CONCORD — New Hampshire is seeking medically-trained volunteers to support health care providers and is working to connect businesses and individuals with other opportunities to help as the coronavirus spreads. But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu isn't ready to issue a stay-at-home order.
A look at other developments in New Hampshire:
CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS
Volunteers needed include licensed, as well as retired, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, administrative, transportation, information technology, and security professionals. They can register online at www.nhresponds.org, a site that was created to get help with emergency situations following 9/11. Medical corps, community emergency response, disaster animal and behavioral health response teams have formed to respond to past crises.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for our state,” Lori Shibinette, Health and Human Services commissioner, said at a news conference Tuesday.
More than 100 people in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. State health officials said Tuesday that one of them took a Concord Coach Lines bus between Concord and Boston on March 11 and 14; from Boston to Littleton on March 13 and from Boston to Concord on March 16. Those who rode the bus at the same time are being asked to stay home and monitor their health.
For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. More than 100,000 people have recovered.
OPEN, FOR NOW
The coronavirus situation in New Hampshire doesn’t yet warrant a stay-at-home order, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday.
“We very well may have to take steps in the future to escalate things. We’re not there today. We’re going to look at the variables, the interaction with our citizens, how businesses are doing,” he said.
Those variables include surrounding states, he said. The governors of Massachusetts and Vermont have issued stay-at-home orders and, along with Maine, have closed all nonessential businesses. Sununu said most non-essential businesses in New Hampshire already have closed.
The New Hampshire Food Bank has set up a website in preparation for an anticipated increase in food insecurity due to the impact of the new coronavirus.
The site, www.nhfoodbank.org/covid-19/, provides a secure online portal for making donations, and for informing employees, partners and clients.
“We are already seeing an overall increase in orders and we are seeing a number of agencies that have not needed our resources in some time reaching out and placing orders for food,” said Eileen Liponis, executive director.
The food bank will drop off truckloads of food with a partner agency that will handle distribution to families and individuals in need.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS
Community health providers across New Hampshire are getting $586,000 from the federal government to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus.
The funding from the Department of Health and Human Services will go to the city of Manchester, Harbor Homes in Nashua and community health centers in Littleton, Manchester, Berlin, Somersworth, Franklin, Colebrook and Plymouth. Part of $100 million being distributed nationwide, the money can be used for screening, testing, medical supplies and increasing telehealth capacity.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's wife, Valerie, has been sharing words of encouragement on Instagram. On Tuesday, she reminded viewers to take a moment to relax. “Parents, I'm talking to you," she said in a brief video. "Take your breaks. Hide. Closet? Laundry room? Bathroom? Car?”