NH Reports 252 New Coronavirus Cases, 2 New Deaths

Seven of New Hampshire's 10 counties are now at a substantial level of community transmission

New Hampshire Coronavirus Graphic

New Hampshire officials reported 252 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths on Thursday.

The daily case total was substantially higher than the totals in recent days, but Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, said 50 of those cases should have actually been in Wednesday's report were it not for an issue with automated electronic reporting at a national testing lab.

One new hospitalization was reported, meaning 44 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.

"We continue to see increasing community transmission throughout the state in all areas of the state," Chan said.

He said seven of New Hampshire's 10 counties are at a substantial level of community transmission, with Caroll, Sullivan and Cheshire the only exceptions.

"We're going to continue to see a rise in cases," Gov. Chris Sununu said. "We've been predicting it since back in May."

He said there are a variety of reasons for the increase in cases, including that viruses spread more rapidly in the fall and winter as people's immune systems become more suppressed. And the cold weather forcing people indoors isn't helping either.

"As we move forward, we can be very precise, not just as an industry or school but by region," Sununu said. "If we see cases spiking, if we have to take additional steps, because we know more we can be more precise regionally about any additional measures we may take."

The governor was also asked Thursday if the state would be issuing any additional guidance around winter youth sports.

Hockey and all other ice sports are on hold in New Hampshire after multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.

"We do have guidance documents for youth athletics and activities," he said. "We have one for skiing and hockey. For basketball and volleyball, we can look to see what the data says and if any additional changes would have to be implemented. We can take a look at that. But there is a base guidance document there to allow for it."

At his last coronavirus update a week ago, Sununu announced that he had approved a proposal requiring restaurants to gather basic information about patrons in order to assist with contact tracing if someone at the establishment tests positive for COVID-19.

The governor said his Economic Reopening Task Force received a request from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association to require restaurants to collect a name, telephone number and time of arrival from patrons.

The proposal took effect last weekend.

The affected restaurants include the Daniel Street Tavern and The Goat Bar and Grill in downtown Portsmouth, The Draft Sports Bar and Grill and The Barley House Restaurant and Tavern in downtown Concord and the Bantam Grill in Peterborough.

In recent weeks, about a dozen restaurants across the state have closed their doors temporarily after an employee or customer tested positive for the coronavirus.

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