Coronavirus Update: N.H. Reports 58 New COVID-19 Infections, 1 New Hospitalization | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19

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The latest numbers in New Hampshire

Scroll down to our live blog for more COVID-19 news and the latest updates.

The most recent update from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services on Sept. 5: 

  • 0 new deaths reported. 
  • 58 new cases reported.
  • The state’s total case number stands at 7,424.
  • The state’s total COVID-19 deaths total 432.

Click here for NHPR’s COVID-19 tracker for case and trend data in N.H.

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58 new infections, 1 new hospitalization

Update: Saturday, Sept. 5, 5:31 p.m.

The state announced 58 new infections and one new coronavirus hospitalization on Saturday. No new deaths were reported.

Of the new cases, 17 people had no identified risk factor, indicating community-based transmission. There are 250 current cases and nine current hospitalizations.

Sixteen of the new cases are from Strafford County, and nine from Rockingham County. Other geographic breakouts, reported by the state: 11 from Manchester, five each from Hillsborough and Merrimack counties, three from Grafton County, and one each from Carroll and Cheshire counties. The state was still trying to determine the county for seven of the cases.

– NHPR Staff

Supreme Court resuming in-person oral arguments

Update: Saturday, Sept. 5, 8:15 a.m.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court is resuming in-person oral arguments on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and some criminal trials and some hearings also are going to be conducted in person, according to new orders related to the coronavirus pandemic issued Friday.

In-person proceedings in the courts remain limited through Monday, Sept. 28.

The court said criminal trials, delinquency/CHINS adjudicatory hearings, child support enforcement hearings, and termination of parental rights hearings will be conducted in person. Additionally, the superior court is conducting some in-person hearings if lawyers show the need for them.

Following a successful pilot jury trial in Cheshire County, one criminal jury trial in each of the following counties will be held in October: Strafford, Hillsborough North, Belknap, and Cheshire. Virtual status conference hearings are also being held in civil cases to keep them on track, the court said.

Circuit courts will require all landlords seeking to evict tenants to file an affidavit that their respective case meets a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exemption in order for the eviction proceeding to move forward

– AP 

23 new infections; 1 new hospitalization

Update: Friday, Sept. 4, 3:54 p.m.

State health officials announced 23 new infections and one new hospitalization on Friday. There were no new deaths reported.

The new cases bring the overall confirmed coronavirus caseload to 7,368 since the outbreak began. Of that total, 6,727 have recovered, and there were 209 current cases Sept. 4, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

There were nine residents in the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 on Friday.

– NHPR Staff

Governor says primary election should go smoothly

Update: Friday, Sept. 4, 10:50 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says he’s confident state and local election officials have taken the steps needed to run a smooth election during Tuesday’s state primary. But he says voters should confirm details given the circumstances.

COVID-19 Voting Guide: How To Vote in N.H.’s Elections During the Pandemic

“Because of COVID you could see some different times and some different processes in your polling location,” he said. “So by all means check on the polling locations and the times. You can check with your towns or even with the secretary of state’s office as well.”

Sununu said some polling places have extended their hours to reduce lines. Sununu has said he plans to vote in person, and urged all voters who choose that option, or choose to drop off an absentee ballot at the polls, to wear a mask.

– NHPR Staff

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Sununu says N.H. will be ready when a vaccine is available

Update: Thursday, Sept. 3, 4:01 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire will be ready when the federal government makes a coronavirus vaccine available for states. The CDC has asked states to prepare for possible vaccine distribution by the end of October.

The governor said the state does not anticipate regulatory processes or challenges, but that it’s in a position to address those questions as they arise.

“Given the network that the federal government is looking to use to get us the vaccine, we don’t anticipate having to expedite a whole lot of licensing,” he said.

The big questions are how much will be available, and when – and how quickly the distribution will arrive, he said. The state would also assess directing vaccines to priority areas and populations, a process that would take months, not weeks.

The federal government has Nov. 1 as a target date. Sununu says he anticipates it could be late 2020, or early 2021.

Asked at a news conference today about the process, both distribution and timing, being political, the governor responded, “I don’t see it being politicized at all.”

