The number of New Hampshire residents who have died from the novel coronavirus is now at 18 after health officials on Wednesday announced five additional cases.
The number of those infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is now 788, an increase of 41 from a day earlier.
At a news conference with Gov. Chris Sununu, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Lori Shibinette, said that three of the new deaths were residents of long-term health care facilities.
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The facilities include Hanover Hill Health Care Center in Manchester, The Huntington at Nashua and Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield.
At each of the facilities, both residents and staff members have been infected with COVID-19. There have also been outbreaks at more than 10 other long-term care facilities in New Hampshire, Shibinette said.
"Our toughest days are likely still ahead," Sununu said speaking of the deaths.
The governor thanked residents for taking social distancing seriously and said those actions were likely why the Granite State was seeing lower numbers of the virus than other states.
The governor said earlier in the week, the state announced it had received 15 Abbott rapid-testing devices but on Wednesday he said it's still not enough to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
Sununu said the Federal Emergency Management Agency said New Hampshire can only expect about 15% of the test cartridges the state has requested.
Sununu announced that since expanding New Hampshire's unemployment benefits on March 17, 67,000 residents in need of assistance have been helped. The state has paid nearly $19 million in benefits in the three-week span, he said.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the state also continues to work with New Hampshire Employment Security to provide financial relief to those impacted. The department, thus far, has processed 30,000 payments totaling $8.5 million in benefits, according to the governor.
On Tuesday, Sununu announced he was creating a new office to oversee New Hampshire's share of the federal relief and stimulus funds related to the coronavirus pandemic.
That process used the state budget to ensure legislative input, but the urgency of the coronavirus crisis requires a different approach, Sununu said in a letter to Democratic Senate President Donna Soucy and Democratic House Speaker Steve Shurtleff.
He said the new office will include a bipartisan legislative advisory board to ensure input and transparency.