Disability Rights Activists, Poor People's Campaign Protest Sununu's COVID Press Conference | New Hampshire Public Radio

Disability Rights Activists, Poor People's Campaign Protest Sununu's COVID Press Conference

Oct 15, 2020

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

The Crisis Standards of Care plan is meant to provide guidance to healthcare organizations during a public health crisis.

Activists said the current standards are exclusionary to those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, like people with disabilities and people of color. They also want more diversity and representation on the advisory committee.

“We need to know what their plans are. What they’re going to do,” said Debbie Opramolla, an organizer with the Poor People’s Campaign. “The governor mentioned in a forum that there’s only 14 people in the hospital with COVID. That’s not an answer. That tells us you don’t care enough to answer a question. To push hospitals to have a plan.”

The Crisis Standards of Care Medical Advisory Committee has been drafting guidelines since April and a final version has not yet been completed.

Krista Gilbert and her son both live with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that affects their ability to breathe. She says she hasn’t been able to access medication since the pandemic started and hopes new guidelines could address that problem.

“Before this I was easily able to get it on an outpatient basis. So if I needed it I would need to be transferred to an emergency room to get it. So that’s concerning to me,” she said.

Organizers hoped to speak with Sununu before or after the press conference, but he did not stop to talk with activists. Opramolla said organizers have mailed their demands to the governor’s office twice and have not received a response.

“His action says we are insignificant, he doesn’t care, and it’s not going to affect his campaign,” Opramollah said. “I’m not going to say that he’s going to regret it on election day, but I am gonna say we are going to be harder about accountability.”