Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare


New Hampshire health providers say they're going to need more federal and state help when it comes to vaccinating the general public.

Zoey Knox / NHPR

Rey DeJesus has been at Valley Street Jail since February, awaiting a trial for felony charges. He and his wife Krystal DeJesus talk on the phone every day, and a few weeks ago, he called to say people in the jail were getting sick.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Students, teachers and school staff in New Hampshire now have prioritized access to COVID-19 testing. The state says close to two dozen hospitals and outpatient practices across the state will give priority appointments within 24 hours to members of school communities who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Jason Moon

Earlier this week, New Hampshire health officials announced more details about the next stage of the state's vaccine plan, which they say will begin in mid- or late-January. But many are awaiting further information that they hope will clarify the available guidance.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

For almost a week, COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Hampshire have hovered above 300 people, more than double the peak seen in the spring.

 COVID-19 has proven to be more deadly than the seasonal flu, but over the past year, we’ve learned about significant long term impacts of the virus, both on those who are hospitalized and those with milder cases, including breathing issues, extreme fatigue, and neurological and psychological symptoms. We discuss what we know, and don’t know, about living with the impacts of COVID-nineteen long after infection.

Air date: Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord. As of Thursday, the state says there are 49 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates and another 16 among staff. The men say they have very little ability to social distance, and because New Hampshire’s prisons only test inmates with symptoms and those who have been in contact with positive cases, they’re worried the virus will spread unchecked.

December has been the deadliest month of the pandemic in New Hampshire. The state reported more than 200 deaths this month so far, and the number of people hospitalized remains more than double where it stood before Thanksgiving. Other states in New England have also seen a surge in COVID-19, leading governors to implement new restrictions in an effort to flatten the curve.

But so far, Gov. Chris Sununu has resisted similar measures in New Hampshire.

Wikimedia Commons

An estimated $2 billion is headed to New Hampshire for COVID-related relief efforts. The money comes from the emergency coronavirus relief package that President Trump signed into law Sunday. 

Here’s how some of that money will be spent:

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.

Administration of vaccines outside Elliot Hospital.
Jordyn Haime / NHPR

With the first recently-approved vaccine for Covid-19 arriving this week in New Hampshire, we talk with epidemiologists about plans for the vaccine within New Hampshire, and answer your questions about vaccine logistics and access, the latest information about the virus, and how the state is managing the rise in cases. 

Air date: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. 

courtesy photo

The minute Peter Rosasco walked into Green Mountain Treatment Center in Effingham, he knew there would be problems.

“It was just a ticking time bomb, that place,” Rosasco said.

This excerpt from New Hampshire's vaccine distribution planning documents outlines the groups first in line to receive the vaccine.

New Hampshire is set to receive its first shipment of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, and one local health care system says it could begin inoculating its frontline workers by Wednesday.

New Hampshire hospitals are seeing more COVID-19 patients than at any other point in the pandemic. As of Thursday morning, 248 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide, according to the latest numbers from the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Another 39 patients suspected of having COVID-19, though not yet confirmed, were also admitted on top of that.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

A coronavirus outbreak continues to grow inside the New Hampshire State Prison for Men in Concord.

Twenty-one cases of COVID-19 are now confirmed in the general inmate population, and over 160 of the inmates are now in quarantine.

The Department of Correction says 16 staff at the prison are not coming into work after having recently tested positive, and that members of the National Guard are being trained for positions at the prison to ensure it remains properly staffed.

Jeff Lightizer had no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Aside from getting into a few bad car accidents, he was a perfectly healthy 59-year-old man who says he never smoked, and only indulged in the occasional beer. He was happy with his life as it was, crossing the border each morning from his home in Plaistow, to work at a manufacturing company in Massachusetts.

When the pandemic hit, Lightizer did everything the experts recommended.

The Logistics of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dec 9, 2020
Utah Public Radio

We discuss the COVID-19 vaccines. With three now awaiting authorization in the U.S., we explore which populations might be vaccinated first, when that might occur, and how vaccines will be distributed. 

Air date: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. 

New Hampshire's hospitals and long-term care facilities are preparing to get their most vulnerable staff and residents vaccinated soon.

The past few weeks have taken a heavy toll on the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. More than 20 veterans have died of COVID-19 there since mid-November, with several more still sick. All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Commandant Peggy Labrecque of the New Hampshire Veterans Home about the situation there.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

State health officials announced seven new institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 in New Hampshire Thursday, and warned that rising caseloads in the broader community are driving higher death rates among vulnerable populations in group living settings.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said that 16 people have died of COVID-19 over the past two days, the majority of them residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes.

A  microscopic image of the first case of COVID-19 in America.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC

As Moderna and Pfizer apply for emergency FDA approval of their COVID-19 vaccines, New Hampshire is making more plans for distribution. But the state still lacks what experts say is a key tool in that distribution process: an immunization registry.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

One of the largest providers of substance use disorder treatment in New Hampshire is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. At least 27 clients and staff of Granite Recovery Centers have tested positive since Saturday, according to a statement from CEO Eric Spofford.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As high demand for COVID-19 tests continues beyond the long holiday weekend, some sites are looking to expand their testing capacity. 

Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth usually tests 65 to 70 people per day, and has had a full schedule for the past two weeks.

A  microscopic image of the first case of COVID-19 in America.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC

Trials for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate are currently being held in Portsmouth.

ActivMed Research in Portsmouth currently has 500 volunteers who will get the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being developed at Oxford University and was recently found to be 90 percent effective in late-stage trials.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Update November 19, 2020: Governor Sununu has announced a statewide mask mandate, effective November 20. Local ordinances supercede the statewide mandate and penalties still apply where applicable. We will continue to update the map as local ordinances are passed.

For more on this story, click here.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Many in New Hampshire are choosing to travel or get together with family this Thanksgiving, despite state and federal guidance to the contrary – and the demand for COVID-19 tests is increasing as a result.

That has meant longer wait times for a test, and for results, according to local health officials.

Josh Rogers | NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu imposed a statewide mask mandate effective Friday, the state’s most sweeping response to the coronavirus pandemic in months. The policy came the same day that New Hampshire health officials announced a record for new daily COVID-19 infections in the state.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As COVID-19 cases surge in New Hampshire, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan and Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask or face covering to stop potential exposure to the virus. 

The Exchange interviewed them Wednesday. Here are some highlights of that conversation. You can listen to the full discussion here. 

Allison Quantz for NHPR

Last week, after reports of delays in contact tracing and schools beginning to do their own, top state health officials announced New Hampshire would scale back its contact tracing efforts to focus on populations most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Worker at Hannaford in Exeter behind a protective shield.
Annie Ropeik; NHPR

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise around the country and New Hampshire, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, we talk with state epidemiologists about testing, contact tracing, vaccines, and how to stay safe, and protect others, this winter. 

7 Takeaways From NHPR's Conversation with Dr. Chan and Dr. Talbot on Masks, Testing, & Vaccine News

This program aired Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Click here to read all of NHPR's coronavirus coverage.