Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage - Health and Healthcare

LRGHealthcare Facebook Page

In the middle of March, LRGHealthcare — already drowning in debt — added more stones to its pockets. To prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus patients, the parent company of Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia and Franklin Regional Hospital was forced to cancel all of its elective procedures.

Laura Byrne / HIV/HCV Resource Center

Many once face-to-face interactions have moved online during COVID-19, including for people who are in recovery from a substance use disorder.

But the pandemic has also introduced challenges to providing treatment in a time of social distancing. 

Laura Byrne has been spending more time driving around the Upper Valley these days. 

She’s been meeting clients for a mobile syringe exchange.  With COVID-19, the organization Byrne leads - the HIV/HCV resource center - had to ramp up its mobile services. 

Todd Selig

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the Granite State, and questions remain about resources, safety, and the longevity of stay-at-home orders, we talk with state epidemiologists to get the latest recommendations and information about the coronavirus pandemic. 

Air date: Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

Courtesy Cristin Zaimes

For some healthcare providers in New Hampshire, the COVID-19 pandemic has jump-started a move to something they’ve wanted for years: more telemedicine. 

But the state's insurance system has been slow to catch up - and it's still unclear if it can last. 

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In preparation for a potential surge of coronavirus patients, hospitals around the state cancelled elective procedures and closed down or limited other wings of their facilities.

Hospital emergency rooms remain open, but patients, even those with serious health conditions, don’t seem to be using them. 

NHPR's Rick Ganley spoke with Dr. Mary Valvano, chief of emergency medicine at Portsmouth Regional, about what she's seen in her ER.

Emily Quirk/NHPR

New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities continue to grapple with outbreaks of COVID-19, as state officials say newly revised testing standards should make it easier to identify coronavirus infections and act quickly before they spread.

Alan Mountjoy

New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette says there are a handful of people in the state's homeless population who have either tested positive for or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

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Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A new program to provide extra pay for workers at long-term care facilities could cost the state of New Hampshire as much as $30 million a month.

Governor Chris Sununu gave lawmakers that estimate Wednesday during the first meeting of a new legislative advisory board on the state's COVID-19 response.

The stipends will come from the state's general fund at first, but Sununu says the state has also applied for a waiver to replenish that money with federal tax dollars.

Courtesy of Caly Duquette

Many businesses across New Hampshire are closed right now because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But some are busier than ever.

Birthing centers are in that last group. The small, midwife-led facilities are getting inundated with calls from expectant parents. The new patients say they’re concerned that the hospital will no longer be a safe place to deliver their baby so they’re looking to change their birth plan.

But all this new attention is putting a strain on midwives as they try to maintain a more personalized birth experience.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As the number of coronavirus-related deaths at New Hampshire nursing homes continues to rise, state officials are instituting new policies they say will limit future infections at long-term care facilities, which have proven particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.


Health care workers in New Hampshire are at the center of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Patients rely on them, hospitals scramble to buy gear to protect them, and citizens laud them as heroes in this national crisis.

But what is it like be a health care worker right now? NHPR’s Jason Moon reports the experience of working on the front lines during this pandemic can be complicated.

Credit Dank Depot via Flickr CC /

New Hampshire's medical marijuana program is extending the renewal deadline for patients whose medical cards expire over the next three months.

The announcement coming out today is in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sean Hurley

On March 7, the Plymouth State University hockey team defeated UMass Dartmouth 6 to 2. A little more than a month later, a collaborative effort between PSU, Speare Memorial Hospital, the Public Health Network and the National Guard has turned the Savage Ice Arena into a supplementary COVID-19 ward for the hospital. NHPR’s Sean Hurley visited the site earlier this week and sends us this. 

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Josh Rogers

Gov. Chris Sununu announced new measures Monday to slow the spread of the coronavirus in New Hampshire, as newly-released testing results reveal the toll the disease is taking on the state's healthcare workers.

Courtesy of Katie Rivera

Katie Rivera is scared. She’s 38 weeks pregnant, sitting in her car in a doctor’s office parking lot. She’s far enough along now that she’s supposed to see her doctor every week.

She used to like these appointments - they were calming. She’d bring her 2-year-old Elle, the nurses would give Elle stickers - it was nice. 

But now, Elle’s not allowed. Katie is waiting until the last possible second to go in there, to minimize any potential exposure.

Health care workers in New England are facing incredible challenges on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, from long hours and dangerous conditions to shifting public policies.


Correctional facilities across the state are releasing some inmates accused or convicted of non-violent crimes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within jail populations.


Social distancing is nearly impossible to maintain in jails or prisons, corrections officials say, and some inmates could be at risk for serious or life-threatening symptoms from the coronavirus. So prisons and jails  have taken to freeing up space in their facilities when possible.



New Hampshire is one of the country’s oldest states - and many seniors here are doing whatever they can to avoid leaving the house. 

Public health experts warn that elderly people are among the most at-risk for developing serious illness or dying from the coronavirus.

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But as NHPR’s Jason Moon reports, that’s exacerbating a problem that’s already present for many seniors – a sense of isolation.

Face masks
Centers for Disease Control

As communities prepare for an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases, local police, fire and EMT responders are making due with a dwindling supply of protective gear to limit their own exposure.

But with personal protective equipment in short supply nationwide, some departments say they will have to alter their response plans to protect their staff.  

Wikimedia Commons

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout New Hampshire, communities are shutting down and people are isolated as they practice social distancing.

But in Tamworth, a group of nurses is working to keep their community connected through this pandemic.

NHPR's Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Jo Anne Rainville, the executive director of the Tamworth Community Nurse Association, which provides free medical care and counseling to people in town.

(Editor's note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)


Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health is seeking donations of personal protective equipment for its healthcare providers. The hospital system is looking for more hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves as it prepares for an influx of patients with COVID-19. 

Click here for our live coronavirus blog for more New Hampshire updates


Testing capacity for coronavirus in New Hampshire is beginning to increase as the state and commercial testing providers ramp up their operations.

But as the number of available tests becomes less of an issue, other challenges to widespread testing in New Hampshire are likely to emerge.

Tomasz Sienicki/Wikimedia Commons

As hospitals take steps to prepare for a wider outbreak of coronavirus in New Hampshire, industry experts say the virus will take a toll on their balance sheets.

Geoff Forester / Concord Monitor

Health care providers across New Hampshire are adjusting to a new coronavirus reality. They’re also preparing for an even bleaker possible future – one that includes a surge in patients requiring critical care as the virus continues to spread.

From the state’s biggest hospitals, to community health centers, to local doctors’ offices, medical facilities in New Hampshire are taking dramatic steps to keep their patients, and their employees, safe from the coronavirus.

As of Thursday morning (March 12), New Hampshire public health officials had tested 100 people for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Tests for 21 other people were pending.

Exactly who gets tested in New Hampshire is driven by CDC guidelines meant to preserve a limited testing supply for those who are most at risk of having been infected.

But the current process is leaving a lot of sick New Hampshire residents frustrated and their medical providers confused.