– NHPR Staff

41 new COVID-19 cases reported in New Hampshire

Update: Thursday, September 3, 3:10 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials announced 41 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday. No new deaths were reported. The state’s death toll from the virus stands at 432.

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Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette also announced the closure of an outbreak at one of the state’s long-term care facilities, Evergreen Place in Manchester. The Mountain View Nursing Home in Ossipee is currently the only residential facility in the state experiencing an outbreak.

– NHPR Staff

15 new cases, no new hospitalizations

Update: Wednesday, Sept. 2, 7:47 p.m.

State health officials announced 15 new infections from COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing New Hampshire’s total confirmed cases to 7,309 since the outbreak began. There are 224 current cases, as of Sept. 2, at 9 a.m.

The state reported no new deaths and no new deaths on Wednesday. Hospitalizations remain in the single digits – at nine.

– NHPR Staff

State has new guidance document for school reopening

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 3:11 p.m.

State health officials today unveiled a new guidance document for New Hampshire schools as they return to class.

Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said the state will be monitoring the number of infections and the number of possible clusters in schools. It is not, he said, meant to direct schools on how to reopen.

The state has the ability to monitor school absenteeism, based on a system in place since 2009 in which schools report the percentage of students absent. Chan said schools can take a more- or less- restrictive approach to state guidance.

The state also launched its COVID-19 schools dashboard Tuesday to publicize transmission metrics, cases, and trends statewide.

State Responds to New Outbreak

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced a new outbreak at a long-term care facility. At Mountain View Community, a nursing home in Ossipee, one resident and four staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

The state continues to monitor outbreaks at Evergreen Place, an assisted living facility in Manchester, and at the Rockingham County jail.

– NHPR Staff

The state’s COVID-19 news conference is continuing this afternoon in Concord. This post will be updated with additional information.

Concord council votes for mask ordinance

Update: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 10:01 a.m.

Concord’s city council has approved a mask mandate requiring people to wear face coverings in certain buildings.

The council voted nearly unanimously in favor of the mandate Monday night. It applies to businesses – primarily retail stores – and city government buildings.

It does not apply to restaurants, health clubs or other places where the governor has already issued guidance. Face coverings will not be required for children under the age of 5.

The penalty for noncompliance will initially be a warning and a $15 fine for every subsequent offense.

In Manchester, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are considering a mask requirement – and Exeter is debating a draft ordinance for the same.

– Mary McIntyre

Nursing Homes to Get $11 Million

New Hampshire will receive an additional $11 million in federal funds to bolster the state’s nursing homes, as they work to contain COVID-19.

The money was announced by the state’s congressional delegation this weekend. It will be used to hire and train additional staff at nursing homes, as well as acquire PPE and other supplies.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been at the epicenter of the state’s coronavirus caseloads and fatalities.

22 new cases reported in New Hampshire Monday

Update: Monday, August 31, 4:20 p.m.

There are 22 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire, the state reported Monday. New Hampshire’s case total is now 7,275.

No new deaths were reported, and no new hospitalizations were reported.

– NHPR Staff

9 new cases reported Sunday

Update: Sunday, August 30, 2:05 p.m. 

New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services reported nine new COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire.

The state reported no new death, and no new hospitalizations. So far, 432 Granite Staters have died from the virus.

– NHPR Staff

30 new cases, 1 new hospitalizations Saturday

Update: Saturday, Aug. 29, 4:36 p.m.

The state announced 30 new infections Saturday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 7,246. The current caseload is at 243.

No new deaths were reported. There was one new hospitalization, but the number of current hospitalizations statewide is down to seven.

Four of the new cases are residents under 18. The state’s breakdown of where the new cases are: Manchester, eight; Rockingham County, eight; Hillsborough County, six; Cheshire County, four; and Belknap and Merrimack counties have two cases each.

– NHPR Staff

N.H. has 1 additional death, 35 new cases

Update: Friday, Aug. 28, 6:01 p.m.

State health officials announced a woman from Hillsborough County, who was 60 or older, died Friday due to COVID-19. There have been 432 residents who have died from the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

The state also reported 35 new infections, bringing the state’s overall caseload since March to 7,216. As of Aug. 28, there are 230 active cases, and eight current hospitalizations. No new hospitalizations were reported Friday.

