COVID update: State adjusts hospitalization numbers sharply higher

By staff and wire reports
Published: 7/14/2020 11:00:16 PM

New Hampshire has had more hospitalizations from COVID-19 than has been reported so far, according to the state, which revised its total figure this week.

The adjustment is due to “additional hospitalizations identified after further review and quality assurance of previous data,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a release.

The increase comes after several weeks of declining numbers that have seen hospitalizations average less than 1.5 per day over the past two weeks. The adjustment means that the past two weeks have seen an average of 7.4 hospitalizations daily, although it’s not clear when the newly added events occurred.

The state now says there have been 665 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, which is 11% of the 6,091 confirmed cases of the disease.

Reailers, including Walmart, requiring masks

Even as cities in New Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Nashua, move to require face coverings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, many national retailers have begun to require masks of their customers.

Most notable is Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer. It said it would require masks in all its stores beginning Monday, July 20. Sam’s Club, a subsidiary, will also require them.

The retail giant said 65% of the roughly 5,000 stores are already located in areas with some form of government mandate on face coverings.

Walmart said they created a new role of “Health Ambassador,” who will be stationed near the entrance to remind customers without a mask of the new requirements. Reports have come from stores throughout the country of customers complaining to workers about mask mandates.  

Kroger, a major grocery store chain in the Midwest, also announced Wednesday that it would institute mandatory mask wearing for customers.

National Guard extension

Gov. Sununu is seeking permission to allow members of the New Hampshire National Guard to continue their work related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal government has approved activating 1,000 members of the guard until Aug. 21. In a letter to President Donald Trump, Sununu asked that up to 400 members continue their work through Dec. 31 to help maintain screening and testing sites and to stage and distribute personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

The Guard has been performing var ious duties across the state, including taking phone calls from people seeking unemployment benefits as well as preparing food and delivering it to needy families.

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