COVID by the Numbers-October 15 Edition
I keep thinking we have turned the corner, here in NH, and then I wait a day or two to write, just to be sure, and…no. The corner has not been turned. Which explains why it has been a month since I have written.
In the country as a whole, the average number of cases has been pretty much steadily declining, from a daily average of 175,882 cases at the height of the last surge, on September 13, to a current average of 84,245. That’s a huge drop—over 50%. In the last 14 days, the drop nationally was 22%. The current daily average of cases per 100,000 in the US population is 27. Although it is a mouthful, the daily average of cases per 100,000 is really useful, as it allows us to compare rates of infection in areas of vastly differing populations.
In NH, our numbers started to drop in mid-September. Then, slowly, they started to rise again. Statewide, our seven day average of cases per 100,000 is currently 40.3, well above the national average, and the highest in New England. California, by comparison, is down to 13.9, and Mississippi is at 16.9. Massachusetts is the lowest New England state at 20.4, followed by Rhode Island at 24.7, Maine at 30.1, and Vermont at 34.9.
Among the NH counties, Cheshire, at 40.2, just squeaks in under the state average. From lowest to highest, Rockingham is at 29.7, Grafton is as 32.7, Hillsborough is at 35.9, Carroll is at 37.1, Strafford is at 37.8, Cheshire is at 40.2, Merrimack is at 49.6, Belnap is at 55.0, Sullivan, right next to us, and usually with a very low average is currently at 85.1, and Coos, driven by the towns of Gorham and Berlin, is at a whopping 109.5.
Here in Walpole, we have gone from 1-5 currently active reported cases a month ago to 9 cases today. That is actually down from a high of 14on September 21, but it is still high for Walpole. We have had 16 new cases reported in town since the beginning of the month, for a total of 215 reported cases since the start of the pandemic.
In Cheshire County, the number of currently active reported cases is 246, down from a high of 249 yesterday. A month ago, that number was 218. Cheshire reached the milestone of 5000 reported cases since the start of the pandemic on or around September 29, and as of now, has had a total of 5454 reported cases. Cheshire County has had 2 new hospitalizations and lost 2 more of our citizens since the beginning of the month.
There has been some good news lately. The Pfizer vaccine is now available for third doses for those who are immuno-compromised, have certain underlying medical conditions, work in certain high-risk environments, and for those over 65 who got their second dose over 6 months ago. Vaccines are easily accessible. You can get an appointment at the local Walgreens—COVID shots are by appointment only, so call or make an appointment on their web site. You can get your flu shot at the same time, if you have not already had it.
An FDA panel this week recommended extra doses for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines as well, and those may be approved as early as the end of next week.
Pfizer has submitted its data on vaccine trials on 5-11 year olds to the FDA, so that age range may soon be eligible for the vaccine. NH DHHS officials have said emergency authorization may come as early as the first week in November.
Because of the backlog in COVID testing, four new dedicated testing sites are opening in NH, run by ClearChoiceMD. The nearest one is at the River Valley Community College site on College Place in Claremont, and it is open daily from 9am-3pm. It is a drive-up site, so you do not have to get out of your car. They are hoping to deliver results within 48 hours, and you do not need to be symptomatic to get the test. I am not sure whether an appointment is needed or not, so you may want to contact ClearChoiceMD before you go.
Take good care and stay well.
~Rep. Lucy McVitty Weber
217 Old Keene Road
Walpole NH 03608