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N.H. Governor Sununu, citing rise in cases, hospitalizations, says COVID-19 winter surge is now ‘rearing its ugly head’

The governor pictured in July.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said Tuesday that his state is experiencing a winter surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and he urged people to get vaccinated and get their booster shots.

“There’s no doubt we’re seeing record levels of cases, we’re seeing record levels of hospitalizations. This winter surge that we predicted is unfortunately now rearing its ugly head. And we’re definitely in the throes of it not just here in New Hampshire, but across all of Northern New England,” he said.

“We see more breakthrough cases coming through, especially with the Delta variant, so we do need everyone to get vaccinated, we need everyone to get their booster shots,” he said.

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Sununu announced the locations of 15 sites for the state’s one-day COVID-19 vaccine “Booster Blitz” on Dec. 11. The Delta variant remains the predominant variant in the United States, even as concerns rise about the Omicron variant.

Sununu, a Republican, said during an afternoon press briefing that the sites for the blitz will be located in Berlin, Claremont, Colebrook, Concord, Hanover, Keene, Laconia, Manchester, Milford, North Conway, Plymouth, Rochester, Salem, Stratham, and Woodsville, according to WMUR-TV.

“It’s [a] pretty awesome opportunity spread out all across the state for folks to come in,” Sununu said of the blitz. “I think something close to 10,000 boosters is planned for that single day. Ten thousand. That’s a pretty aggressive day without a doubt.”

Starting Wednesday, New Hampshire residents can register for the Booster Blitz online at vaccines.nh.gov.

“Prevention is obviously super critical,” Sununu told reporters. “We talk about it all the time. We do have the tools to actually move beyond the COVID crisis and it really revolves around the vaccine. Everything is about the vaccine at this point. Given that, [state] Health and Human Services will increase access to vaccination and testing sites for the next several months.”

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Sununu added that a home testing kit program in the state “opened up yesterday and was incredibly successful in just the first 24 hours.”

Hospitalization numbers, Sununu said, are “going up” and “likely going to continue to go up, and no one is truly immune from it. We want to get vaccinated from it, of course, but everyone really needs to take action in terms of keeping themselves, their family, and their community safe.”

He said state officials were working with hospitals and watching the situation “very, very closely.” He also said he was issuing a new executive order that will “hopefully help increase hospital capacity and aid hospitals.”

New Hampshire on Wednesday afternoon was reporting an 11.2 percent positive test rate for the last seven days, with 377 people currently hospitalized, according to the official state website.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.