New Hampshire

NH Launches Program to Designate Support Person for COVID Patients

The program with Granite State hospitals will allow people to designate someone who can visit them and assist with healthcare decisions in the event they get sick

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To help coronavirus patients with healthcare decisions, a new program has been announced in New Hampshire that will designate a support person.

During a Thursday afternoon news conference with Gov. Chris Sununu, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said the new program with New Hampshire hospitals will allow people to designate someone who can visit them and assist with healthcare decisions in the event they get sick.

The decision for the program was made as many facilities are restricted to outside visitors for the safety of patients amid the pandemic, Sibinette said.

The health commissioner added that a patient can change or expand their support person should conditions change.

In addition to the program, the state is also partnering with Darmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center to take over surveillance at long-term care facilities, according to Shibinette. While New Hampshire will still work with Quest and LabCorp, the partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock will be to increase the state's testing capacity, she said.

As of Thursday, three additional deaths as a result of the novel coronavirus were reported in the Granite State, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. There have now been 405 fatalities.

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There were 25 new positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 6,318.

During the news conference, Sununu said the state will continue to work with members of the Equity Response Team, as well as the Governor's Council on Diversity and Inclusion amid the coronavirus pandemic. There are a number of things, however, the state is recommending such as increased community testing, assuring testing sites have written protocols for community outreach, assuring healthy food access and providing isolation and quarantine housing support.

The deadline for self-employed individuals who applied for the SELF program will be receiving an email from the state notifying them their status by Friday, Sununu said. The initial approval list includes $26M in relief for self-employed individuals.

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