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COVID-19 News: New Hampshire health officials warn people about increase in cases

COVID-19 News: New Hampshire health officials warn people about increase in cases

New Hampshire health officials said it appears the state is at the beginning of another winter surge of COVID-19, but cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising earlier than last year.

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said New Hampshire’s COVID-19 situation is essentially where it was last year in December and January.

The high level of COVID-19 in the state is putting a strain on health resources, including hospitals. Testing capacity is also hitting a high as the demand for COVID-19 tests increases, and the positivity rate is now higher than ever in the state.

Hospitalizations are rising in New Hampshire just as they did last fall, but now they’re happening sooner and there are more of them, most are unvaccinated.

“And it’s going to go up dramatically, and if we don’t so something different, our ability to care for everyone, for every patient that needs that care, is going to be put at risk. We want to do everything we can to prevent that,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

Chan said that with more people moving indoors as the colder weather settles in, the risk of spreading the virus will only increase in the months ahead.

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He said vaccination is the key to controlling the spread of COVID-19, but he added that until New Hampshire’s vaccination rate increases, other mitigation measures are necessary.

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“Including wearing masks indoors, getting tested if there are symptoms of COVID-19, getting tested if there is exposure that somebody knows of from another person with COVID-19, avoiding high-risk gatherings,” Chan said. “Those continue to be important steps.”

Chan said anyone who qualifies for a booster shot should get one.

With Thanksgiving approaching, Chan said it’s important for people to have social interaction again after spending so much time apart during the pandemic. He said people who are fully vaccinated who are getting together with other fully vaccinated people should feel free to do so.

Someone who’s not fully vaccinated should, in addition to getting vaccinated, take precautions including limiting the size of family gatherings, getting tested before attending a gathering and staying home if sick.

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