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Substantial community spread of COVID-19 seen in 3 New Hampshire counties – WMUR Manchester

Three New Hampshire counties are now in the red, with substantial community transmission of the coronavirus.>> Download the free WMUR appHealth officials said Rockingham, Merrimack and Hillsborough counties have the bulk of COVID-19 cases in the state, and the risk of transmission is now considered substantial. Test positivity rates in the counties over the past seven days are about 2%, twice the state’s usual average. “That’s not just a function of increased testing being conducted,” State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said. “We know that people are letting their guard down, we know that people are coming into close contact with others.”Chan described what is happening as COVID or response fatigue. After about 8 months of mask wearing and social distancing people are starting to relax on the guidance and numbers have risen as a result.“We’re going to see COVID-19 being introduced more and more into businesses, into schools, into long-term care facilities and that is something that we want to try to avoid,” Chan said.”One of the things that appears to be driving this increase is unsafe gatherings,” said Kim McNamara, Portsmouth public health director.McNamara said the trend is worrisome. Portsmouth, which is in Rockingham County, marked its first school case of COVID-19 on Wednesday at the high school. McNamara said the rising numbers have far-reaching impacts. “What we have to look at is not only if people are ill and receiving health care, but we also have to worry about the disruption to our businesses and our schools and our day cares, so it creates a lot of discussion about do we have to take any action at this point in time,” she said.Border communities are watching nearby states, as well.”It is a concern,” said Brian Lockard, Salem health director. “We do watch to see what our abutting communities in Massachusetts are doing and what levels they have.”Long-term care facilities are bracing for more cases.”We’re hoping for the best, but we’re not prepared for the worst,” said Brendan Williams, of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “We don’t have that capacity for surges here, because we simply don’t have enough licensed staff out there to hire in the event of a surge.”Health officials reminded Granite Staters that letting their guard down can put a community at risk.

Three New Hampshire counties are now in the red, with substantial community transmission of the coronavirus.

>> Download the free WMUR app

Health officials said Rockingham, Merrimack and Hillsborough counties have the bulk of COVID-19 cases in the state, and the risk of transmission is now considered substantial. Test positivity rates in the counties over the past seven days are about 2%, twice the state’s usual average.

“That’s not just a function of increased testing being conducted,” State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said. “We know that people are letting their guard down, we know that people are coming into close contact with others.”

Chan described what is happening as COVID or response fatigue. After about 8 months of mask wearing and social distancing people are starting to relax on the guidance and numbers have risen as a result.

“We’re going to see COVID-19 being introduced more and more into businesses, into schools, into long-term care facilities and that is something that we want to try to avoid,” Chan said.

“One of the things that appears to be driving this increase is unsafe gatherings,” said Kim McNamara, Portsmouth public health director.

McNamara said the trend is worrisome. Portsmouth, which is in Rockingham County, marked its first school case of COVID-19 on Wednesday at the high school.

McNamara said the rising numbers have far-reaching impacts.

“What we have to look at is not only if people are ill and receiving health care, but we also have to worry about the disruption to our businesses and our schools and our day cares, so it creates a lot of discussion about do we have to take any action at this point in time,” she said.

Border communities are watching nearby states, as well.

“It is a concern,” said Brian Lockard, Salem health director. “We do watch to see what our abutting communities in Massachusetts are doing and what levels they have.”

Long-term care facilities are bracing for more cases.

“We’re hoping for the best, but we’re not prepared for the worst,” said Brendan Williams, of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “We don’t have that capacity for surges here, because we simply don’t have enough licensed staff out there to hire in the event of a surge.”

Health officials reminded Granite Staters that letting their guard down can put a community at risk.

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