CONCORD — On Sunday, Feb. 21, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced 267 new positive test results for COVID-19, for a current PCR test positivity rate of 2 percent.
DHHS has also announced one death related to COVID-19, a female resident of Coos County, 60 years of age and older. A total of 36 people in Coos County have died from the disease since the pandemic began.
There are currently 109 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 (none in Coos County). In New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 73,413 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed (1,273 in Coos).
The results include 184 people who tested positive by PCR test and 83 who tested positive by antigen test. There are now 2,940 current COVID-19 cases diagnosed in New Hampshire (57 in Coos).
Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those new cases with complete information, there are 34 individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 52 percent being female and 48 percent being male. The new cases reside in Rockingham (56), Strafford (49), Merrimack (36), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (33), Cheshire (11), Grafton (7), Coos (6), Carroll (4), Belknap (2), and Sullivan (2) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (24) and Nashua (22). The county of residence is being determined for 15 new cases.
Community-based transmission continues to occur in the state and has been identified in all counties. Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
State officials last week that there has been a rise in cases at colleges and universities in New Hampshire, with outbreaks at the University of New Hampshire in Durham (200 active cases) and Plymouth State University (78 cases).
State officials also reported that the B.1.1.7 variant (the “U.K. variant”) of the COVID-19 coronavirus was detected in a New Hampshire resident for the first time.
The person infected with the variant virus is an adult resident of Hillsborough county who did not travel but had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 after international travel. Contact tracing has identified close household contacts, but no other community exposures have been identified.
Public health isolation, quarantine and testing guidance was followed, including testing of all close household contacts to identify asymptomatic infection. As a result, there is not believed to be risk to the community from this case.
“The presence of a COVID-19 variant in New Hampshire is not surprising, and we will likely see increasing numbers of infections from the B.1.1.7 variant,” said Dr. Benjamin Chan, state epidemiologist.
“The CDC has estimated that the variant will likely become the predominant circulating variant in the U.S. in the near future. The best way to avoid exposure to this highly contagious variant is to wear a mask, social distance and frequent hand washing. We continue to recommend that any person with new or unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 be tested for COVID-19.”
For more information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection about new COVID-19 variants, go to cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html. For more information on COVID-19 in New Hampshire, go towww.nh.gov/covid19. Information on how to access the COVID-19 vaccine is available at www.vaccines.nh.gov.