Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare

Doctor Ben Chan
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As we begin the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Hampshire, scientists continue to learn more about the virus, and the race to vaccinate people as quickly as possible continues. We talk Monday about the new mask recommendations from the CDC, vaccine development and efficacy, and how to safely transition to in-person learning, work, and life. 

A sign outside King Kone in Merrimack reads: "Dr Fauci Needs You / Wear A Mask"
Emily Quirk, NHPR

After scaling back contact tracing efforts last November amid surging cases, New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services says it has resumed investigating all new COVID-19 infections.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: February 19, 2021

Feb 18, 2021

  How the N.H. Legislature will conduct its business continues to be a point of contention for lawmakers, after Democrats filed a lawsuit to allow legislators with serious health issues to attend next week’s house session remotely. We also discuss how the “covid effect” is impacting school budget funding, and the latest spike in cases on university campuses across the state.

Air date: Friday, February 19, 2021. 

Cheryl Senter / NHPR

People who are incarcerated have been particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks during this pandemic. New Hampshire's state prison system has been managing several outbreaks over the last few months.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

A  New Hampshire House committee wants to give a legislative panel the power to overturn any emergency order issued by the state’s health commissioner.

The proposal cleared the House’s Health and Human Services Committee by a 19-2 vote Monday.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 22, 2021

Jan 21, 2021

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president amid unprecedented security measures in Washington D.C. and at state capitols. State lawmakers in New Hampshire, still adjusting to pandemic logistics, hear public testimony on bills addressing voting issues and public access to police records and disciplinary hearings. And significant community spread of the coronavirus continues in New Hampshire and across the country as the Biden Administration works to ramp up vaccinations and expand testing.

Air date: Friday, Jan. 22, 2021

Healthcare workers get vaccinated outside at a clinic at Elliot Hospital.
Jordyn Haime/NHPR

The Exchange spoke with Dr. Beth Daly, Chief of the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at the N.H. DHHS, Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, and Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, the state deputy epidemiologist, about COVID-19 vaccine access and safety. 

Zoey Knox for NHPR

The majority of inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Street Jail in Manchester are no longer considered infectious and have been cleared from quarantine status.

A spray painted wooded sign for COVID testing.
Dan Barrick/NHPR

We talk about the new, more contagious variant of COVID-19, and what that means for both personal and public health, and we learn more about how the vaccine protects you and others, and have to behave safely before and after vaccination. 

Air date: Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. 

photo of health care workers in scrubs
The National Guard

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state is trending downward, giving hospital staff some relief after seeing record patient numbers during the winter holidays.

photo of vaccine vials

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 (unless they are exiting or entering the prison, or live in transitional housing), 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.