More than 200 COVID-19 cases were reported Thursday in New Hampshire for the first time since mid-May as current cases rose to more than 1,000, state health officials said.
Officials said 232 new positive test results were confirmed. This is the first time there have been more than 200 cases in a single day in New Hampshire since May 12, and this is the most cases in a single day since May 3.Advertisement
There are 1,061 active COVID-19 cases in the state, officials said. This is the first time active cases have been over 1,000 since May 21.
Health officials said COVID-19 transmission is now substantial statewide. On a local level, Grafton, Belknap, Strafford and Rockingham counties, along with the city of Manchester, are also experiencing substantial transmission, officials said.
“We are now on the CDC map classified as having a substantial level of community transmission,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist. “This is the wrong direction for our country in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The state’s weekly test positivity rate has increased to 4.1%, the highest since April.
The delta variant has been the most common variant detected in positive samples that were sequenced recently, health officials said.
“Nationally around 83% of specimens are being identified as the delta variant,” Chan said.
Chan said that over the past two weeks, 45% of COVID-19 specimens collected in New Hampshire were the delta variant. In the past week, the number jumped to 65%.
Chan said the COVID-19 vaccines are working against the variant.
“In general, preliminary estimates show the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is probably around 80%, maybe 85% effective in preventing infection from the delta variant, but it’s much higher at preventing severe disease, including hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19,” he said.
Chan said the continued spread of COVID-19 will keep the state from getting out of the pandemic.
“We believe anyone who becomes infected has the potential to spread it to others in the community, and so the pandemic goes on,” he said.
While cases have been increasing steadily since late June, hospitalizations and deaths have remained relatively low. Current hospitalizations rose by one to 35, while no new deaths were reported Thursday.
Hospitalizations had been hovering in the teens in June and mid-July before slowly ticking up, but they are still well below what they were in the spring when cases were this high.
Chan said he continues to support mitigation measures, such as wearing a mask indoors in public settings, will help protect those who can’t get vaccinated.