New Hampshire to accept Trump’s plan to extend unemployment
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is accepting President Donald Trump’s plan to boost unemployment benefits during the coronavirus pandemic, with the state’s share amounting to less than $10 million, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday.
A federally funded $600 weekly benefit expired in July and Congress has been unable to agree to a broader new coronavirus relief plan. Trump signed an executive order Aug. 8 to extend the benefit but cut it to $300 or $400 a week, depending on which plan governors choose. States are required to chip in $100 per claimant to be able to send out the higher amount. Sununu said anyone who already is getting $100 from the state will get an additional $300 without the state having to pay more. That amounts to about 95% of recipients, and for the rest, the state will bring them up to $100 so they can qualify for the additional money, he said.
The payments will be retroactive to Aug. 1, he said, but will take some time to process. Most recipients should get checks in two to three weeks, he said, but others might wait five weeks.
“Participating in this program will pump another $340 million into the state’s economy over the next 22 weeks at a minimal cost to the state,” he said.
Since March, New Hampshire residents have collected $1.2 billion in unemployment benefits, Sununu said.
BIKE WEEK Billboards and banners are part of the plan to ensure the annual Motorcycle Week gathering in Laconia stays safe, Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 22-30. Liquor enforcement officials have been reaching out to restaurants and bars to remind them of rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and city and state officials also are working with campground owners and lodging properties to spread the word, Sununu said.
The state also plans to put up billboards and fly planes carrying banners reminding attendees that masks are required for large events with more than 100 people.
“We’ve made it clear that any intentional disregard of safety guidance is unacceptable,” Sununu said.
NURSING HOME OUTBREAKS
The number of New Hampshire nursing homes with active coronavirus outbreaks has dropped to two, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said.
At the peak of the pandemic, 29 facilities had outbreaks. To be removed from the list, a facility has to go 14 days without anyone testing positive. The last two facilities are likely to reach that threshold in the next few days, she said.
The results of a recent investigation into whether ventilation played a role in spreading the virus in long-term care facilities are expected next week.
As of Tuesday, 7,017 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, an increase of 13 from the previous day. One new death was announced, for a total of 424. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks from 28 new cases per day on Aug. 3 to 23 new cases per day on Aug. 17.
Less than 1% of tests are coming back positive, and hospitalizations are at the lowest level since the early days of the pandemic, state epidemiologist Dr. Ben Chan said.
Though transmission continues, “We have been successful at managing and controlling the spread of COVID-19,” he said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.