 245.

The residents were all 60 years old or older. One was a male resident of Hillsborough County, two were residents of Rockingham County, one man and one woman.

There were 106 new positive test results Sunday. The total number of confirmed cases in the state now stands at 4,651.

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

- NHPR Staff

4 additional deaths, 55 new cases, 9 new hospitalizations

Update: Saturday, May 30, 7:01 p.m.

State health officials announced four additional deaths from coronavirus on Saturday, which brings the total number of deaths from the virus in New Hampshire to 242.

The residents were all 60 or older and from Hillsborough County. They were two men and two women. 

There were 55 new positive test results Saturday. The total number of confirmed cases is 4,545, of which 2,940, or 65 percent, have recovered, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Nine of the new cases required hospitalization. Currental total hospitalizations are now 107.

- NHPR Staff

Earlier updates