The rate of new COVID-19 cases is slowing down in New Hampshire, some good news the governor delivered Thursday while still urging caution as he gave an update on the latest on his state's response.
The omicron variant has fueled a rapid spread of COVID-19 across New England, forcing leaders to reassess action plans and implement new mitigation strategies as health care systems struggle to handle the influx of patients and testing sites strain under renewed demand.
But on Thursday Gov. Chris Sununu said New Hampshire was actually seeing some improvement in the spread of the virus and the number of hospitalizations, pointing out that the state's 14-day change in the rate of COVID-19, at a 36% increase, is the second-lowest in the region. However, Sununu said, the pandemic and its impacts are far from over, and it's too soon to say if this latest wave has peaked.
"In New Hampshire, the numbers seem to have leveled out a little bit," Sununu said.
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The governor credits various mitigation policies implemented over the last few weeks with helping to slow the rate of hospitalizations.
"I think we’re one of the only states where you’re actually seeing hospitalizations go down," Sununu said, cautioning that they are still waiting to see if there is a post-holiday increase in the next few days, and warning that the health care system is still being taxed by the caseload.
State public health officials said they are still averaging 9-10 deaths a day from the virus, and said that while New Hampshire hasn't seen a large number of omicron cases, they're waiting to see what happens as the variant continues to spread.
There are 359 people currently hospitalized with the virus, according to New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services data, and the death toll stands at 2,017, with four new deaths since Wednesday.
The governor also announced that 100 more members of the National Guard will deploy to help health care workers, with around 30 going to support long-term care facilities and 70 into hospital systems. State strike teams are also still working to create more beds, deploying to two facilities, which should lead to the creation of more beds.
More New Hampshire News
Sununu also pushed the state's second "Booster Blitz," a series of clinics at 14 locations across the state on Saturday, Jan 8. Nine states still have appointments available. To schedule an appointment, click here.
Children ages 12-15 will not be eligible to get booster shots at this event as the state is still waiting for more guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New Quarantine and Isolation Guidance
Public health officials also went over the latest COVID-19 quarantine and isolation guidance for the general public, in response to new information from the CDC. Full details are available online here.