Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup for 7/30/2020
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today continued to take action in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Additional Resources:

Reaching Higher Report Raises Serious Questions About Governor Sununu’s $1.5 Million Dollar Grant to Private Schools
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CONCORD – Today, Reaching Higher, an independent, non-partisan 501c3 group released a report that raises serious questions about Governor Sununu’s $1.5 million grant to private and religious schools.

In response, House Finance Chair Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) and Senate Finance Chair Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), who both serve on the Governor’s Office for Economic Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) Legislative Advisory Board, released the following statement:

“From the onset the decision for the governor to allocate $1.5 million to private schools was questionable,” said House Finance Mary Jane Wallner. “Governor Sununu claims that through the CARES Act, public schools have already received enough funding to transition to COVID learning environments. But school districts, teachers, and superintendents disagree. Instead of ensuring that our public traditional and charter schools have the resources necessary to provide safe learning environments for all students, the Governor is diverting taxpayer dollars to benefit private and religious schools. While Sununu’s K-12 grant delivers approximately $1,875 per student at religious and private schools, his administration has awarded just $213 per student at public traditional and charter schools. This disparity harms New Hampshire public schools and the burden of these costs will be downshifted onto the backs of property taxpayers.”

“What’s further discouraging is that Governor Sununu just allocated $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to a fund where over 60% of the money was not even used for student scholarships. This is simply irresponsible,” said Senate Finance Chair Lou D'Allesandro. “Knowing that most of that $1.5 million will never make it to New Hampshire families this year in this state I encourage the governor to repeal the grant and reallocate those critical funds - as well as the remainder of his Governor’s Education Fund - to our public schools that need the aid to deal with the uncertainties this school year will bring. At our next GOFERR Legislative Advisory Board meeting, we will hear from stakeholders about the ongoing needs of our public schools. House and Senate Democrats will continue to strongly advocate for our public schools.”

CMS and CDC Announce Provider Reimbursement Available for Counseling Patients to Self-Isolate at Time of COVID-19 Testing
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Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are announcing that payment is available to physicians and health care providers to counsel patients, at the time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing, about the importance of self-isolation after they are tested and prior to the onset of symptoms.


The transmission of COVID-19 occurs from both symptomatic, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals emphasizing the importance of education on self-isolation as the spread of the virus can be reduced significantly b
y having patients isolated earlier, while waiting for test results or symptom onset. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) models show that when individuals who are tested for the virus are separated from others and placed in quarantine, there can be up to an 86 percent reduction in the transmission of the virus compared to a 40 percent decrease in viral transmission if the person isolates after symptoms arise.


Provider counseling to patients, at the time of their COVID-19 testing, will include the discussion of immediate need for isolation, even before results are available, the importance to inform their immediate household that they too should be tested for COVID-19, and the review of signs and symptoms and services available to them to aid in isolating at home. In addition, they will be counseled that if they test positive, to wear a mask at all times and they will be contacted by public health authorities and asked to provide information for contact tracing and to tell their immediate household and recent contacts in case it is appropriate for these individuals to be tested for the virus and to self-isolate as well.

CMS will use existing evaluation and management (E/M) payment codes to reimburse providers who are eligible to bill CMS for counseling services no matter where a test is administered, including doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, hospitals and community drive-thru or pharmacy testing sites.


Further information and resource links are available in the Counseling Check List PDF here:

https://www.cms.gov/files/document/counseling-checklist.pdf

Senate Omnibus Bill to Protect Granite State Workers Sent to Sununu for his Action
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CONCORD - Today, HB 1494 was delivered to the Secretary of State. As amended, HB 1494 covers a variety of workers’ protections including health and safety standards and a state death benefit. It next goes to the governor’s desk where he will have five business days to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature.

