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The most recent update from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services on Aug. 25:
- No new deaths were reported.
- 16 new cases were reported.
- The state's total case number stands at 7,150.
- The state's total COVID-19 deaths total 429.
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LIVE BLOG - CORONAVIRUS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6:01 p.m.
Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire’s face mask requirement will be in effect at President Trump’s campaign rally Friday at a Manchester airport hangar.
Sununu says the Trump campaign is on the same page as state health officials about the rule, which applies to gatherings of more than 100 people.
“I think they’ve been very good about trying to promote that message, making sure that people are safe … and to make sure they understand that – more than 100 people, everyone has to follow the rules," Sununu said.
Sununu says he expects to greet the President on arrival. But the governor says he tries to avoid large crowds and will probably not go to the rally itself.
The rally comes after one was postponed in Portsmouth last month, due to weather. It spurred that city to adopt one of the state's first masking ordinances.
Several other cities and towns have since followed suit.
- Annie Ropeik
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:31 p.m.
The state says it didn't find any clear patterns in a review of ventilation systems at long-term care facilities that had COVID-19 outbreaks.
Engineers spent two weeks analyzing the design and placement of air circulation systems at affected homes.
It came amid new scientific questions about whether the virus could spread or survive that way.
But the state says it didn't find obvious links between different ventilation systems and the way the virus spread in long-term care facilities.
Still, officials say any kind of facility with an internal air system should keep an eye on it as a potential risk factor.
They say that includes schools and businesses as more reopen this fall.
- Annie Ropeik
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 4:46 p.m.
Governor Sununu announced another eight recipients of the state’s Emergency Broadband Expansion Program.
In total, about $14 million from the federal CARES Act will go towards expanding broadband in 17 different towns around the state.
The goal of the program is to build out the so called “last mile” of internet connectivity, which is the internet hook-up to a property.
Because of federal deadlines on when CARES Act money has to be used, these broadband projects need to be completed before the end of this year.
- Daniela Allee
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 3:15 p.m.
New Hampshire health officials announced an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette says that 10 residents and one staff member have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The state also announced 16 new positive test results for COVID-19, and reported no new deaths.
FEMA OK's state's application for $300 unemployment benefit
Gov. Chris Sununu said FEMA has approved the state’s application for the “Lost Wages Assistance Program,” as part of the president’s executive order earlier this month.
Sununu said the federal funding will pump more than $300 million into the state’s economy, at little cost to the state.
In connection with the program, Sununu said the minimum weekly unemployment benefit will be raised to $100 to ensure out-of-work residents can get the new $300 benefit from the “Lost Wages” program, going back to Aug. 1.
The governor added that CAP agencies are launching a new, streamlined application process to help people apply for housing relief.
<- NHPR Staff
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 11:54 a.m.
Keene State College announced yesterday that some students will have their move-in delayed because of delayed test results.
All students in the University System of New Hampshire must have a negative COVID-19 test result before arriving to campus.
The new move-in start for some Keene State students will be this Wednesday and will continue through the weekend.
Keene State is starting this first week of classes remotely, and will start in person instruction next week.
Plymouth State University students also experienced delays last week in getting their pre-arrival test results, affecting that university’s plans for move-in.
- Daniela Allee
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 10:19 a.m.
Jury trials in state courts resumed Monday after a five-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The judicial branch is restarting with what it's calling a pilot case in Cheshire County.
Jurors are spread out in the gallery rather than sitting in the jury box, and everyone in the courtroom is required to wear a mask.
The trial is being live streamed to ensure public access to the proceedings.
The case involves a man accused of resisting arrest.
- Todd Bookman
Update: Monday, August 24, 9:45 a.m.
More than 50 New Hampshire communities have yet to apply for reimbursement for expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. Requests must be made by Sept. 15 to be reimbursed for expenses incurred between March 1 and Aug. 31.
As of Friday, 51 towns had not applied, according to the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, which is in charge of distributing the state’s $1.25 billion in federal aid. Communities also can request reimbursement for expenses incurred from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15. That deadline will be Oct. 30.
- The Associated Press
Update: Sunday, August 23, 4:40 p.m.
The task force advising New Hampshire’s governor about reopening the state’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic hosts public call-in sessions each week, but it also has heard plenty via email since it began its work in April. Nearly 1,800 messages were sent to members between April 22 and May 1, when The Associated Press requested copies.
The emails, which were turned over two and a half months later, show stark divisions over what should reopen and what should stay closed. Hair salon owners were particularly vocal, as were those pushing for the reopening of campgrounds and golf courses.
- Associated Press
Update: Saturday, Aug. 22, 9:00 a.m.
Gov. Chris Sununu is cautiously optimistic that Laconia Motorcycle Week can be a success, even during the pandemic.
Sununu said Friday that people need to be responsible and follow social distancing and hygiene recommendations. He also says if anyone has doubts about attending due to illness, they shouldn't.
