Sununu requests disaster declaration as NH coronavirus deaths climb

CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) New Hampshire's governor is now talking in terms of months, not weeks when it comes to battling COVID-19. Our Adam Sullivan has details from Gov. Chris Sununu's Monday press conference.

Sununu posed the question, Where are we going to be in June? In July? Then answered by saying the state simply does not know. It comes as the governor rolls out several more orders for Granite Staters.

"We are requesting today a major disaster declaration from the federal government," said Sununu, R-New Hampshire.

It was one of several orders issued by the governor Monday afternoon. He also waived standardized testing this year for public school students and said the state is increasing unemployment benefits with the backing of the bipartisan CARES ACT bill that was signed into law by the president.

"New Hampshire will be receiving at least $1.25 billion in COVID-19 relief. It is an unprecedented amount of relief for the state of New Hampshire. But given the unprecedented times and the severe needs from families, education, businesses, individuals, there is going to be need all the way around," Sununu said.

It comes as the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in New Hampshire increased to 314 cases. Three people have died and officials say a surge of new cases is coming.

It's the first week where nonessential businesses did not open in the Granite State. Empty parking lots are an eerie reminder the worst is still ahead.

"The virus is out in our communities, it is circulating, so everybody needs to take steps and precautions against, not only getting infected themselves but also spreading it to other people in our community. Certainly to those who are most vulnerable," said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist.

The state is working on a town-by-town map to track new cases. That is expected to be online in the next day or two.

Anyone traveling to New Hampshire is also now required to self-quarantine for two weeks.