– NHPR Staff

N.H. anticipates uptick in college cases as students return

Update: Thursday, Aug. 27, 6:11 p.m.

The state’s top health official says she expects an uptick in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire in coming weeks, due to returning college students.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette told reporters today that results will bounce around but with students heading back to campuses the numbers will rise.

“We should expect to see increasing numbers in the demographic of 18-25 for sure as we start seeing colleges come back. And even pre-testing before people left their home states or their home communities we saw college students, asymptomatic college students testing positive.”

Governor Sununu said he spoke with UNH President Jim Dean after seeing pictures of a large student gathering on the Durham campus that violated the college’s social distancing policies. But Sununu says he’s confident existing guidelines will allow New Hampshire colleges to operate safely.

– Sarah Gibson

N.H. is buying 25 rapid testing machines

Update: Thursday, Aug. 27, 3:21 p.m.

New Hampshire is buying 25 new rapid testing machines to help improve turn-around for results, Gov. Chris Sununu said during a news update today on state response to COVID-19.

“The machines are called Quidel Sofia, antigen rapid covid test machines,” Sununu said. “And it will allow for community access to rapid antigen testing for student, teachers and the general community.”

The machines, which the state said it selected because unlike other rapid tests, a negative result doesn’t need to be confirmed by a secondary PCR test, will be placed at state designated community testing sites. 

Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette said the machines, which cost $2,000 each, can deliver results in 15 minutes.

Sununu said it might not be until October until the state receives the machines. He and Shibinette said the order from the manufacturer is about supply and demand.

In an update on state guidance for nursing home visitation, Shibinette announced that three counties, thanks to low transmission rates, will move into phase three, which means visitors will have fewer restrictions at long-term care facilities. The counties are Belknap, Coos, and Grafton.

Facilities in those counties will have reduced restrictions around communal dining and activities, as well.

Visit the state’s website for guidance on and resources for long-term care facilities.

Public Health Update

Shibinette announced one additional death connected to COVID-19 – a resident of a long-term care facility. She reported 35 new infections, and no new hospitalizations.

Explore the Data: Tracking COVID-19 in New Hampshire

– NHPR Staff

Panel recommends purchase of rapid testing machines

Update: Thursday, Aug. 27, 1:43 p.m.

A legislative advisory board recommends that New Hampshire purchase rapid result coronavirus testing machines for its hospital-based testing sites.

Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord, and Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, had proposed acquiring the rapid testing machines for school districts given growing concerns about the ability to test students and teachers as schools reopen.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette instead suggested the machines be purchased for the roughly two dozen community testing centers already set up, mostly in hospitals.

Lawmakers advising the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery voted unanimously Wednesday to approve that plan.

– Holly Ramer, Associated Press

State alert: Watch out for COVID-19 scammers

Update: Thursday, Aug. 27, 12:09 p.m.

The state is warning residents about COVID-19 scams after reports of scammers contacting people and claiming they can get them financial help during the pandemic.

The scammers use robocalls, text messages, emails and other means. They make a claim and then ask for personal information, such as credit card numbers or a Social Security number.

Some scams pretend they are from government agencies, and offer federal hazard pay for essential workers.

“Never trust anyone who offers financial help and then asks for money or your personal information,” reads an alert from Jennifer Harper, director of New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald.

Tips they offer:

  • Never send money or provide your personal information to someone you don’t know.
  • If you receive an email or text asking for money, delete it immediately, without engaging with the sender – and do not open links in those messages.
  • The state’s consumer hotline is (603) 271-3641. Find a consumer complaints form here:

– NHPR Staff

Dartmouth to move ahead with fall plan for students returning

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 3:51 p.m.

Dartmouth College announced today it is moving forward with its reopening plan and will return half of its undergraduate student body to campus beginning on Sept. 8. Read the full announcement.

The college says, starting next week, it will beef up its COVID-19 online dashboard with more information on how the return to campus is going. The information will include, among other things: the number of tests given, the number of positive cases, and quarantine information for students and staff.

“We expect that there will be challenges and setbacks along the way. Having students back on campus will only work if we are all invested in our success and committed to doing our part to protect the health and safety of every person,” reads the announcement by President Philip J. Hanlon and Provost Joseph Helble.