"If you have symptoms of any kind you should not be attending at all. So we just want people to take the event seriously, be very smart about how they approach it and if they do that, we can defiantly have a very successful event.”
State Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette said contact tracing would be a challenge if people with COVID end up mingling in large events. But she says state health officials are keeping their fingers crossed that Bike Week, which could draw attendees from across the country, won't prompt a spike in cases.
The annual event was posted from June. It runs Aug. 22-30.
- Josh Rogers
Update: Saturday, Aug. 22, 9 a.m.
About 100 Dartmouth College professors are asking administrators to reconsider bringing students back to campus next month.
In an open letter sent Friday, the professors said they weren't convinced that it would be possible to maintain a safe campus and wider community with students arriving from across the country, even with the reopening plan Dartmouth has in place.
The letter says, "we do not see rewards that would outweigh the ponderous risks in this plan," and urges the college to a adopt a fully remote plan.
Earlier this week, the college announced it would wait until next week to announce a return date as they monitor COVID-19 infection rates at other colleges.
- Daniela Allee
Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 3:44 p.m.
Gov. Chris Sununu, citing low numbers of transmission, announced today that restaurants across New Hampshire will be allowed to have indoor dining at 100 percent capacity. Prior state restrictions required that restaurants in Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford counties be limited to 50 percent capacity indoors.
Those counties were previously singled out because they are home to most of the infections in New Hampshire.
Restaurants are still required to adhere to social distancing, which limits some capacity indoors.
Sununu said the state has not seen any major issues with restaurants, in connection with COVID-19 and safety protocols.
"The 6-foot social distancing is very important. Wearing masks in the public areas of those establishments is very important. Making sure that the staff is wearing the masks, if they are front-facing staff with the customers. All those provisions are in place and will remain in place for quite some time, without a doubt."
Sununu said capacity limits on retailers and tourist attractions will remain in place. Sununu said he looked at lifting those, but said it was impractical given the range of affected businesses.
The 100 percent indoor capacity allowance is effective immediately.
State Closes Outbreak at Greenbriar
State health officials say one of the largest and most persistent nursing home outbreaks of COVID-19 in New Hampshire has ended.
Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced Friday that the state is closing the outbreak case at Greenbriar Healthcare in Nashua, where 28 residents have died due to the coronavirus.
That leaves just one facility, Evergreen Place in Manchester, with an active outbreak that is being monitored.
At Greenbriar, 124 residents and 34 staff members had tested positive for coronavirus, according to Shibinette.
- NHPR Staff
Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 2:01 p.m.
State officials say New Hampshire towns and cities can require that both voters and poll workers wear face coverings on Election Day to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Secretary of State Bill Gardner released new guidance for the Sept. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general election.
They said they agree with town moderators that decisions about mask requirements should be made locally, given the wide variation in the size of polling places, expected volume of voters, and other factors.
Communities that require face coverings for voters must, however, provide alternatives for those who can't or won't comply.
- NHPR Staff
Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 9:51 a.m.
Struggling New Hampshire restaurant owners want the state to both reduce restrictions aimed at controlling the coronavirus and increase efforts to educate the public about them.
Officials with two restaurant groups were among those speaking up at Thursday's public input session hosted by the governor's Economic Reopening Task Force.
They said workers are dealing with abusive customers who don't understand mask requirements, and they're worried that cold weather will soon end outdoor dining.
-- Holly Ramer, AP
Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 4:31 p.m.
Another resident has died from coronavirus, state health officials reported today. There have been 428 deaths since the outbreak began. The latest death is a man from Hillsborough County, who was 60 or older.
The latest public health update includes 14 new infections, bringing the total New Hampshire cases to 7,050, and the state says 6,367 have recovered. The current caseload is 255.
Two of the new cases are residents under 18. The new cases are from: Rockingham County, four; Merrimack County, three; Hillsborough County, two; and there was one each from the city of Manchester and Cheshire and Strafford counties. The state is trying to determine the county of residence for two of the new cases.
There were no new hospitalizations announced Thursday, and the current number of people in the hospital due to COVID-19 is down to 11.
- NHPR Staff
Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 10:31 a.m.
Dartmouth College students barely will be able to venture off-campus when they return this fall.
According to the latest travel restrictions, undergraduate students will not be permitted to travel beyond the local area, which is defined as the towns of Hanover, Enfield, Lebanon, Lyme, and West Lebanon in New Hampshire, and Norwich and Hartford in Vermont.
Graduate students, faculty and staff have more leeway. But those traveling outside New England, even for day trips, will be prohibited from accessing campus buildings for 14 days upon return.
- Holly Ramer, AP
Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 9:59 a.m.
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester will reopen its doors to the public today.
The museum is capping the number of entrants to ensure social distancing and changing its schedule. Special times slots are being set aside for seniors.
Tours of the museum's two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed houses will remain closed.
- Todd Bookman
Update: Wednesday, Aug. 19, 4:31 p.m.
State health officials today announced 19 new cases of COVID-19, and three new deaths.
