Rapid COVID test kits will be a 'game changer' in helping to keep schools open

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The Abbott rapid testing kit (Courtesy/Abbott)

CONCORD - The immediate infusion of thousands of antigen rapid tests will be a "game changer" for many folks wondering if they or a loved one have COVID or not, Gov, Chris Sununu said during a weekly virus press conference on Thursday.

DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette said the state will be receiving 25,000 Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid-Antigen tests weekly that will be available at testing sites statewide, primarily targeted for students, teachers, emergency workers and others on the front lines.

Sununu said this will be particularly useful for parents who may have schoolchildren who are experiencing symptoms of unknown origin.

He said with the rapid tests, which take about 15 minutes to produce a result, could be used to get a child back into school more quickly and alleviate the need to quarantine.

Shibinette said the state will have received 400,000 such tests by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, DHHS announced that statewide there were 52 new positive test results for COVID-19 on Thursday, including five from Strafford County, which continues to be the only county in the state with a "moderate" transmission level, due in large part to two outbreaks at UNH.

Local numbers show Rochester and Durham both at 12, with Dover at 11, Barrington at five and Somersworth, Strafford, Farmington and Milton all at 1-4.

No new hospitalized cases were identified for a current total of 15, but there were two additional deaths due to COVID, both residents of longterm care facilities.

Current situation in NH

NH Persons with COVID-19 8,317

Recovered 7,534 (91%)

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 441 (5%)

Total Current COVID-19 Cases 342

Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19 738 (9%)

Current Hospitalizations 15

Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time) 2,750

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