By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – As new cases of COVID-19 continue to grow slowly in the state, Gov. Chris Sununu and his senior health staff returned to the podium for a live televised press conference Thursday to give residents a shot update and urge anyone who has not been fully vaccinated to do so.
But he said the state was no longer under a state of emergency and that he did not foresee any future return to a statewide mask warrant.
Dr Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, said the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus is growing and spreading in the state and that there have been some groundbreaking cases among fully vaccinated people.
He said there were 48 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday after two days of 60 or more cases, and a total of 308 active cases with 22 people hospitalized on Thursday.
Unfortunately, another death has been reported bringing to 1,385 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Completely vaccinate infections
There have been 10 deaths and a breakthrough 505 cases of COVID-19 since February 1 among those who have been fully vaccinated, officials said. The two make up a very small percentage of the state’s 749,000 people who are now protected, officials said.
The number of revolutionary cases is up from 443 a week ago. One new death in a fully vaccinated person was reported at the press conference, bringing the total to 10.
The state has seen the seven-day average number of cases from 20 to 40 over the past month and although the test positivity rate is 1.9%, it is increasing, officials said.
Chan said deaths among unvaccinated cases and new cases are “unfortunately preventable” because people could be protected if they chose to be vaccinated. And vaccination rates vary by city, although data on this is still not released by the state.
“There are still city-to-city differences,” Chan said.
“Those with 70 and 80 percent fully immunized will have lower transmission rates,” he said, and communities with lower rates are the areas of his greatest concern “because the risk is going to be community. by community “.
Sununu said that in the south of the country where immunization percentiles are lower, the death stories among the unvaccinated are heartbreaking.
“It’s true. But we all have the power to stop it,” Sununu said.
About 1,000 residents per week continue to be vaccinated and the state now has mobile vaccination units with the three approved vaccines on board. The mobile unit is out on the road and is available to come to your block party, said Dr. Beth Daly, head of the Office of Infectious Diseases at the state Department of Health and Human Services.
She said the unit had received around 100 requests to visit churches, workplaces and community events and this week around 50 people were vaccinated through the new unit.
This week, the state has passed the 100,000 case mark of the virus since last March, with a total of 100,120 cases now and the governor called it a very dark step. Yet about 98% of these people have recovered from COVID-19.
Schools will open in a few weeks in the state, but Sununu said he has no plans for any new directions for them and expects them to review cases locally and decide which protocols to implement. ‘They see, as expected, a prosecution increase cases. He said private schools have the right to require vaccinations, but public schools do not.
Ben Vihstadt, the governor’s press secretary, clarified after the press conference that the governor was specifically referring to private colleges as well as universities and private companies that have the right to require a vaccine.
However, Vihstadt said in an email, according to the attorney general, under the current law “which has been around for decades – a private K-12 school cannot impose vaccines that are not expressly listed in the law. or subsequent HHS business rules.
COVID-19 vaccines have received emergency use authorization and are not yet fully authorized, although Pfizer has requested permanent authorization.
Chan said booster shots are being explored and there may be new guidelines on when and need for boosters, especially among those who are immunocompromised in the coming months.
Sununu noted that the fall will likely also see an increase in the number of people looking for work once the summer vacation period ends, the children will return to school and will not need options. expensive childcare; and those who have returned to vocational school to acquire a new skill to complete their education.
He said the worker shortage crisis for many summer seasonal workers is unlikely to cause a major shift in the numbers.
The state still has a lot of federal money to distribute to those in need of rent assistance with about 1,000 cases pending and $ 26 million approved to help people. The state is also distributing $ 10 million to the hard-hit hospitality industry, with 130 awards given and $ 2.5 million for theaters.
The state also continues to receive relief requests for companies that have received federal relief funds and can demonstrate that they used the money for COVID-19-related expenses, rather than having to return that money to the government. federal government.
Daly said the state no longer asks the federal government for weekly vaccine allocations because that demand has declined, and there are now more than 500 places in the state for people to get one or two free shots.
The governor said the state had done a great job of getting people to shoot and it was safe.
He noted that to celebrate that the state has been so successful, it is planning three free events instead of an inaugural gala that never took place this winter, and information on the events, including a trip on the Conway Scenic Railroad in August, a Fisher Cats game and a harvest festival will soon be available on a new website, super603.com
“Collectively, I think we’ve done a phenomenal job,” Sununu said.
But he warned that it was still not over.
“COVID is still with us, especially the Delta variant,” which is impacting younger, unvaccinated populations across the country.
“We have the power,” he said, to prevent these tragedies. “Talk to your doctor.”