New Hampshire marks 100 days of COVID-19
Tuesday marked 100 days since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in New Hampshire. At a press conference in Concord that included Gov. Chris Sununu and New Hampshire's entire congressional delegation, the governor reflected on everything that has happened over the last 100 days. Our Adam Sullivan to look back a where we were and where we've come over the last three months.
Sununu said the past 100 days seemed like a 100 years. New Hampshire's first COVID-19 case was announced in Concord March 2nd. A few days later, life as we knew it resumed for the Governor's ceremonial tree tapping. The scope of the pandemic was not yet fully known.
"It's likely we could have a couple more. That's just the unfortunate nature of something so contagious," Sununu said at the time.
Just a week later he declared a state of emergency, closed schools and announced a stay-at-home order.
A major concern early on was PPE for health care workers. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center put out a call for donations as people around the region began making their own. Testing at that point was only for the most vulnerable and health care staff. Masks had not yet become commonplace.
Video interviews, however, for those of us covering the evolving story had become the norm, including a Hanover student who was home after being stranded overseas.
Fourteen surge hospitals were set up around the state. The fear was that COVID patients would overrun the health care system. Most have since been closed. "We are in this not for a couple weeks but for months," Sununu said.
Temperature checks became part of the daily routine. Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos offered a little reflection Wednesday. "If you asked me six-months ago if we would be screening employees temperatures for signs and symptoms before work every day I would say now you are crazy," he said.
In May, testing ramped up around the state for both antibodies and active cases. Regulations also began to loosen a bit. Golf resumed, as did outdoor dining. Churches could hold services at 40% capacity and retail reopened.
"It's great to see some businesses opening and start to see some economic change. The dining outside behind us I think is a wonderful thing," Christopoulos said.
Out-of-state visitors were allowed to check in to New Hampshire hotels June 5th. The stay-at home order is expected to sunset on the 15th, when indoor dining resumes.
"We are trying to figure out what this next phase of normal is going to be in our lives," Christopoulos said. The fire station he stands in front of is still closed to the public.
Reporter Adam Sullivan: Biggest surprise over 100 days?
Chris Christopoulos: Um, that we haven't seen more cases in the Upper Valley.
Moving forward, Sununu offered an optimistic outlook. "I firmly believe the next 100 will be better than the last 100," he said.
During the shutdown, lawmakers in Concord sued Sununu over how the state was handing out federal CARES Act funds. A judge ultimately sided with the governor. Thursday, for the first time since the Civil War, the House will reconvene outside the Statehouse. The session is taking place at the hockey arena at the University of New Hampshire to allow enough space for social-distancing.