COVID-19 claims fourth N.H. resident
CONCORD – State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said a fourth person has died from COVID-19 in New Hampshire and the number of positive tests climbed dramatically again overnight to a total of 415 on Wednesday.
Chan didn’t say whether it was a man or woman or in which county the individual died as the state has done in the three prior deaths. He did say he expects that number to increase in the coming days because the state is investigating an undisclosed number of deaths that may have been COVID-19-related.
The state is helping Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, which announced on Wednesday that a significantly disabled 46-year-old man died from COVID-19 there on Sunday, he said.
Chan said there are a “handful” of other long-term care facilities with COVID-19 patients, but he declined to say which ones. “There are a handful of facilities around the state,” Chan said.
The virus spreads easily, he said. “Once it gets into a long-term care facility, it tends to be very difficult to control,” Chan said.
Most of the news conference revolved around new funding to protect New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens contained in new emergency orders Gov. Chris Sununu issued Wednesday.
He established a $2 million fund to better protect children and $600,000 for victims of domestic and sexual violence.
“The creation of this emergency fund provides the resources needed to ensure that no victim of domestic violence is forgotten or denied access to critical services,” Sununu said.
The funds could be used to assist directly with victims’ needs to pay for groceries, rent, health products and educational materials for children as well as hotel stays while all New Hampshire shelters are at capacity. It will also help crisis centers to remain operational.
The number of calls regarding domestic violence and child abuse have dropped dramatically since the epidemic took hold, but Sununu said that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
It means people need to be more vigilant in looking for it and reporting it.
“Everyone is mandated to report,” Sununu said.
Sununu stressed several times during the news conference that people need to understand this epidemic may be front and center in the lives of New Hampshire people for weeks or months.
“The $2 million in new funding that I put forward today allows New Hampshire to implement critical services that help ensure our most vulnerable children continue to receive the support and care they need,” Sununu said.
Child advocates have been concerned because children are isolated while learning at home from the people like teachers who were often the ones who detected abuse.
It will move all family violence specialists from part-time to fulltime, includes hiring three new licensed drug and alcohol counselors to provide family supports to reduce the stress living under a state of emergency, and increases the age cap for the Strength to Succeed program from 0 to 6 to 0 to 10.
And establishes a family resiliency hotline to expand supports to families and provide technology support to the state Division for Children, Youth and Families to have electronic visits because of the need for social distancing.
“These are tough times we’re in,” Sununu said, cautioning against looking at the situation “through rose-colored glasses.”
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