One female resident from Rockingham County and two female residents from Hillsborough county died from the disease. All three were 60 years of age or older.
The state announced there are no new hospitalized cases, which continue to drop: as of Aug. 19, there were only a dozen hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
The current case number is 262. To date, 6,347 of the overall 7,036 reported infections in New Hampshire have recovered, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Since the outbreak began, 427 residents have died from coronavirus.
- Daniela Allee
Update: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 11:05 a.m.
Union representatives say postal service workers in New Hampshire can sort and deliver the mail, including election ballots, despite facing challenges like loss of equipment, revenue, and staff.
The representatives spoke with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen on Tuesday, saying they prioritize mail-in ballots and that they are are secure. They said they think there's a lot of disinformation circulating about mail-in voting.
Recent changes made in New Hampshire include the elimination of five mail sorting machines in Manchester. Dana Coletti, president of the American Postal Workers Union in the state, said that it just seems a little unusual that this would happen around election time.
Update: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 10:57 a.m.
Gov. Chris Sununu says he plans to vote in person this year, but he says people and communities should exercise their own judgement when it comes to election procedures.
Sununu says guidance issued by state election officials and the Attorney General has convinced him it will be safe to vote in person. But he says if other people feel differently there are other options.
"Now you can take an absentee ballot and just walk it over to one the safe drop boxes at all of the polling locations now,” he said during a news conference Tuesday. “So there is a variety of ways to do it in a safe way, if people don't feel comfortable going to the polls."
Sununu said he didn't see a need to impose a statewide mask mandate at polling places, or know if one would be legal. But he said if cities and towns wanted to consider requiring people to wear masks at polling places, it would be their right to do so.
For the state primary and the general election, any voter in New Hampshire may choose to vote by absentee ballot, or go to the polls in person.
- NHPR Staff
Update: Wednesday, Aug. 19, 10:09 a.m.
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission plans to step up enforcement in the Lakes region ahead of next week's 97th Laconia Motorcycle Week.
But many Laconia restaurant owners say they're confident their customers will continue to follow safety guidelines.
"Most everyone has been really good about it," says Cynthia Makris, owner of the NazBar & Grill at the Naswa Resort.
"They understand that this is the only way that restaurants and hotels can remain open. They understand what the guidelines are."
Not at all restaurants are so sure. Laconia's Broken Spoke Saloon is closing for Bike Week because of coronavirus concerns.
- Ava Sasani
Update: Tuesday, August 18, 3:35 p.m.
Gov. Chris Sununu says the state is submitting its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to participate in the “Lost Wages” assistance program, which will provide an additional federal unemployment benefit of $300 weekly.
The program, which President Trump signed by executive order, allows states to opt-in with a 25 percent state match. According to Sununu, if current unemployment recipients are getting $100 a week, that would count toward the match. Those currently receiving less will have their benefits increased to $100 by the state.
Sununu said the program will add $340 million to the state’s economy over the next 22 weeks. The state can participate and cover those receiving benefits at a cost of less than $10 million from the state’s existing unemployment trust fund, Sununu said.
"It now appears we will be able to cover 100% of those currently receiving benefits at a cost of less than $10 million dollars from our current unemployment trust fund," Sununu said.
The state will need to kick in $100 per week per beneficiary. The new boost in benefits will be retroactive to August 1. Learn more about FEMA's Lost Wages supplemental payment assistance.
- NHPR Staff
State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan announced one additional death of a New Hampshire resident today due to COVID-19. The patient was a resident of a long-term care facillity.
There have now been 424 deaths from the corornavoirus in the state since the outbreak began. Three new individuals were also hospitalized for the virus.
Dr. Chan also reported 13 new infections, bringing the state's total to 7,017.
"We continue to see low but persistent transmission in our communities," he said.
- NHPR Staff
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 12:27 p.m.
The state’s economy continues to rebound from the coronavirus shutdown imposed this spring.
New data from New Hampshire Employment Security shows the state added close to 19,000 jobs in June. That helped push the unemployment rate down to 8.1 percent.
The unemployment rate peaked at 17.1 percent in April.
Nearly 40,000 residents have dropped out of the labor force since this time last year, however, meaning they are no longer employed or looking for work.
- Todd Bookman
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 11:59 a.m.
The chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire says a coronavirus testing lab with 12-hour turnaround times should be set up in Durham within a few weeks.
Chancellor Todd Leach joined colleagues from private colleges and the community college system for an online discussion Monday.
Students have begun returning to many campuses this week, and officials said so far the process has gone smoothly. Leach says the in-house lab will handle thousands of tests per day from UNH, Keene State College and Plymouth State University.
Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 11:00 a.m.
New Hampshire announced 16 new positive test results for COVID-19 Monday. The state has averaged around 23 new cases a day for the last week.
Most of the new cases are from the southern half of New Hampshire.
Health officials say community spread is still happening across the state, and people should continue to take precautions to protect themselves or others from getting sick.
- Ava Sasani