The college says it has tested 1,015 graduate and professional students to date, without finding any positive results. Its reopening plan includes pre-arrival testing and quarantine requirements for students.

– NHPR Staff

DHHS recommends anyone attending Sturgis rally get tested

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2:30 p.m.

Six residents who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally earlier this month have tested positive for coronavirus.

The state is now recommending anyone who attended that rally to get a COVID-19 test.

More than 100 confirmed cases are linked to the rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Besides getting tested, Granite Staters who attended the rally are advised to quarantine for symptoms for 14 days upon returning to New Hampshire, even if they test negative.

The state’s guidance asks anyone traveling outside of New England to quarantine for 14 days when they return.

– NHPR Staff

N.H.’s mask requirement for large gatherings in effect for Trump rally

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 6:01 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says New Hampshire’s face mask requirement will be in effect at President Trump’s campaign rally Friday at a Manchester airport hangar.

Sununu says the Trump campaign is on the same page as state health officials about the rule, which applies to gatherings of more than 100 people.

“I think they’ve been very good about trying to promote that message, making sure that people are safe … and to make sure they understand that – more than 100 people, everyone has to follow the rules,” Sununu said.

Sununu says he expects to greet the President on arrival. But the governor says he tries to avoid large crowds and will probably not go to the rally itself.

The rally comes after one was postponed in Portsmouth last month, due to weather. It spurred that city to adopt one of the state’s first masking ordinances.

Several other cities and towns have since followed suit.

– Annie Ropeik

Update on state study of ventilation systems at nursing homes

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:31 p.m.

The state says it didn’t find any clear patterns in a review of ventilation systems at long-term care facilities that had COVID-19 outbreaks.

Engineers spent two weeks analyzing the design and placement of air circulation systems at affected homes.

It came amid new scientific questions about whether the virus could spread or survive that way.

But the state says it didn’t find obvious links between different ventilation systems and the way the virus spread in long-term care facilities.

Still, officials say any kind of facility with an internal air system should keep an eye on it as a potential risk factor.

They say that includes schools and businesses as more reopen this fall.

– Annie Ropeik

Broadband expansion grants announced

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 4:46 p.m.

Governor Sununu announced another eight recipients of the state’s Emergency Broadband Expansion Program.

In total, about $14 million from the federal CARES Act will go towards expanding broadband in 17 different towns around the state.

The goal of the program is to build out the so called “last mile” of internet connectivity, which is the internet hook-up to a property.

Because of federal deadlines on when CARES Act money has to be used, these broadband projects need to be completed before the end of this year.

– Daniela Allee 

State announces outbreak at Rockingham County Jail

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 3:15 p.m.

New Hampshire health officials announced an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood. Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette says that 10 residents and one staff member have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The state also announced 16 new positive test results for COVID-19, and reported no new deaths.

FEMA OK’s state’s application for $300 unemployment benefit

Gov. Chris Sununu said FEMA has approved the state’s application for the “Lost Wages Assistance Program,” as part of the president’s executive order earlier this month.

Sununu said the federal funding will pump more than $300 million into the state’s economy, at little cost to the state.

In connection with the program, Sununu said the minimum weekly unemployment benefit will be raised to $100 to ensure out-of-work residents can get the new $300 benefit from the “Lost Wages” program, going back to Aug. 1.

The governor added that CAP agencies are launching a new, streamlined application process to help people apply for housing relief.

<- NHPR Staff

Move-in delays for some Keene State students

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 11:54 a.m.

Keene State College announced yesterday that some students will have their move-in delayed because of delayed test results.

All students in the University System of New Hampshire must have a negative COVID-19 test result before arriving to campus.

The new move-in start for some Keene State students will be this Wednesday and will continue through the weekend.

Keene State is starting this first week of classes remotely, and will start in person instruction next week.

Plymouth State University students also experienced delays last week in getting their pre-arrival test results, affecting that university’s plans for move-in.

– Daniela Allee 

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Update: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 10:19 a.m.

Jury trials in state courts resumed Monday after a five-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The judicial branch is restarting with what it’s calling a pilot case in Cheshire County.

