CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is getting an additional $11.7 million from the massive federal coronavirus relief package to help community service programs and the homeless, the state's congressional delegation announced Thursday.
Here are the latest coronavirus developments across the state:
AID FOR COMMUNITIES, HOMELESS
The $11.7 million in additional federal funding can be used to expand community health facilities, child care centers, food banks and senior services.
The money will also support eviction prevention, rental deposit assistance and homelessness prevention programs.
The funding comes in addition to the $1.25 billion in federal aid for coronavirus response efforts announced last week, and $147 million announced Tuesday for schools, transit, law enforcement, child care, low-income heating and other needs.
More than 475 people in New Hampshire have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Five people have died, and more than 70 have been hospitalized. The latest death, which was reported Thursday, was described by the state as a person under 60 with underlying health conditions.
For most people, the virus 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, or death.
More than 27,000 initial unemployment claims were filed in New Hampshire last week, down slightly from the previous week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.
The latest number covers new claims through March 28. The number was over 29,000 for the week ending March 21.
George Copadis, commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Employment Security, said last week that before the coronavirus hit, the department averaged about 500 claims a week.
In Claremont, Shawn Dean said she tried to call the department March 27 on behalf of her husband, who provides customer service for an internet provider and has had his hours cut. Dean, 57, wasn’t able to get through but left a call-back number. She was shocked when her phone rang two days later at 9:01 a.m.
"It’s Sunday! Holy cow! And on the other end of the phone was Lucas, all bright and cheery, all ready to help me,” she said Thursday. “This guy was outstanding. He explained the process and said ‘Yes, you most definitely can apply.’”
Dean will attempt that on Friday. Because the system has been so strained, claimants are assigned certain days to apply based on the first letters of their last name.
Those who wish to file a claim can go to www.nhes.nh.gov or call 271-7700.
FOREST SITES, REST STOP CLOSURES
The state has announced that its 12 rest areas and welcome centers will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
All of the rest areas are equipped with portable toilets. The New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs did not say when the rest areas would reopen.
Meanwhile, more sites in the White Mountain National Forest have been shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Appalachian Mountain Club Visitor Center grounds, parking lots and facilities at Pinkham Notch are closed, as well as the Tuckerman and Huntington ravines and Gulf of Slides ski trail, forest officials said Thursday.
The closures were made to limit large gatherings and reduce the need for staff and volunteers who help with search-and-rescue efforts.
SOME INMATES RELEASED
Some county jail inmates in New Hampshire who were convicted or accused of nonviolent crimes have been released to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
New Hampshire Public Radio reports the jail in Rockingham County has released about a dozen people. County Corrections Superintendent Stephen Church said such releases often include restrictions or requirements, such as daily check-ins, electronic monitoring or participation in programming.
The majority of inmates who have been released by county jails were close to the end of their sentences, or had already been on work or weekend releases.
Correctional facilities across the state are putting new inmates under quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.