New Hampshire

NH Announces 1st Death From COVID-19

The fatal case was a man over the age of 60 from Hillsborough County

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Health officials on Monday announced New Hampshire's first death from COVID-19 as the state's number of cases surpassed 100.

The fatal case was a man over the age of 60 from Hillsborough County, state epidemiologist Benjamin Chan said in a news conference.

"I want to express out sympathies for the family and friends of this individual," Chan said.

"This is an unfortunate situation and one that we certainly want to try to avoid, but we know with this virus it can cause serious illness and even death in those who are more susceptible to serious infection."

Chan said 101 people in the state had tested positive for the coronavirus, an increase of 23 since Sunday. Eleven of those people had been hospitalized.

He said the majority of cases were related to domestic or international travel.

However, he said a number of people had no "clearly identified" contact with people with confirmed cases of coronavirus or who had traveled, adding that community transmission was occurring in parts of the state.

"This indicates that there continues to be community transmission of COVID-19 in multiple areas," Chan said.

Gov. Chris Sununu urged people to practice social distancing and said if this didn't happen on a widespread basis, "further action may be necessary to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors."

The mayors of Manchester and Nashua are now asking Sununu to implement a stay at home order but for now, he says he is closely following the regional response.

"If you look at the actions being taken at our surrounding states, they very much mimic the actions we're asking and taking here," Sununu said. "In terms of social distancing, we are now limiting the number of gatherings to 10 people."

Sununu also asked people to help people over the age of 60 or those with underlying health issues by offering to pick up groceries for them or to shovel their sidewalk.

New Hampshire becomes the fourth New England state to report a death connected to the outbreak, following Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Also on Monday, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center said its laboratory is now able to test for the novel coronavirus.

The center said the number of tests that can be performed daily could be up to 1,000, but because of the ongoing shortages of test collection supplies and personal protective equipment, testing is limited just to hospitalized patients within the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system and healthcare workers, including first responders, who have direct contact with patients.

The center said once it's fully operational over the next week to 10 days, the turnaround time from test to results should provide results to patients within 24 hours or less.

The governor said he will keep day cares open to take care of the children of medical workers and other essential staff. They are preparing for a hospital capacity surge are are building beds across the state in order to treat people.

"At the end of the day, I have no doubt the efforts we have taken today are surely going to save lives," Sununu said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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