Coronavirus Coverage | New Hampshire Public Radio

Coronavirus Coverage

Credit Centers for Disease Control

Important links:

For more info on COVID-19 in N.H., visit the N.H. Dep. of Health & Human Services page here

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers sat in their cars on a cold January day and listened to the first legislative session of the year - by tuning into a radio frequency. Even their vehicles were socially distanced, each separated by a parking space, in Wednesday’s "drive-in" style meeting of the New Hampshire House in a UNH parking lot intended to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.

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.

Zoey Knox

At least 102 inmates at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester have tested positive for COVID-19, over half of the jail's entire inmate population. Twenty-seven staff are also now positive with the virus, and more will be tested later this week.

The facility has faced criticism for its handling of COVID-19 protocols – including mask-wearing, test availability, and quarantine procedures.

Governor Sununu photo
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu will give a news conference at today, Jan. 5, about New Hampshire's coronavirus response and the state's COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Listen live on NHPR, streaming online at NHPR.org and on NHPR's mobile apps. Subscribe to NHPR's coronavirus update newsletter for more news.

Watch the conference below in this video livestream, when the press conference begins at 3 p.m.:

New Hampshire Veterans Home

As New Hampshire’s most vulnerable groups continue to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, health officials are working on plans for future steps in the state's vaccination plan.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Things are getting busy again at the New Hampshire State House with the start of the new year. This week, both the Legislature and Gov. Chris Sununu begin new terms against the backdrop of a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. NHPR Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers discussed this with All Things Considered Host Peter Biello.

As lawmakers around the U.S. convene this winter to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, statehouses themselves could prove to be hothouses for infection.

Many legislatures will start the year meeting remotely, but some Republican-controlled statehouses, from Montana to Pennsylvania, plan to hold at least part of their sessions in person, without requiring masks.

Public health officials say that move endangers the safety of other lawmakers, staffers, lobbyists, the public and the journalists responsible for holding politicians accountable.

Screenshot via Facebook

It’s a Saturday evening, the day after Christmas, and public health advocates Nia Smart and Marie-Elizabeth Ramas are getting ready to broadcast live on Facebook from their homes. They’re hoping people will sit down in front of their laptops and engage in a pretty atypical holiday conversation - about vaccines. 

NHPR File

A judge has granted bail to an inmate in Manchester’s Valley Street Jail who tested positive for COVID-19.

The New Year’s Eve order from Hillsborough County Superior Court grants home confinement to 37-year-old William Jones, under his mother’s supervision.

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.

Exactly one year ago today, the World Health Organization first learned of a cluster of a few dozen pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China of "unknown" origin. The cause, of course, would turn out to be the coronavirus behind the current pandemic. Here's a by-the-numbers summary of the toll the virus has taken on countries across the globe since that fateful day.

A New Year's Economic Forecast

Dec 31, 2020
Patrick Patterson places the open flag out in front of the Portsmouth Brewery on April 1, 2020.
Dan Tuohy / NHPR

We look ahead to what 2021 might bring for both New Hampshire's and the national economy. That includes how sectors hit hardest by the pandemic might recover and what's included in Congress's most recent relief package. 

Air date: Monday, January 4, 2021. 

Emily Corwin for NHPR

A judge is considering whether an inmate at Valley Street Jail who has COVID-19 should be released on bail, in light of concerns about the facility's management of health and safety during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple heard over three hours of arguments and testimony on the Manchester jail's COVID-19 protocols. Attorney Elliot Friedman argued those protocols endanger the health and life of his client, William Jones.

Peter Biello, NHPR

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year, NHPR is checking in with some of the people we spoke with early on in the pandemic, to see how things have changed. It’s part of a series we’re calling Hindsight.

Susan Simoneta via Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the pandemic. About 80% of the state’s COVID-related deaths have occurred in those facilities. New legislation proposes to study whether the state should appoint an inspector general for nursing homes.

Oversight of nursing homes falls under the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government also provides oversight.

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.

N.H. House members meeting outside in December, 2020.
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Republican leaders in the New Hampshire House say they're confident that a drive-in style meeting at the University of New Hampshire will provide a safe place for lawmakers to gather next week. But the proposal has elicited criticism from Democrats, who say it doesn’t provide for the health needs of lawmakers with disabilities or underlying health problems that make then susceptible to COVID-19 infection.

Shane Adams via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/OJ5Pe

New Hampshire will receive $200 million for emergency rental assistance as part of the federal government’s new COVID-19 relief bill

Eligible renters will receive assistance to pay for rent and utility payments, and any unpaid utility bills or rent. 

Courtesy Photo

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year, NHPR is checking in with some of the people we spoke with early on in the pandemic, to see how things have changed. It’s part of a series we’re calling "Hindsight.”

Annie Ropeik, NHPR

Plymouth Town Clerk Josie Girona Ewing wants to be clear: She doesn’t do this job for the money. She does it because she wants her neighbors to be able to trust their elections. But living up to that goal in 2020 took a lot of extra effort — and extra hours.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire will begin vaccinating first responders against COVID-19 at 13 sites across the state on Tuesday. 

First responders are part of the state's first phase of vaccine distribution. Health care workers and people associated with long-term care facilities have already begun receiving their shots.

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:

Updated on Dec. 30 at 11:15 a.m. ET

President Trump has signed a major legislative package that includes coronavirus relief and government spending for the next fiscal year.

Just after Congress passed the bill last week — and shortly before Christmas — the president called the measure a "disgrace," in part for not having high enough direct payments to Americans, a move his own party had been against.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Sunday night signed a massive coronavirus relief and spending package, relenting on a measure he had called a "disgrace" days earlier.

The legislation, which combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with government funding through September 2021, was passed by large majorities in both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21 — only to see Trump blindside legislators the next day and blast the bill.

In a statement Sunday night, Trump said lawmakers will pursue some of his sought-after changes.

Updated Sunday at 8:23 a.m. ET

Jobless benefits that were expanded for millions of Americans earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic ran out on Saturday, as President Trump renewed his criticism of a recently passed $900 billion relief package that includes an extension of federal unemployment assistance.

N.H. State House
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired several new bills proposed for the coming legislative session. 

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.

COURTESY LAURIE MCGOWAN

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. 

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Attorneys say the state's largest jail is keeping them in the dark on how it is managing COVID-19 risk and potential cases among its inmates and staff. 

A resident at the New Hampshire Veterans Home receives the COVID-19 vaccine
New Hampshire Veterans Home

COVID-19 vaccines have arrived at New Hampshire's long-term care facilities and are beginning to roll out, after some concern about minimal communication and scheduling issues.

Long-term care facilities are getting their vaccines through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Nursing homes in New Hampshire have been particularly hard hit, with 79 percent of the state's deaths occurring at long term care facilities, the highest rate in the country.

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