Senator Kevin Cavanaugh (D-Manchester) issued the following statement in response:

“From the first day of the coronavirus crisis, our state employees have stepped up for the safety and wellbeing of New Hampshire. They have taken our emergency calls and provided support, oftentimes at personal risk to themselves and their families. For many, they have done this despite the governor’s rejection of the contracts approved by the various state employee bargaining units. Their work has kept the state running and is deserving of more than words of thanks. It is time that we put long term benefits in place including health and safety standards, a state death benefit, clarified workers’ compensation, and support for our unions. I urge the Governor Sununu to stand with our state employees in a meaningful, long term way, and sign HB 1494.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Daily Roundup for 7/29/2020
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today continued to take action in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • On July 28, the FDA updated the Molecular Diagnostic templates. The Molecular Diagnostic templates include recommendations for laboratories and commercial manufacturers who may use the templates to help facilitate the preparation and submission of requests for emergency use authorizations (EUAs). The updates are regarding diagnostic tests for use with sample pooling, at the point of care, and in the detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens such as viruses that cause influenza.

  • Today, the FDA posted a new template for commercial manufacturers to help facilitate the preparation and submission of emergency use authorization (EUA) requests for prescription or non-prescription COVID-19 diagnostic tests that can be performed entirely outside of a laboratory, such as at home, in schools or in other non-lab settings.

  • Testing updates:
    • To date, the FDA has currently authorized 193 tests under EUAs; these include 158 molecular tests, 33 antibody tests, and 2 antigen tests.

Additional Resources:

NH DHHS COVID-19 Update – July 29, 2020
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Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued the following update on the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, DHHS announced 17 new positive test results for COVID-19. There have now been 6,513 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in New Hampshire. Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those with complete information, there are two individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 59% being female and 41% being male. The new cases reside in Rockingham (5), Belknap (1), and Strafford (1), and in the cities of Manchester (9) and Nashua (1).

No new hospitalized cases were identified for a total of 690 (11%) of 6,513 cases. One of the new cases had no identified risk factors. Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties. Most of the remaining cases have either had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or have recently traveled.

DHHS has also announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19. We offer our sympathies to the family and friends.

  • 1 female resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older
  • 1 male resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older

Current Situation in New Hampshire

New Hampshire 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Summary Report
(data updated July 29, 2020, 9:00 AM)

NH Persons with COVID-191

6,513

Recovered

5,710 (88%)

Deaths Attributed to COVID-19

411 (6%)

Total Current COVID-19 Cases

392

Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19

690 (11%)

Current Hospitalizations

22

Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)2

157,397

Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Antibody Laboratory Tests2

26,674

Persons with Specimens Submitted to NH PHL

36,286

Persons with Test Pending at NH PHL3

550

Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time)

3,200

1Includes specimens positive at any laboratory and those confirmed by CDC confirmatory testing.

2Includes specimens tested at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.

3Includes specimens received and awaiting testing at NH PHL. Does not include tests pending at commercial laboratories.

Number of Tests Conducted by Date of Report to NH DHHS

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests

Testing Laboratory

7/22

7/23

7/24

7/25

7/26

7/27

7/28

Daily Average

NH Public Health Laboratories

998

640

567

267

451

53

279

465

LabCorp

1,166

1,172

854

762

534

628

57

739

Quest Diagnostics

547

840

344

205

714

540

1,153

620

Mako Medical

423

1,164

600

591

395

1,383

646

743

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

238

179

282

137

127

42

224

176

Other NH Hospital Laboratory

127

87

94

77

106

146

133

110

Other Laboratory*

34

36

11

36

28

49

5

28

Total

3,533

4,118

2,752

2,075

2,355

2,841

2,497

2,882

Antibody Laboratory Tests

Testing Laboratory

7/22

7/23

7/24

7/25

7/26

7/27

7/28

Daily Average

LabCorp

25

20

18

12

10

6

0

13

Quest Diagnostics

122

120

100

112

27

39

126

92

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

18

25

4

21

1

16

20

15

Other Laboratory*

4

11

9

12

0

6

0

6

Total

169

176

131

157

38

67

146

126

* Includes out-of-state public health laboratories, out-of-state hospital laboratories, and other commercial laboratories not listed in the above table.

NH DHHS Daily Update on COVID-19 Archive

For more information, please visit the DHHS COVID-19 webpage at https://www.nh.gov/covid19.

