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New Hampshire outlines future vaccination phases, timeline

January 5, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire health officials on Tuesday outlined the next phases of the state’s vaccination plan, starting later this month and extending beyond May for younger and healthier residents.

The initial phase currently underway calls for vaccinating health care workers, first responders and nursing home residents. Elizabeth Daly, chief of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said the state has received nearly three-quarters of the doses needed to vaccinate the roughly 100,000 people in that group, and all are expected to get their first dose by the middle of this month.

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The next phase is expected to begin later this month and continue into March. During that time, the vaccine will be offered to those aged 75 and older; medically vulnerable adults who are at significant risk of complications and those caring for medically vulnerable children; staff and residents of facilities for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and corrections officers and staff.

The next phase will span March through May and will start with residents ages 65-75, school employees and child care center staff, to be followed by those ages 50-65. From May onward, the vaccine will be offered to medically vulnerable adults who are under 50 years old and then to anyone else who has not been vaccinated.

In other coronavirus developments:

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FEDERAL FUNDING

New Hampshire is expected to receive about $2 billion from the new federal COVID-19 relief package, according to the state’s U.S. senators who helped negotiate the bill.

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan said the estimate was provided Tuesday by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

“The CARES Act funding we fought to deliver to New Hampshire was crucial for mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 in our communities for small businesses, health care providers and many more. But we knew more help would be necessary, which is why bipartisan talks restarted and prevailed, and another set of relief will soon be out the door,” Shaheen said in a statement.

Hassan said she was particularly glad the state is expected to get more than $259 million for education.

“This substantial federal funding to New Hampshire will provide necessary support to help students, parents, and teachers with in-person and remote learning. While more relief will be needed in the coming months in order to save lives and help our economy recover, the federal funding that Senator Shaheen and I secured will go a long way to help families pay their bills and put food on the table,” she said.

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Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said the total includes $36 million for vaccine distribution, $20 million for child care programs, $180 million for virus testing, containment and contact tracing, $40 million for the highway fund and $200 million for rental assistance.

“All of these investments will allow our state to increase testing capacity, support child care and education, ramp up vaccine distribution and prevent people from losing their homes,” he said. “We’re doing very well here in New Hampshire, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s still a lot of families that are struggling.”

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JAIL OUTBREAK

Defense attorneys are pushing for telephone access to their clients at the Valley Street jail in Manchester, where 100 inmates and 27 staff have tested positive for the virus.

While many other counties have implemented direct phone access for attorney-client consultation, Hillsborough County has not, the New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys said in a press release Tuesday. Many attorneys have continued to enter jails and prisons out of obligation to their clients, the courts and the constitution, the group said.

“We have done so choosing to trust the facilities we enter are taking appropriate measures to mitigate spread and that, should there be a reason for us to not enter, they would tell us,” it said. “This risk is not one attorneys should be forced to take.”

Inmates were not tested in Manchester until last week. By Tuesday afternoon, half had tested positive.

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THE NUMBERS

Nearly 48,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 667 confirmed cases announced Tuesday that include numbers for several days. Eleven additional death were announced, bringing the total to 792.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire increased over the past two weeks, going from 788 new cases per day on Dec. 21 to 808 new cases per day on Jan. 4.