The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout New Hampshire. The state confirmed its first case on Feb. 2. Since then the virus has spread to nine out of ten NH counties. On Apr. 22 state health officials announced 44 new cases, bringing the total confirmed case count to 1491.
Last week state health officials announced an outbreak in three long term care facilities. One of those facilities is Bellamy Fields in Dover, where 44 residents tested positive as of Apr. 20. After the announcement of the official outbreak in the facilities on Apr. 16, the state dispatched a mobile response team to provide more testing and supplies. According to state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan, over half of the reported deaths due to the virus lived in a long-term care facility.
Residents remain under a stay-at-home-order issued by Governor Sununu on Mar. 23. On Apr. 21 the department of Health and Human Services released a document urging NH residents to wear face mask when they go out in public.
The state of New Hampshire has had a shortage in testing. According to analysis from NHPR, New Hampshire has had one of the lowest rates of testing in New England. It is unclear how many people in the state have the virus but are unable to get tested, meaning that the reported numbers might not accurately represent the extend of the virus’s spread throughout the state.
Despite the continuous spread of the virus some NH residents are eager for the state to reopen. Hundreds of people protested the stay-at-home order on Apr. 18. Governor Sununu announced the formation of an Economic Reopening Task Force. The group consists of bipartisan legislators, private-sector leaders, and state officials. “Today’s announcement does not mean we are flipping a switch and opening things tomorrow, but is rather a proactive approach enabling us to plan for the re-opening of our economy from a public health standpoint,” said Sununu.