HB 1245, Agency Omnibus Legislation Signed Into Law
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CONCORD – Today, Governor Sununu signed HB 1245, a 79 page omnibus bill concerning state agencies, into law.

Senate President Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) issued the following statement in response:

“Yesterday, Governor Sununu vetoed HB 1234, a non-partisan bill containing requests from his own department heads, and in his veto message questioned the integrity of the legislative process, falsely claiming that the legislation lacked a public hearing. I am pleasantly surprised to see that just 24 hours later, the Governor has signed HB 1245 into law. I’m glad he has so quickly reversed his position on omnibus legislation and I thank the Legislature for its diligence in crafting this bill.”

On Background:

· HB 1245 consisted of text from the following bills:

o SB 437 relative to incarceration under a suspended sentence

o SB 589 allowing seasonal docks on certain lots in the town of Freedom

o HB 1245 establishing a legislative committee to review all non-regulatory boards, commissions, councils, advisory committees, and task forces established by statute, repealing various statutory boards, commissions, councils, committees, task forces, and reducing the membership on certain statutory committees

o HB 1230 relative to credit for reinsurance

o SB 704 relative to a technical change to certain appeals

o SB 441 relative to the definition of secured premises for the purpose of criminal trespass

o HB 1375 relative to cancellations of commercial insurance policies

o SB 430 relative to the child fatality review committee

o SB 434 relative to the purchasing authority of the department of administrative services

o SB 445 relative to residency of children of members of the armed forces

o SB 452 making certain technical changes to the insurance laws

o SB 462 relative to state energy management

o SB 472 relative to funds for the division of veterans services

o SB 517 relative to the public information and permitting functions of the office of the commissioner in the department of environmental services

o SB 539 relative to classification of certain employee positions

o SB 544 relative to the filing of administrative rules by state agencies

o SB 595 relative to certain unclassified positions in the department of health and human services

o SB 627 establishing a dock registration procedure

o SB 628 relative to the authority of the department of environmental services for emergency action at hazardous dams

o SB 632 relative to enforcement of the state building code by municipalities and the state fire marshal

o SB 636 authorizing the commissioner of safety to appoint security officers at department facilities

o SB 729 relative to the board of medical imaging and radiation therapy

o SB 738 relative to suspension or revocation of motor carrier privileges for default, noncompliance, or nonpayment of fine

o SB 740 relative to the definition of health care facility under the state board of fire control

o SB 752 relative to the authority of the department of administrative services, division of personnel

o SB 471 relative to funds for the division of veterans services

o HB 501 (2nd new title) using fees from registration of commercial animal food sellers to fund the cost of care program in the department of agriculture, markets, and food and establishing a commission to study the identification of unregistered animal feed products being sold remotely in New Hampshire

o SB 668 establishing an offshore wind commission, establishing an office of offshore wind industry development in the department of business and economic affairs, and making an appropriation therefor

o SB 248 increasing the age for sales and possession of tobacco products including House Amendment 2020-1095s

o SB 418 relative to workers' compensation auditable policies

o SB 672 relative to behavioral health services for children and certain revisions to notifications of discharge for individuals found incompetent to stand trial and nonemergency involuntary admissions revocation of conditional discharge

o SB 706 relative to appeals under New Hampshire's Child Protection Act

o Amendment from Rep. Smith extending the Commission on Structures in Tidal Waterways to Nov. 1, 2021

o SB 621 (New Title) relative to specialty beverages.

o SB 633 relative to recovery housing

o HB 1252 relative to large groundwater withdrawals from replacement wells

o HB 647 relative to lucky 7 tickets

Omnibus Health Care Legislation Signed Into Law
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CONCORD - Today, HB 1639, a bipartisan omnibus health care bill, was signed into law.

Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye) issued the following statement in response:

“New Hampshire’s health care system will be recovering from the direct and indirect impacts of the coronavirus pandemic for years to come. HB 1639 works to address not only the immediate needs as related to the virus, including authorizing pharmacists to administer a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available, but the long term effects on public health by giving the state the necessary funding and tools to study and expand treatment and recovery options for opioid addiction. This comprehensive legislation is the result of bipartisan collaboration and I am happy to see it signed into law today.”

