NH braces for another Covid surge

‘This is the new normal,’ says governor

Mobile Vaccine UnitThe NH Department of Health and Human Services has rolled out out another wave of commercials to promote vaccinations and has added another mobile vaccine van to any group for deployment aet events.

The state is gearing up for a new surge in Covid-19 cases as hospitalizations and numbers of cases climb.

Gov. Chris Sununu said the state is hoping for the best but preparing for the alarming number of hospitalizations that southern U.S. states have experienced in recent weeks.

“The fall surge could be as bad as anything we’ve ever seen,” Sununu said.

A fall surge was always expected, state epidemiologist Dr. Ben Chan said. But recent numbers suggest that the surge may be coming early. In the last week, the state has averaged between 160 and 170 new cases every day – just a month ago the state reported numbers in the 20s.

“Whether that levels out, comes down, or goes back up again in the fall I think is still largely unclear at this point,” Chan said.

Hospitalizations also have steadily been increasing in New Hampshire, due to the Delta variant, which is thought to be significantly more contagious and potentially more dangerous. Sununu said the state is making sure hospitals are prepared with adequate staffing and equipment.

In preparation for a surge, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is doubling down on vaccination efforts, rolling out another wave of commercials to promote vaccinations and adding another mobile vaccine van.

Any group can request the vaccine van to attend their events. Sununu said the van has already attended 30 events across the state and has 70 clinics lined up through September.

‘Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine’

Though interest in the vaccine has slowed since the spring, Beth Daly, chief of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said about 1,000 new people a week have signed up to receive the shot.

While some agencies, like the CDC, have reemphasized the importance of face masks in light of rising cases, Sununu has resisted imposing any new guidance on face coverings in New Hampshire.

“If you think this is about mask or no mask, you are missing the boat,” he said. “The more we sit here and debate mask or no mask, we’re missing the importance of vaccine, vaccine, vaccine.”

While cases climb in the state, Sununu encouraged residents to make peace with the ever-changing Covid-19 landscape.

“This is the new normal,” he said. “Where we are today with the up and down levels of transmission is likely where we could be for quite some time.”

He said schools and businesses should think wisely about the mitigation policies they put in place this summer, as they could be relevant for years to come. He emphasized the importance of communicating with students and employees while implementing some of these policies.

“They may be in place for a long time,” he said.

This article is are being shared by partners in the Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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