Coronavirus Coverage - Communities and Helpers | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Communities and Helpers

Sarah Gibson | NHPR

A year ago, people flocked to vacation towns in states like New Hampshire to flee COVID-19. For some, it was just a brief escape. But others settled into a rural lifestyle.

The question now is how long these newcomers are going to stay.

June Gallup, of Cornerstone VNA, filling out the vaccine information for 83-year-old Audrey Moores, in Moores' home in Farmington.
Erika Lee / Cornerstone VNA

The state has managed two mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics in recent weeks at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, a site all about efficiency and scale. But there are sectors of the population that are much harder to reach. That includes many homebound residents. 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Thousands of Granite Staters flocked this weekend to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, a setting accustomed to lots of cars and eager crowds, for a different kind of gathering.

A special category in this year's Governor's Arts Awards will recognize innovative solutions created during the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is seeking nominations for the arts awards, which are given every other year.

Swimming dock

New Hampshire's summer camp operators are seeking updated guidance by March 1 in preparation for their next season.

Only four of the state's 95 overnight summer camps opened last summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Billy Brown / Flickr

Ten months into the pandemic, many people are still struggling to find employment and make ends meet. But, there's an unexpected resource for some of New Hampshire's Colombian residents. 

On Wednesday, members of the Colombian consulate in Boston will make their way to Manchester to give $84 Market Basket gift cards - along with nutrition guides - to 20 people.

A typical Christmas celebration at Hanover Terrace Health and Rehabilitation includes lots of carolers, a buffet, and a hug-filled holiday party.

But because of the pandemic, Christmas celebrations will be quieter this year.


2020 has been a more eventful year than any of us could have imagined. And it can be hard to even remember all of the events that took place in the news in light of all of the changes we made in our lives: vacations cancelled, schools closed, jobs lost, holidays spent without family.

As part of NHPR’s year-end series, Hindsight, we asked our audience to tell us how their lives have changed due to COVID-19, what they learned, and what their silver linings have been during what has been a tough year for so many of us. 

Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

Christmas Eve services across New Hampshire will look different on Thursday. Some churches will have virtual gatherings.

Others, like St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Hopkinton, plan on a socially distanced outdoor service, with a reenactment of the Christmas story.  

The solstice on December twenty-first brought us the official start of winter. To help keep you going through the holidays and the shorter days of this season, The Exchange brings you inspiration from our discussion with outdoor enthusiasts about continuing to exercising safely, and maybe even picking up a new activity. Plus, we hear from the Mount Washington Observatory, on how summit observers stay fit at the "home of the world's worst weather."

Airdate: Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020: Originally aired Dec. 9, 2020

Sean Hurley

At the summer meeting of the New England Santa Claus Society there was talk that this might be a year without Santa Claus. At least at the malls and stores.  And while many Santas opted to go virtual and the Kris Kringle business is way down, NHPR’s Sean Hurley says you can still find a Santa here or there, socially distanced, wearing a mask, likely behind a plexiglass wall.

The New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton is experiencing one of the deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state.  As of December 15th, 35 veterans there have died since November 10th. 

Many more are infected, and staff who have been exposed are quarantining to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Courtesy of First Congregational Church

The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness is repurposing a historic church on Main Street into an emergency winter shelter and resource center.

The expansion comes as shelters across the state struggle to balance demand with strict social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols.

“Our existing shelter was built with the idea of efficiently serving as many people as possible: one big room with wall to wall beds,” says Ellen Groh, the director of the coalition. “It was the opposite of social distancing.”

courtesy of the Tamworth Community Nurse Association

2020 has been a tough year, and as we approach the end, NHPR is checking in with people we spoke with early on in the pandemic to see how they're holding up, and what they've learned. It's part of a series we're calling Hindsight.

How To Stay Active in a Coronavirus Winter

Dec 8, 2020

The winter solstice on December 21 brings us our shortest day and longest night of the year, marking the official start of winter. With the pandemic making gyms and team sports difficult, many people took up walking, running or biking to stay active. But now it’s cold and dark outside, we talk with outdoor enthusiasts about how to continue exercising safely in winter, and maybe even pick up a new sport. And we visit the "home of the world's worst weather," the Mt. Washington Observatory, to find out how summit observers cope.