Jurors are spread out in the gallery rather than sitting in the jury box, and everyone in the courtroom is required to wear a mask.

The trial is being live streamed to ensure public access to the proceedings.

The case involves a man accused of resisting arrest.

– Todd Bookman

Dozens of N.H. towns have yet to apply for COVID funds

Update: Monday, August 24, 9:45 a.m.

More than 50 New Hampshire communities have yet to apply for reimbursement for expenses related to the coronavirus pandemic. Requests must be made by Sept. 15 to be reimbursed for expenses incurred between March 1 and Aug. 31.

As of Friday, 51 towns had not applied, according to the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, which is in charge of distributing the state’s $1.25 billion in federal aid. Communities also can request reimbursement for expenses incurred from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15. That deadline will be Oct. 30.

– The Associated Press

Task force emails show early division on economic reopening

Update: Sunday, August 23, 4:40 p.m.

The task force advising New Hampshire’s governor about reopening the state’s economy during the coronavirus pandemic hosts public call-in sessions each week, but it also has heard plenty via email since it began its work in April. Nearly 1,800 messages were sent to members between April 22 and May 1, when The Associated Press requested copies.

The emails, which were turned over two and a half months later, show stark divisions over what should reopen and what should stay closed. Hair salon owners were particularly vocal, as were those pushing for the reopening of campgrounds and golf courses.

– Associated Press

Sununu urges Bike Week attendees to use best judgment

Update: Saturday, Aug. 22, 9:00 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu is cautiously optimistic that Laconia Motorcycle Week can be a success, even during the pandemic.

Sununu said Friday that people need to be responsible and follow social distancing and hygiene recommendations. He also says if anyone has doubts about attending due to illness, they shouldn’t.

“If you have symptoms of any kind you should not be attending at all. So we just want people to take the event seriously, be very smart about how they approach it and if they do that, we can defiantly have a very successful event.”

State Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette said contact tracing would be a challenge if people with COVID end up mingling in large events. But she says state health officials are keeping their fingers crossed that Bike Week, which could draw attendees from across the country, won’t prompt a spike in cases.

The annual event was posted from June. It runs Aug. 22-30.

– Josh Rogers

Dartmouth asked to reconsider return-to-campus plans

Update: Saturday, Aug. 22, 9 a.m.

About 100 Dartmouth College professors are asking administrators to reconsider bringing students back to campus next month.

In an open letter sent Friday, the professors said they weren’t convinced that it would be possible to maintain a safe campus and wider community with students arriving from across the country, even with the reopening plan Dartmouth has in place.

The letter says, “we do not see rewards that would outweigh the ponderous risks in this plan,” and urges the college to a adopt a fully remote plan.

Earlier this week, the college announced it would wait until next week to announce a return date as they monitor COVID-19 infection rates at other colleges.

– Daniela Allee

Sununu lifts indoor capacity limits on restaurants in 4 counties

Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 3:44 p.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu, citing low numbers of transmission, announced today that restaurants across New Hampshire will be allowed to have indoor dining at 100 percent capacity. Prior state restrictions required that restaurants in Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford counties be limited to 50 percent capacity indoors.

Those counties were previously singled out because they are home to most of the infections in New Hampshire.

Restaurants are still required to adhere to social distancing, which limits some capacity indoors.

Sununu said the state has not seen any major issues with restaurants, in connection with COVID-19 and safety protocols.

“The 6-foot social distancing is very important. Wearing masks in the public areas of those establishments is very important. Making sure that the staff is wearing the masks, if they are front-facing staff with the customers. All those provisions are in place and will remain in place for quite some time, without a doubt.”

Sununu said capacity limits on retailers and tourist attractions will remain in place.  Sununu said he looked at lifting those, but said it was impractical given the range of affected businesses.

The 100 percent indoor capacity allowance is effective immediately.

State Closes Outbreak at Greenbriar

State health officials say one of the largest and most persistent nursing home outbreaks of COVID-19 in New Hampshire has ended.

Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced Friday that the state is closing the outbreak case at Greenbriar Healthcare in Nashua, where 28 residents have died due to the coronavirus.

That leaves just one facility, Evergreen Place in Manchester, with an active outbreak that is being monitored.

