The Bulletin Board

Officials report 22 current hospitalizations, three deaths this week related to COVID-19

By: - July 22, 2021 5:52 pm
Gov. Sununu at a podium

Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement supporting the attorney general’s decision to join the lawsuit.(Courtesy)

Over 99 percent of COVID-19 deaths in a several-state study over the last six months were unvaccinated people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported the number while urging more people to get vaccinated. In New Hampshire, that data is not being closely tracked for deaths or hospitalizations, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

At a COVID-19 update Thursday, State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said 22 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Three people have died this week from COVID-19, he said, and the state is investigating two outbreaks, one at the Laconia Rehabilitation Center involving 12 people and another at Epsom HealthCare Center involving six people. 

Asked how many of the hospitalizations and deaths involved unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, Sununu said, “I don’t think we have an exact number for that,” and said he was confident the state’s hospitals could handle COVID-19 cases. 

“I think at one time we had over 300 folks in our hospitals with COVID and the fact that we’re at 22 … it’s a very manageable number in that we have the services and the staff,” he said. “We don’t have the workforce crunch or the nursing shortage that we had or the lack of ventilators. So the good news is that the hospitals are very geared up and very prepared to give the best quality of care for anyone who does require hospitalization.”

While the state is not tracking cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among unvaccinated people, it has been tracking “breakthrough” cases among those vaccinated since Feb. 1, the first month people could have been fully vaccinated. 

Since then, 22 of the 391 people hospitalized for COVID-19 were vaccinated, said Jake Leon,  spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Beth Daly, chief of the state Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, said there have been 10 deaths and 505 positive tests among vaccinated people. 

Leon said it is difficult to track the vaccination status of people currently hospitalized because hospitals report only the total number of hospitalizations, not whether patients are vaccinated, he said. 

In early July, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said a study of several states showed that unvaccinated people accounted for 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths. She cited the statistics while pleading with unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. The percentage is slightly lower, 97 percent, among hospitalizations, she said.  

With vaccines available across the country, the suffering and loss we are now seeing is nearly entirely avoidable,” she said.

Sununu urged the same at Thursday’s press conference. “I just want to kick things off by making the same plea you’ve heard us make countless times for the last 18 months,” Sununu said. “Folks really need to get vaccinated. The Delta variant is very severe. It’s very real. It’s having a very significant impact specifically with the unvaccinated populations.”

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.