On Background:

· HB 1639 includes text from the following bills:

o SB 507 relative to prescription medication for treatment or prevention of communicable disease

o SB 531 relative to prior authorizations under group health insurance policies and managed care

o SB 619 repealing the sunset provision for insurance coverage for oral anti-cancer therapies

o SB 447 relative to pharmacy audit provisions

o SB 693 allowing health maintenance organizations to write preferred provider organization products for Medicare Advantage

o SB 749 relative to non-covered services under dental insurance plans

o HB 1639 relative to “In and Out Medical Assistance”

o SB 718 relative to the New Hampshire state health improvement plan and making an appropriation therefor

o SB 546 relative to management of chronic pain

o HB 1287 relative to the duration of antibiotic therapy for tick-borne illness.

o SB 598 adding physician assistants to the law governing advance directives

o SB 597 relative to licensure of physician assistants

o SB 620 relative to coverage for certain biologically-based mental illnesses

o SB 744 establishing a commission to review drug overdose fatality information and data

o SB 762 establishing an opioid abatement trust fund.

o SB 762 establishing an opioid abatement trust fund.

o SB 645 relative to the New Hampshire granite advantage health care trust fund

o SB 519 relative to special health care services licenses

o SB 476 relative to certain procedures conducted in teaching hospitals

o Language to ensure pharmacists can administer a COVID vaccine if it’s developed.

HB 1558, Omnibus Education Bill Signed Into Law
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CONCORD - Today, HB 1558, an omnibus education bill was signed into law.

Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) issued the following statement in response:

“This bill combines efforts of many House and Senate members, Republicans and Democrats, as well as stakeholders, to bring together legislation that makes improvements for our schools, students, towns and municipalities.

Every child and teacher should have the support they need in school to be successful. This legislation provides guidance for schools to assure safety, have access to behavioral health resources and training programs, have greater flexibility to address fiscal concerns when budgets and revenues are uncertain.

The welfare of children in schools is addressed through sections updating policies on discipline and suspension, brain injury recovery, sexual abuse prevention training, multi-tiered systems of support for behavioral wellness, change of school assignment, reporting violence in schools and criminal history background checks of school bus drivers and attendants.

School district funding concerns are addressed through increased reserve limits, setting bond authorization levels at town meetings, and funding to districts transitioning to full-day kindergarten funding during this biennium.

I thank my colleagues for their support. These changes will keep New Hampshire schools competitive with changes made in surrounding states and across the country.”

On Background:

· All the underlying legislation contained in HB 1558 passed through committee with broad bipartisan support. HB 1558 includes texts from the following bills:

o HB 677 relative to discipline of students, addressing students’ behavioral needs, and making an appropriation therefor

o SB 625-FN-A relative to kindergarten funding

o SB 661 relative to economic revitalization zone tax credits and the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership (NH GRIP)

o HB 1558 relative to the provision of special education services for older students

o SB 556 relative to violence in schools

o SB 584 relative to policies for students with head injuries

o SB 711 relative to child sexual abuse prevention education and training

o SB 563 relative to authorizing the issuance of bonds or notes by a municipality

o SB 565 adding the chancellor of the university system of New Hampshire to the department of business and economic affairs council of partner agencies

o HB 1328 relative to a change of school or assignment due to manifest educational hardship.

o SB 675 relative to school board expenditure of year-end fund balances

o SB 665, relative to a children's system of care and student wellness

Governor Sununu Vetoes SB 311
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CONCORD - Today, Governor Sununu vetoed SB 311, Senator Martha Hennessey’s (D-Hanover) bill to provide for an annulment of a criminal record without payment of a fee in certain cases and specify a waiting period for the annulment of simple possession drug-related offenses.

Senator Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover) issued the following statement in response:

“The criminal justice system does not exist on a level playing field. We know that there are disproportionate consequences for low income individuals that can lead to long term employment and housing challenges that harm the individual, their families, and their communities. SB 311 sought to create a more equitable system of justice. I am disappointed in Governor Sununu’s veto today and will continue to support changes that create a just system for all.”