Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare

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

New Hampshire has filed its draft plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States were required to send their draft vaccine plans last week.

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said the plan is still in draft form and is subject to change. State health officials are awaiting feedback on the plan from the CDC.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire has more than doubled over the past two weeks, from 500 to over 1,000 infections, a number almost five times higher than the number of cases in the beginning of September.

The National Guard

Positive COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire are becoming harder to investigate and manage, state health officials say.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

With hundreds of thousands of rapid COVID-19 antigen testing supplies slated to arrive in the coming months, the state says it will now include those results in its daily coronavirus testing figures.

Live From Home: Pandemic Mental Health & Self-Care

Sep 3, 2020
The Exchange

In the fourth and final event in our Live From Home series, The Exchange talked with three mental health specialists about how the pandemic and other stressors of 2020 are impacting our mental health in the every day, and in the long term. We talked about how existing trauma may be exacerbated, and the ways in which people can cope and build resiliency. 

Scroll down to listen to the broadcast version of the show, or watch the video of the full program. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress or contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, call the N.H. Domestic Violence Hotline at 866-644-3574.

Air date: Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Updated, Sept. 1, 2020  

New Hampshire is the only state in the region without a statewide mask mandate. Citing coronavirus transmission concerns, several New Hampshire communities have decided to require that face coverings be worn in public.

Despite a foothold in medicine that predates Hippocrates himself, the traditional physical exam might be on the verge of extinction. The coronavirus crisis has driven more routine medical appointments online, accelerating a trend toward telemedicine that has already been underway.

Dan Tuohy; NHPR

As we head into fall, K-12 and college students and staff prepare for the new school year. Meanwhile, large events, from bike rallies to weddings, across the country and in New England, have been linked to outbreaks, as summer tourism reaches a peak in New Hampshire. We talk with epidemiologists about where we are now, with testing, tracing, and preparedness, and how to stay safe this fall. 

Air date: Thursday, August 27, 2020. 

The Food and Drug Administration has given the green light to expand the use of blood plasma in treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

The emergency use authorization announced Sunday involves convalescent plasma — taking antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19. That plasma is then given to patients currently sick in hopes that the antibodies will help fight off the disease.

CDC.gov

State health officials said this week that they're prepared for a likely increase in demand for coronavirus contact tracing as schools and colleges reopen this fall. This process involves finding out exactly who an infected person might have exposed to a communicable disease. 

Gov. Chris Sununu has described New Hampshire's contact tracing program as one of the best in the country. But the state hasn't shared many details on the program until now. 

NH.gov/COVID19

Newly released state data shows Black women in New Hampshire have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, echoing patterns seen across the country in the last few months of the pandemic. 

Losses Mount For N.H. Hospitals As COVID-19 Disrupts Healthcare Industry

Aug 10, 2020

New Hampshire hospitals have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to COVID-19. Now, they may have to make cuts.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The coronavirus pandemic has both helped and hurt when it comes to New Hampshire's longstanding problem of psychiatric patients waiting in emergency rooms for inpatient beds.

Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Several New Hampshire towns will vote this week on whether to require residents to wear face masks in public. The votes come as New Hampshire remains the only state in the region without a statewide mask mandate.

NHPR

An emergency stipend program meant to address the staffing crisis at New Hampshire's long-term care facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic lapsed at the end of last week.

But advocates say the need for the stipends is still acute, as facilities across the state struggle to hire and retain the workers they need to adequately care for their residents.

Shifting Household Dynamics In A Pandemic

Jul 30, 2020
Cori Princell; NHPR

The coronavirus pandemic has forced everyone indoors, where we're in much closer quarters with our families, spouses, and roommates. Without external escapes, daily annoyances can become exasperating and tensions can run high. We chat about how we can address the shifting dynamics in our households and better communicate with each other. For those that live alone, we discuss the ways that isolation can impact us and how to find community remotely. 

Air date: Thursday, July 30, 2020.

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.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Now that everyday activities, like traveling, going to the grocery store, or spending time in public spaces, carry the additional risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, we talk about how we perceive these risks and make decisions about them... and how personal experience, demographics, and politics play into our choices about safety. 

This is the first of four virtual events as part of "The Exchange Live From Home." It happened live on Tuesday, July 21st at 7 p.m. Find information about other events here

Air date: Thursday, July 23, 2020

PEXELS

Governor Chris Sununu has signed a bill that makes permanent some parts of the expanded telehealth system put in place for COVID-19.

The bill requires equal insurance coverage for medical visits done remotely and in person, including for Medicaid users.

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It also adds parameters for telehealth to state law, including spelling out where and how treatment can be given and received. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire's long-term care ombudsman is sounding the alarm about the harm that prolonged isolation is inflicting on residents of the state's long-term care facilities.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is an anti-overdose drug.
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

A new survey shows that income for substance use treatment and recovery providers in the state has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As scientists study the burden of COVID-19 around the globe, it's pretty clear that despite some cases of serious illness, kids tend to get infected with the coronavirus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults.

"It seems consistently, children do have lower rates of infection than adults," says Dr. Alison Tribble, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Donald Trump’s rally scheduled for Saturday in New Hampshire will take place amid a debate about political events and public health. And it comes as much of the country sees a surge in the number of coronavirus cases. 

Josh Rogers/NHPR

As businesses reopen and people increase their travel and navigate the summer, we talk with our state epidemiologists about the current spread of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, and the latest information about the virus.  We also talk about risk assessment as the pandemic continues. 

Click here for all of NHPR's coverage on the coronavirus

 Air date: Thursday, July 9, 2020. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Hospitals in New Hampshire say without more money from the state to offset huge losses from responding to the coronavirus they could be in serious financial trouble within the next few months.

Steve Ahnen with the New Hampshire Hospital Association told the Legislative Advisory Board of the Governor’s Office For Emergency Relief and Recovery on Wednesday that hospitals in the state have lost more than $530 million in revenue since March.

Daniela Allee, NHPR

Update, June 26: Nashua's Division of Public Health has moved its testing site to the parking lot of the Nashua Public Library as of Thursday, June 25. Tests will continue every Thursday there from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Since early May, health worker Lisa Vasquez has spent most of her Thursday afternoons in the parking lot of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga Church in Nashua — which, at 3 p.m. on those days, transforms into a COVID-19 testing site.

Dan Tuohy /NHPR

COVID-19 is altering nearly every aspect of how we live—from the ways we shop, educate our children, work and exercise, to how we access health care and connect with loved ones.

The pandemic also appears to be altering the patterns of how and where people die in New Hampshire, sometimes in unexpected ways.

New federal data reinforces the stark racial disparities that have appeared with COVID-19: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with the disease at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.

Despite the lack of dine-in customers for nearly two and half long months during the shutdown, Darrell Loo of Waldo Thai stayed busy.

Loo is the bar manager for the popular restaurant in Kansas City, Mo., and he credits increased drinking and looser liquor laws during the pandemic for his brisk business. Alcohol also seemed to help his customers deal with all the uncertainty and fear.

"Drinking definitely was a way of coping with it," says Loo. "People did drink a lot more when it happened. I, myself, did drink a lot more."

The National Institutes of Health has halted its study of hydroxychloroquine, a drug President Donald Trump has promoted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 and once claimed to be taking himself.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the agency said that although it did not appear hydroxychloroquine caused harm to patients in the study, it was also "very unlikely to be beneficial."

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