By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – There was another death due to COVID-19 over the last week in an individual who had been fully vaccinated in New Hampshire bringing the total to 9 since Feb. 1, according to Jake Leon, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Of the nine people who have died from COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated, the most recent one this week was in the age range of 40 to 59; four were between the ages of 60 and 79 and four were 80 or older, he said. Four were people associated with long-term care facilities; five were not, Leon said.
Altogether, there have been 443 vaccine breakthrough cases as of July 15, up from 385 two weeks earlier, Leon said.
Sixty-three of the vaccine breakthrough cases involve variants, including 48 cases involving variants of concern. As a point of clarification, there are several variants, but only some are more contagious than the initial strain of COVID-19; the CDC identifies variants that are more contagious as variants of concern, Leon said.
Leon provided the following numbers:
Breakdown of the 48 vaccine breakthrough cases involving variants of concern:
· B.1.1.7 (Alpha): 38
· P.1.351 (Beta): 0
· P.1 (Gamma): 8
· B.1.617.2 (Delta): 2
Age for all variant breakthrough cases:
· <20: 8
· 20 – 39: 111
· 40 – 59: 156
· 60 – 79: 123
· 80+: 45
Sex for all variant breakthrough cases:
· Female: 279
· Male: 164
The state announced 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Friday. This was a 34 percent increase compared to the previous seven-day period averaging 33 cases a day, according to the state’s COVID-19 website.
Gov. Chris Sununu acknowledged the increase in an emailed statement.
“While cases in New Hampshire are not rising nearly as fast as other states across the country, we do expect to see pockets of slight increases in the weeks and months ahead,” Sununu said. “The rate of community transmission statewide continues to remain very low. The CDC has stated that the vaccines successfully protect individuals from the Delta variant, and the state continues to remind folks that the safest thing individuals can do to protect themselves and their loved ones is to get the COVID vaccine.”
Small increases are expected in New Hampshire and are within the range seen last summer, Leon said.
“Overall, New Hampshire continues to have a low level of community transmission in most communities in our state. Due to the surges in COVID-19 currently being seen in other areas of the country and globally, we are closely monitoring levels of COVID-19 in New Hampshire,” Leon said.
Leon said the state remains at risk from people not getting vaccinated.
“(E)specially due to the increased infectiousness of these new variants of concern, like the Delta variant. Therefore, people should continue to take precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19,” Leon said, adding: “The best thing people can do to protect themselves and keep COVID-19 levels low in NH is to be fully vaccinated.”
Becker’s Hospital Review ranked New Hampshire seventh of all states for the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated at 57.48 percent. That’s behind all other New England states and Maryland. Vermont ranked highest at 66 percent.