Sununu touts NH response to COVID-19, says there’s still work to do

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Manchester Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Skelton (left) and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. Screenshot/Manchester Chamber of Commerce

MANCHESTER, N.H. and CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu got his chance to give his State of the State discussion with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce on Thursday via video conference after being postponed several months after its originally scheduled date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to a series of questions posed by Manchester Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Skelton, Sununu said he does expect New Hampshire to have another spike in COVID-19 cases at some point in the future, but also said that New Hampshire has coped well with the onslaught of the pandemic, balancing safety and safeguarding the state’s economy.

“We’re in very good shape right now, especially compared to other states,” said Sununu. “We’ve had to make incredibly tough decisions.”

Sununu acknowledged that his administration’s decisions have not made everyone happy, with some saying the re-opening process has occurred too slowly and other saying it has occurred too fast, but he told Skelton that state officials have been working on a response to the pandemic since the disease arose in China last December and the state’s pandemic response is an ongoing step-by-step process.

In response to the pandemic, many local and state governmental services, such as the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles, have begun to provide more online services, something Sununu hopes will become a permanent option for New Hampshire residents after the pandemic ends.

The governor told the remotely gathered audience that he has worked with governors of other states, all of which face different situations with the pandemic, adding that he recommends anyone coming in from any other states to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 if they can. He reiterated that request for Granite Staters to get tested as well, stating that it will be paid for by government sources or healthcare providers and is a fairly simple process.

Sununu touted his administration’s new task forces on helping bridge gaps in healthcare access for the elderly and minority groups in the state as well as its ability to get $5 billion of support funding to local businesses over the past two months. While he noted that he looks at data and expected outcomes before providing state funding for organizations, he says that more support is on the way for local governments as well as New Hampshire hospitals hit hardest by the outbreak such as Catholic Medical Center and Elliot Hospital in Manchester.

He also criticized the New Hampshire General Court for not focusing enough on providing legislation that could help Granite Staters, focusing instead of re-introducing vetoed legislation that legislators know he will veto again.

Looking forward, Sununu believes that local and state officials will be able to prepare safe and efficient elections this fall and will continue to adjust business-specific guidance on how to react to the pandemic as needed.  He also urged the audience to cooperate with contract tracing efforts and continue acting responsibly by wearing masks in public and maintaining social distancing when possible.

“If you can wear a mask, wear a mask,” said Sununu. “Why not? It costs nothing.”

Video of the event can be seen here.



About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.