By Kim Jarrett | The Center Square
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said the Trump administration’s plan to reopen the country was a good approach during a news conference on Friday.
President Donald Trump announced a three-phase plan that leaves the decision on reopening each state’s economies up to their governors. The states will first have to meet certain metrics with the number of COVID-19 cases.
“It is a good backbone in that it has a phased approach in a variety of different areas,” Sununu said. “It looks at metrics, goals you really need to meet as a state or a community before moving on to the next phase.”
New Hampshire is looking to coordinate its economic reopening with neighboring Vermont and Maine. The other New England states, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, are members of a separate coalition that also includes New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Some states are ready to go into the first phase of the plan, but New Hampshire is not ready, Sununu said.
“You really need about 14 days of better testing results,” the governor said. “We seemed to hit this plateau, but we had a had a very high number of 70 cases a day.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan reported three additional COVID-19 deaths Friday, bringing the state’s total number to 37. An additional 76 positive cases were reported for a total of 1,287 since the outbreak began. Of those who tested positive, 190 required hospitalization.
Sununu announced five large hospitals have received zero-interest loans from the $50 million Emergency Healthcare Relief fund he established cumulatively totaling $5.32 million. Another 40 smaller health care facilities have received loans totaling $6.8 million, according to information from Sununu. The allocations are made after a review by a five-person committee appointed to oversee the funds.
The state received a $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“The Department of Health and Human Services will use this emergency funding to establish a New Hampshire Rapid Response team, a comprehensive system that will provide crisis intervention services, mental health, substance abuse disorder treatment and other related recovery supports for youths and adults impacted by COVID-19,” Sununu said.
Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette reported the third outbreak at a long-term care facility. Sixteen residents and 16 staff members at Easterseals Gammon Academy in Manchester tested positive for the virus.
Long-term care facilities are being monitored by state health officials for outbreaks. Sununu announced earlier in the week that all staff members who work in facilities in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties will be tested.