Airdate: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020

Earlier this summer, the state of New Hampshire allocated about $14 million dollars in federal CARES Act funding to projects that would provide high speed internet to underserved communities across the state.

With the December 15 fast approaching, some towns say they should be done with their projects just under the wire.

“It’s gonna be a close one,” said Nik Coates, Bristol’s town administrator. Bristol requested about $2 million to build out 24 miles of fiber internet to about 400 residences.

Shane Adams via Flickr/CC -

Evictions in New Hampshire have been steady and relatively low since the state and federal moratorium on evictions ended this summer.

In the past month, there’s been a weekly average of about 50 evictions. That’s about a third lower than the weekly number of evictions happening prior to the pandemic, according to Elliott Berry, an attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

NHPR Photo

John Burns says the drastic drop in the amount of people coming into his three recovery centers in Dover, Rochester, and Hampton for help worries him. Burns is director of the SOS Recovery Community Organization.

“I think they're afraid of physical contact. I don't know how they're doing – but I can guess. And the isolation is a problem.”

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

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

An absentee ballot is placed into a white box.
Natalie Allen / Edgewood Centre

In the past six years, Kristen Gauthier, a resident relations manager at the Edgewood Centre in Portsmouth, would maybe get a handful of calls or emails from residents about voting.

But this year’s been different.

Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

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

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

Courtesy of Dan Goonan

Manchester officials and the state are once again sparring over how to fund homelessness response efforts in the city.

Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is open again - with safety measures in place - and some new plans to reach out to different communities. The museum was recently awarded more than $700,000 in CARES Act funding to expand an art therapy program for veterans.

Alan Chong, director of the museum, joined NHPR's Peter Biello to talk about that and other new projects there.

Note: The transcript below was machine-generated and may contain minor errors.

wikimedia commons

Some long-term care facilities are slowly reopening to allow visits from family members, recognizing that residents have been suffering both emotionally and physically after months of isolation.  The facilities have been doing so according to guidelines released recently by the state, as well as by federal authorities. 

Still, it can be a precarious balancing act: Allowing more people in – especially when adequate testing is lacking – can mean introducing the virus.  

Susan Simoneta via Flickr CC

New Hampshire's high death rate from COVID-19 in elder-care facilities has exposed gaps in protective gear, testing, and staffing. Improvements have come in some areas but challenges remain. Meanwhile, both the state and federal government recently issued new visitation guidelines to help ease the severe mental and physical health effects of isolation. We examine how these facilities are preparing for this change.

Air date: Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

After I shared my family's experience in trying to care for my 92-year-old grandmother in the pandemic, I wanted to know: How do we help older people feel safe and comfortable — and happy — in these times?

Flikr Creative Commons / Grumpy-Puddin

Some New Hampshire recovery centers say they are dealing with a lapse in funds as the state waits to receive more federal money.  

An official from the Department of Health and Human Services says the state applied for a national State Opioid Response grant in May. Now, they’re waiting for at least $28.1 million from the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. 

This funding provides support to 16 recovery centers in the state. 

Josh Rogers | NHPR

A religious tent revival expected to draw hundreds of out-of-staters to New Ipswich over the next week got underway over the weekend. State and local officials raised public health alarms about the gathering, but the revival goers were inconspicuous in New Ipswich on Sunday.

Dmoore5556 / Creative Commons

A continuación, lee las noticias de New Hampshire y también, una conversación que tuvimos con la Dra.Trinidad Tellez, directora de la oficina de la equidad en salud, sobre el efecto desproporcionado de la pandemia en las comunidades de color y el rol de los trabajadores comunitarios de salud.

También puedes escuchar las noticias y la entrevista en el siguiente audio. 

Sean Hurley

The Plymouth Selectboard will host a town-wide zoom hearing Monday evening on a proposed ordinance mandating face coverings in town. Over the weekend, on the town common, an anti-mask mandate protest was held. NHPR’s Sean Hurley was there. 

Update: Plymouth's Select Board voted for the mask mandate on August 10. Click here for that story.