CONCORD — Congressional Democrats from New Hampshire are criticizing delays in getting medical supplies, and a police chief wants seacoast beaches closed as a precaution. More on coronavirus-related developments in New Hampshire:
EXPIRED MEDICAL SUPPLIES
New Hampshire’s four-Democrat congressional delegation is criticizing federal health and emergency management agencies for delays in receiving medical supplies — some of which had already expired — to help the state deal with the coronavirus.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas said it is their understanding that one supervisory error at the Federal Emergency Management Agency resulted in a request sitting unprocessed for four days.
When New Hampshire received supplies in response to its March 17 request, some of it was expired, and the 16,000-plus gloves that were sent were latex, "which are unusable in the medical setting due to latex allergies,” according to the letter sent Wednesday to the heads of FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The delegation said between this shipment and a prior one this month, the agencies have provided only 28% of respirator masks requested, one-third of nasal swabs needed, about 26% of surgical masks and no ventilators.
“Health care providers from across New Hampshire are exasperated by this piecemeal approach, which has not afforded them the supplies they need,” the delegation wrote.
Shaheen's office said the agencies hadn't responded to the letter. Messages seeking comment were left Thursday.
Nationally, states have been pressing the federal government for more supplies and economic aid to battle the coronavirus. A $2.2 trillion aid package to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic was making its way through Congress.
Nearly 140 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in New Hampshire, with 19 of those hospitalized. One person has died. Nearly 30 new cases were announced Wednesday.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.
CLOSE THE BEACHES
The police chief in Rye, New Hampshire, said he wants all seacoast beaches closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Chief Kevin Walsh said he is concerned about crowds at the beaches and has asked local and state officials to close them, WMUR-TV reported.
“People are just going to start coming and packing the beaches. And most people say, 'Chief, they’re social distancing, they’re 6 feet away.' But, they traveled here. They’re going to our stores,” Walsh said.
Gov. Chris Sununu's office said it is continuing to evaluate the COVID-19 situation. State parks officials have asked visitors to keep groups under five people and maintain at least 6 feet of distance.
In Bethlehem, New Hampshire, carloads of teachers put on a parade for students on Wednesday, decorating their vehicle windows with messages like “We Miss You,” “Pre-K Rocks!” and "Hello Friends! Good To See You!”
“It’s just to let the kids know we’re missing them and it’s a way for them to connect with us and a way for us to see their faces,” Bethlehem Elementary School Principal Sue Greenlaw told the Caledonian-Record. “We want them to know that through this whole thing we’re missing them a lot. It’s not the same without them.”
Public school in New Hampshire has been closed through at least April 3.