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COVID Tuesday update: Spring school sports season still on, N.H. sees highest jump in cases

  • March 30 COVID map Courtesy—NH DHHS

Published: 3/31/2020 12:12:31 PM

The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association is still holding out hope for the high school spring sports season.

The NHIAA announced on Tuesday that the first day for spring teams to practice is May 4 and the first date to play is May 13. May 4 is also the day students are scheduled to end online learning and return to school. If the governor’s office decided to change that return to school date, the NHIAA will modify its start date accordingly.

The NHIAA canceled the end of the winter high school season before it was fully completed due to the novel coronavirus epidemic. Some winter sports had finished their tournaments. For those that had not completed their seasons, the NHIAA awarded championships based the portions of the tournament that had been completed or on the regular season standings.

N.H. sees biggest jump in cases

New Hampshire has announced 56 new cases of COVID-19, the most confirmations in a single day, confirming Monday’s statement by State Epidemiologist Benjamin Chan that we are entering the “acceleration phase” of the pandemic.

Until last weekend, testing had not found more than 30 new cases in a single day. On Sunday, tests confirmed 44 new people, while Monday’s tally is more than 25% higher than that.

As of Monday there are 314 diagnosed cases in the state. The actual number of infected people is certainly much higher, because a shortage of medical equipment has limited who gets tested.

The state also released its first town-by-town breakdown of positive results. Concord has had between 5 and 9 cases, while at least one case has been found in Hopkinton, Bow and Pembroke. None have been found in any other towns adjacent to Concord.

As of Monday,  5,726 people have been tested in the state. Of the 314 positives, 45 are hospitalized and 3 have died. Another 1,100 people are being “monitored.”

Reduced hours for liquor

The sate’s liquor stores have reduced their daily hours and shut down some retail locations due to “staffing limitations.”

Stores that remain open will welcome customers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with some modified Sunday hours. Customers are asked to check online for specific Sunday hours. 

Stores have been temporarily closed in Stratham, Milford, Jaffrey​​​​​​, Wolfeboro, Walpole, Lincoln, Hinsdale, Winchester, Swanzey and the Manchester airport. 

In addition, the state Liquor Commission is looking for part-time employees at its retail locations. Applicants must be 18 years old to be considered for employment.

On Tuesday, Go. Chris Sununu signed a new executive order giving liquor store employees a 10 percent raise during the state of emergency, recognizing that employees are at a “heightened risk of exposure” to COVID-19. 

State seeks more beds

Sununu has applied to the federal government for an exemption to allow non-rehabilitation patients to use New Hampshire’s rehabilitation hospitals.

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Tuesday, Sununu requested an “1135 waiver,” which would allow the state to relax the entry requirements for patients at those hospitals, and potentially free up beds.

If granted, the waiver would allow facilities in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem to free up space for non-rehabilitative purposes.

Sununu said the facilities are already “taking an active role with their host hospitals” to take in patients as hospitals prepare for a coming surge. 

More relief aid

New Hampshire's getting an additional $147 million from the massive coronavirus aid package signed into law by President Donald Trump, the state's congressional delegation said Tuesday.

Funding will go to schools; public transit; health care workers; law enforcement; child care, heating assistance; elections help; and other areas.

The biggest chunk, nearly $82.5 million, includes money for elementary and secondary schools; higher education; and the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund.

The aid follows the $1.25 billion marked for the state from the nearly $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in  this report.)




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