Governor might say 'I do' on nod to June weddings, but receptions still toast

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said the reopening task force and state officials are looking closely at how to allow June brides to have their day. (You and your wedding photo)

CONCORD - For those curious about the state's mortality rate among confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of the hard-hit elderly congregate living facilities, it's about 1 percent, the governor said on Friday, about the same as the seasonal flu.

Additionally he confirmed that not one New Hampshire resident under 60 has died from the disease without the existence of an underlying condition such as heart or lung disease.

In fact, about 75 percent of those who have tragically died were living in nursing homes or other elder congregate living facilities.

DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibintette said on Friday that is why they are continuing to "sentinel test" all elder care homes throughout the state. Sentinel testing comprises random testing of all nursing home employees on a regular basis and will lead to a quicker diagnosis of where the next outbreak may occur.

"Usually when there's one person that tests positive in one of these homes there's more," said Shibinette, who added that testing all employees every day is not possible since even the quickest results take about 20 minutes to confirm.

"We'd be testing all day and that's just not practical," she said.

Much of the news at Friday's press conference was on the economic front, including the governor's announcement of $595 million in new funding industries across New Hampshire affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

"These funds are a major step forward in our efforts to provide Granite Staters affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis with relief," said Gov. Chris Sununu. "We are continuing to expand funding for our hospitals and health care facilities, we are committing an unprecedented amount into our non-profits and Main Street small businesses, investing in our farmers and food supply systems, and continuing to put dollars towards our childcare system, frontline workers, and higher education system. This is about delivering relief for Granite Staters as quickly as possible."

The relief funds announced today come at the recommendation of the Bipartisan Legislative Advisory Committee, and include:

Healthcare Relief Fund: $50,000,000

Non-Profit Relief Fund: $60,000,000

Child Care: $25,000,000

Main Street Relief Fund: $400,000,000.

Farm and Food: $15,000,000

Public Higher Education Relief Fund: $15,000,000

Business Finance Authority Safe Harbor Forgivable Loans: $30,000,000

The funds announced today follow $250,000,000 in previously committed relief funds.

To apply for the above funds go to

During a Q&A with the press Sununu also hinted that they are working on a plan to allow for weddings in the not too distant future, but receptions might be a tougher call.

"Weddings are a ceremony, but receptions are a party," Sununu quipped. "That's altogether different."

On the testing front, Shibinette didn't have specific numbers but said the rate of positivity among almost 4,000 tested was "very low." She said those who do test positive are asked to recall when they felt sick and who they were in contact with the two weeks after symptoms were felt, adding some said they never even recalled feeling sick.

Shibinette also announced 88 new positive test results three under the age of 18.

The new cases include three in Strafford County. She also announced five new cases who had to be hospitalized.

DHHS has also announced eight additional deaths including seven who lived in congregate living facilities. All of the deaths were residents of either Hillsborough or Rockingham counties.

Locally, the current cases show 28 in Rochester, 51 in Dover, 10 in Somersworth, 14 in Barrington, five in Farmington and 1-4 in Milton.

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