Coronavirus

Cheshire County added 24 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and Sunday, its biggest two-day total yet.

The N.H. Department of Health and Human Services announced nine new positives Saturday, a record for the county. That record was broken one day later, when the department said another 15 county residents had tested positive.

Cases have been climbing for the past several weeks both in Cheshire County and statewide. According to state health data, at least 50 Cheshire County residents tested positive in the past week, an average of seven per day.

Statewide, the health department announced 230 new cases Saturday and 249 Sunday, continuing a week with the highest case counts yet of the pandemic.

As of Sunday, 55 COVID-19 patients were in Granite State hospitals, up from 14 a month ago, according to state health data.

The percentage of people testing positive remained relatively low at around 2 percent.

But while New Hampshire is testing far more than in the spring, state health officials have said that does not fully explain the recent rise in known cases. They say the virus does seem to be spreading more in the community.

That’s true in every part of the state, from the more urbanized parts of Hillsborough County to the Monadnock Region to sparsely populated Coos County, officials have said.

Another important metric, hospitalizations, is also trending up. As of Sunday, 55 people were hospitalized in New Hampshire for COVID-19, compared to 14 a month ago.

Of the new cases announced this weekend, at least 24 were in Sullivan County and at least 55 in parts of Hillsborough County outside Manchester and Nashua. (The state had not determined residency for all new cases by the time it released the data each day.)

The state also announced another COVID-19-related death, that of a Belknap County man age 60 or older.

As of Sunday, the health department considered 1,903 people in New Hampshire to be actively infected, 62 of them in Cheshire County.

The local communities with known active cases were Rindge, with 18; Keene, with 17; New Ipswich, with nine; Jaffrey, with six; and Antrim, Bennington, Charlestown, Chesterfield, Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Harrisville, Hillsboro, Hinsdale, Marlborough, Peterborough, Stoddard, Surry, Swanzey, Troy, Washington, Westmoreland and Winchester, each of which had between one and four.Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @PCunoBoothKS