New Hampshire buys masks for VA; drop in unemployment claims reported
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting New Hampshire:
MASKS FOR VA
A cargo plane carrying over 110,000 pounds of personal protective equipment to New Hampshire includes 4.5 million masks the state purchased for VA hospitals nationwide, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.
The shipment left Shanghai, China, on Wednesday and is expected to arrive Thursday afternoon. The masks will be sent to the VA for their distribution, said Sununu, a Republican. The VA will reimburse the state.
“When VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reached out to me I knew this was a mission New Hampshire could take on,” Sununu said in a news release Thursday. “We owe those on the frontlines taking care of our veterans the protection they deserve.”
Wilkie said his department is proud to work with the state “as part of our ongoing effort to ensure our hospitals have access to the equipment they need to take care of our nation’s veterans.”
As the coronavirus spreads across the U.S., VA health care facilities are struggling with shortages of workers and the equipment necessary to protect employees from the virus, according to VA staff and internal documents obtained by the AP.
The news release said the shipment was secured with the help of inventor Dean Kamen and others. Kamen had assisted with a previous cargo of PPE for New Hampshire.
More than 14,000 initial unemployment claims were filed in New Hampshire last week, down more than 6,000 from the previous week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The latest number covers new claims through April 24.
As of Wednesday, 2,054 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 50 from the previous day. Six new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 66.
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 the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Dartmouth College will announce by June 29 whether students will return to campus for the fall term, but officials say the most likely scenario is a combination of a remote and residential term.
Provost Joseph Helble said Wednesday that officials are trying to develop a model that allows the maximum number of students to return safely.
Dartmouth expects to face a $100 million loss for the spring and summer term, he said. While the college’s endowment contributes about $250 million to Dartmouth’s annual operating budget of more than $1 billion, it is not a rainy-day fund that can be tapped to address operational deficits, he said.
He said there will be an announcement by early June about any possible furloughs or layoffs.
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