By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — The state is negotiating with a private provider to staff four new testing sites for COVID-19.
With many current sites overrun with requests and a limited number of fast or antigen tests, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said Wednesday at a press conference that testing resources are scarce nationally and the sites would help address the shortfalls with additional PCR tests as the requests increase.
She said the new sites should be set up — likely in high population areas —in the next couple of weeks after the contracts are approved by the Executive Council.
Federal Emergency Management Administration money will be used to pay for the sites.
“Making sure folks have access to testing, especially as we hit a potential winter surge, is really important,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, who said he has been talking to the Biden administration and other governors pushing for more testing supplies.
On Wednesday the state announced 602 new people diagnosed with COVID-19 from Tuesday and a few days earlier, with 146 people hospitalized and two deaths, a male younger than 60 years old and a female over than 60 years old.
Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist, said neither individual was associated with a long-term care facility and that the majority of deaths now are from community transmission.
The number of people currently with COVID-19 is 3,648, and the positivity rate for tests is 4.7 percent.
Shibinette announced the state closed six outbreaks at facilities, and announced three new ones at Cheshire County Department of Correction, Riverside Nursing Home, and Summercrest Senior Living, for a total of 10 outbreaks.
Garry Rayno may be reached at email@example.com.