COVID by the Numbers-November 12 Edition
There is a wicked lot of COVID out there. And right here.
I wish I could give you hard data comparisons over time, but none of the New Hampshire numbers are particularly reliable right now.
Let’s start with vaccinations. Last week, NH DHHS announced that their records on the vaccination status of Granite Staters might not be accurate. Why is that? Well, you all remember when the vaccine first became available. You could only register for an appointment using the federal VAMS system, or by calling 211. It was complicated, and tedious, and did not work very well. We used VAMS because NH, alone of all the states, did not have its own vaccine registry. But we were promised that a brand new shiny registry run by the state would be up and running in a week or so. It took three month or so, but there was VINI, and it was certainly more user-friendly than VAMS. Then, as vaccines became more widely available, they were accessed in different ways. You could still sign up through the state web site, in which case, VINI would capture your information directly. Or you could sign up with the local Walgreens, or just stand in line at the pharmacy in the larger supermarkets. The problem is that the reporting system for these entities to get information to the state turns out to be less than seamless. Among other issues, there is confusion in the data reporting about which shots are being given to first-time recipients, and which are boosters. We were told at a recent press conference that the CDC was the best source for accurate information on vaccination rates in NH. The trouble is that the CDC web site reports some information and gives a link to click on for details. That link leads back to…the NH dashboards.
The good news is that people are getting shots, and now children as young as 5 are getting shots.
So what about what I normally report, which is infection rates? Well, it appears that a few weeks back, there was an issue with the reporting system that providers used to report cases to NH DHHS. For over a week, there was spotty reporting of data, or no data at all. Since then the reporting has resumed, but every day, NH DHHS releases The Number of New Cases. The current issue is that the number of new cases is just the number of cases reported the day before. But if you read the news updates, they then release revised numbers for the day before that, and the day before that. As an example, on November 10, NH DHHS reported 736 new cases for November 8th. But the news release also listed 18 cases from Friday, Nov. 5, 33 new cases from Saturday, Nov. 6, 13 new cases from Sunday, Nov. 7 and 1 new case for Monday, Nov. 8. So the totals for those past days all have to be recalculated.
The problem is that it is unclear, from the numbers, whether the sites that compare infection rates by state and county across the county go back and add in those extra numbers from days past. Possibly not, as one site regularly has lower rates for the state as a whole than the rates for the individual counties combined.
All of which is just a long explanation of why I have avoided reporting for a while. But we do know there is a wicked lot of COVID out there, so I want you to know that. Here are the best numbers I can find.
First, hospitalizations are up. There were 193 patients hospitalized for COVID at the beginning of November. The November 10 number was 244. Back on April 1, that number was 81.
If you look at the town maps (all of which have warnings that some map details may not be available) Walpole has 14 currently active reported cases, up from 8 on November 2nd, but down from 17 on November 8. There were 15 new cases reported in Walpole from November 1 to November 10. That compares with 22 new cases in Walpole for the entire month of October, and a high of 13 active cases reported on October 18.
In Cheshire County, there are 227 active cases reported as November 10, up from 215 at the beginning of the month. That number is still down from the active cases in October, which peaked at 280 on October 21. Currently, we appear to have the lowest infection rate in the state. Bear in mind that Sullivan county appears to have the highest.
Statewide, there are 5455 active cases reported currently. This is a number not seen since some time in January. And COVID deaths are on the rise again as well. 49 new deaths have been reported since the beginning of the month. 5 of these are deaths from earlier months just recently confirmed to be COVID related. 3 were from Cheshire County. As always, we mourn their passing, and grieve for their families and friends.
So the bottom line is…well, you know the bottom line. Get vaccinated if you are able, make careful choices about indoor gatherings, wear a mask when you are not certain, wash your hands, and stay safe.
~Rep. Lucy McVitty Weber
217 Old Keene Road
Walpole NH 03608