AP NEWS

New Hampshire officials urge medical supply distribution

March 21, 2020 GMT
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announces a series of emergency orders on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Concord, N.H., in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The orders create immediate access to unemployment benefits for residents unable to work or facing reduced hours due to the new coronavirus pandemic. He also took steps to protect people from being evicted or having utilities shut off in the next few weeks. (AP photo/Holly Ramer)
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announces a series of emergency orders on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Concord, N.H., in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The orders create immediate access to unemployment benefits for residents unable to work or facing reduced hours due to the new coronavirus pandemic. He also took steps to protect people from being evicted or having utilities shut off in the next few weeks. (AP photo/Holly Ramer)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s governor and the four members of its congressional delegation are urging President Donald Trump to take additional action to get critical medical supplies to the state.

In a letter they made public Saturday, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, and U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas thanked Trump for his announcement that he would use the Defense Production Act to expand domestic manufacturing of critical medical supplies.

The letter to the president came as the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services changed its recommendations for who should be tested for COVID-19, focusing on people who could be at highest risk.

The intent of the testing changes is to preserve the state’s inventory of the materials needed to care for patients who will develop severe COVID-19 illness, as well as exposed health care providers and exposed first responders.

The governor and the delegation urged Trump to begin distributing existing materials from the National Strategic Stockpile while domestic production ramps up.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough, and the vast majority recover. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

More than 65 people have tested positive in New Hampshire for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Three people have been hospitalized.

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HANDMADE MASKS

New Hampshire’s largest hospital is encouraging volunteers to sew face masks for patients, visitors and staff so that medical-grade protective equipment can be conserved for front-line health care workers.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is preparing kits with fabric and elastic for pickup and has set up a website with directions on how to sew the masks based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Donations can be dropped off either at the hospital’s service center warehouse in Lebanon or at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in Manchester. The masks will be sanitized and distributed throughout the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Kristin Roth, the hospital’s director of volunteer services, says the nearly 500 people who typically volunteer at the facility have been eager to step up.

“We were being inundated with questions about, ‘How can I help?’” she said Saturday.

Businesses also are helping. F.H. Clothing Co. in Quechee, Vermont, plans to start making masks on Monday.

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