New Hampshire orders mask mandate after a rise in COVID-19 cases

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Starting Friday, masks will be required in New Hampshire when social distancing isn’t possible. With the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 happening at an alarming rate. Gov. Chris Sununu said it’s a necessary step.

“If you’re not wearing a mask, you don’t just risk that one other individual getting COVID, you risk that individual then spreading it potentially to a loved one, you risk all the folks that come into contact with that individual having to be quarantined, you risk kids having to be put out of school,” Governor Sununu said. 

Today there were two new deaths associated with long term care facilities, bringing the total number of people who died in New Hampshire to 506. Health Commissioner Lori Shibinette, said there will be new testing protocols.

“We are going to be recommending that long term care facilities go to weekly testing on 100% of their staff,” Shibinette said.

The health care facilities will also be able to do an antigen test on visitors.

“This is an extra layer of protection that we are hoping that the facilities will use for people that are coming in to visit loved ones,” Shibinette said. 

The Bureau Chief for Infectious Disease Control, Elizabeth Daly said there is planning on COVID-19 vaccinations. When they become available they will be released in phases.

“This first phase of vaccine is going to include our long term care facility residents and staff and this is because more than 80% of the deaths in our state have occured in this setting,” Daly said. 

Also taking a hit is the economy. The governor is making sure businesses will remain open with their Main Street Relief Fund which will provide $95 million dollars in economic stimulus to nearly 1,900 businesses across New Hampshire. The average award for all applicants was approximately $50 thousand dollars.

“Its money to pay bills, pay taxes, keep folks employed, keep the economy moving forward, keep these businesses viable which is all very important when you look at the overall economic and physical health of the state,” Governor Sununu said. 

The governor also announced the Inauguration will be a socially distanced outdoor swearing in event. It will take place on January 7 at the State House Plaza.

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