At Greenbriar, 124 residents and 34 staff members had tested positive for coronavirus, according to Shibinette.

– NHPR Staff

State says towns can require voters to wear face masks

Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 2:01 p.m.

State officials say New Hampshire towns and cities can require that both voters and poll workers wear face coverings on Election Day to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald and Secretary of State Bill Gardner released new guidance for the Sept. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general election.

They said they agree with town moderators that decisions about mask requirements should be made locally, given the wide variation in the size of polling places, expected volume of voters, and other factors.

Communities that require face coverings for voters must, however, provide alternatives for those who can’t or won’t comply.

– NHPR Staff

Restaurants concerned about indoor dining restrictions

Update: Friday, Aug. 21, 9:51 a.m.  

Struggling New Hampshire restaurant owners want the state to both reduce restrictions aimed at controlling the coronavirus and increase efforts to educate the public about them.

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Officials with two restaurant groups were among those speaking up at Thursday’s public input session hosted by the governor’s Economic Reopening Task Force.

They said workers are dealing with abusive customers who don’t understand mask requirements, and they’re worried that cold weather will soon end outdoor dining.

— Holly Ramer, AP

14 new cases, 1 new death reported

Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 4:31 p.m.

Another resident has died from coronavirus, state health officials reported today. There have been 428 deaths since the outbreak began. The latest death is a man from Hillsborough County, who was 60 or older.

The latest public health update includes 14 new infections, bringing the total New Hampshire cases to 7,050, and the state says 6,367 have recovered. The current caseload is 255.

Two of the new cases are residents under 18. The new cases are from: Rockingham County, four; Merrimack County, three; Hillsborough County, two; and there was one each from the city of Manchester and Cheshire and Strafford counties. The state is trying to determine the county of residence for two of the new cases.

There were no new hospitalizations announced Thursday, and the current number of people in the hospital due to COVID-19 is down to 11.

– NHPR Staff

Dartmouth undergrads will not be allowed to travel outside of Upper Valley area

Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 10:31 a.m.

Dartmouth College students barely will be able to venture off-campus when they return this fall.

According to the latest travel restrictions, undergraduate students will not be permitted to travel beyond the local area, which is defined as the towns of Hanover, Enfield, Lebanon, Lyme, and West Lebanon in New Hampshire, and Norwich and Hartford in Vermont.

Graduate students, faculty and staff have more leeway. But those traveling outside New England, even for day trips, will be prohibited from accessing campus buildings for 14 days upon return.

– Holly Ramer, AP

Update: Thursday, Aug. 20, 9:59 a.m.

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester will reopen its doors to the public today.

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The museum is capping the number of entrants to ensure social distancing and changing its schedule. Special times slots are being set aside for seniors.

Tours of the museum’s two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed houses will remain closed.

– Todd Bookman

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3 more deaths, 19 new cases

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 19, 4:31 p.m.

State health officials today announced 19 new cases of COVID-19, and three new deaths.

One female resident from Rockingham County and two female residents from Hillsborough county died from the disease. All three were 60 years of age or older.

The state announced there are no new hospitalized cases, which continue to drop: as of Aug. 19, there were only a dozen hospitalizations due to COVID-19. 

The current case number is 262. To date, 6,347 of the overall 7,036 reported infections in New Hampshire have recovered, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the outbreak began, 427 residents have died from coronavirus.

– Daniela Allee

Postal Service, union reps, say they prioritize mail-in ballots

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 11:05 a.m.

Union representatives say postal service workers in New Hampshire can sort and deliver the mail, including election ballots, despite facing challenges like loss of equipment, revenue, and staff.

The representatives spoke with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen on Tuesday, saying they prioritize mail-in ballots and that they are are secure. They said they think there’s a lot of disinformation circulating about mail-in voting.

Recent changes made in New Hampshire include the elimination of five mail sorting machines in Manchester. Dana Coletti, president of the American Postal Workers Union in the state, said that it just seems a little unusual that this would happen around election time.

Sununu: No mask mandate will be in place on election day

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 10:57 a.m.

Gov. Chris Sununu says he plans to vote in person this year, but he says people and communities should exercise their own judgement when it comes to election procedures.

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Sununu says guidance issued by state election officials and the Attorney General has convinced him it will be safe to vote in person. But he says if other people feel differently there are other options.

“Now you can take an absentee ballot and just walk it over to one the safe drop boxes at all of the polling locations now,” he said during a news conference Tuesday. “So there is a variety of ways to do it in a safe way, if people don’t feel comfortable going to the polls.”

Sununu said he didn’t see a need to impose a statewide mask mandate at polling places, or know if one would be legal. But he said if cities and towns wanted to consider requiring people to wear masks at polling places, it would be their right to do so.

For the state primary and the general election, any voter in New Hampshire may choose to vote by absentee ballot, or go to the polls in person.

– NHPR Staff

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Laconia area businesses ready for Bike Week

Update: Wednesday, Aug. 19, 10:09 a.m.

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission plans to step up enforcement in the Lakes region ahead of next week’s 97th Laconia Motorcycle Week.

But many Laconia restaurant owners say they’re confident their customers will continue to follow safety guidelines.

“Most everyone has been really good about it,” says Cynthia Makris, owner of the NazBar & Grill at the Naswa Resort.

“They understand that this is the only way that restaurants and hotels can remain open. They understand what the guidelines are.”

Not at all restaurants are so sure. Laconia’s Broken Spoke Saloon is closing for Bike Week because of coronavirus concerns.

– Ava Sasani 

State applies to federal $300/week unemployment program

Update: Tuesday, August 18, 3:35 p.m.  

Gov. Chris Sununu says the state is submitting its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to participate in the “Lost Wages” assistance program, which will provide an additional federal unemployment benefit of $300 weekly.

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The program, which President Trump signed by executive order, allows states to opt-in with a 25 percent state match. According to Sununu, if current unemployment recipients are getting $100 a week, that would count toward the match. Those currently receiving less will have their benefits increased to $100 by the state.

Sununu said the program will add $340 million to the state’s economy over the next 22 weeks. The state can participate and cover those receiving benefits at a cost of less than $10 million from the state’s existing unemployment trust fund, Sununu said.

“It now appears we will be able to cover 100% of those currently receiving benefits at a cost of less than $10 million dollars from our current unemployment trust fund,” Sununu said.

The state will need to kick in $100 per week per beneficiary. The new boost in benefits will be retroactive to August 1. Learn more about FEMA’s Lost Wages supplemental payment assistance.

– NHPR Staff

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Today’s numbers:

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan announced one additional death of a New Hampshire resident today due to COVID-19. The patient was a resident of a long-term care facillity.

There have now been 424 deaths from the corornavoirus in the state since the outbreak began. Three new individuals were also hospitalized for the virus.

Dr. Chan also reported 13 new infections, bringing the state’s total to 7,017.

“We continue to see low but persistent transmission in our communities,” he said.

– NHPR Staff

N.H. added nearly 19,000 jobs in June

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 12:27 p.m.

The state’s economy continues to rebound from the coronavirus shutdown imposed this spring.

New data from New Hampshire Employment Security shows the state added close to 19,000 jobs in June. That helped push the unemployment rate down to 8.1 percent.

The unemployment rate peaked at 17.1 percent in April.

Nearly 40,000 residents have dropped out of the labor force since this time last year, however, meaning they are no longer employed or looking for work.

– Todd Bookman

Testing lab to be established in Durham

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 11:59 a.m.

The chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire says a coronavirus testing lab with 12-hour turnaround times should be set up in Durham within a few weeks.

Chancellor Todd Leach joined colleagues from private colleges and the community college system for an online discussion Monday.

Students have begun returning to many campuses this week, and officials said so far the process has gone smoothly. Leach says the in-house lab will handle thousands of tests per day from UNH, Keene State College and Plymouth State University.

State announces 16 new infections

Update: Tuesday, Aug. 18, 11:00 a.m.

New Hampshire announced 16 new positive test results for COVID-19 Monday. The state has averaged around 23 new cases a day for the last week.

Most of the new cases are from the southern half of New Hampshire.

Health officials say community spread is still happening across the state, and people should continue to take precautions to protect themselves or others from getting sick.

– Ava Sasani

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