COVID-19

The deaths of 24 Cheshire County residents have now been attributed to COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with Saturday’s announcement of the death of another local woman.

As in the other seven deaths state health officials reported this weekend, the Cheshire County resident was 60 or older. The others involved a Sullivan County man, a Merrimack County man, two Rockingham County women and three Rockingham County men.

In the state’s daily updates on Saturday and Sunday, health officials also announced a total of 733 more positive tests for the novel coronavirus. They included 35 from Cheshire County, 14 from Sullivan County, 80 from parts of Hillsborough County outside Manchester and Nashua and 36 for which the county of residence had yet to be determined.

Statewide, 70,785 people have tested positive COVID-19, just under 94 percent (66,287 people) of whom have recovered, according to the latest data available from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. Slightly under 5 percent (3,365 people) have active infections, whereas the deaths of just under 2 percent (1,133 people) have been attributed to the virus.

The current cases include 127 in Cheshire County, 76 in Sullivan County, 445 in parts of Hillsborough County outside Manchester and Nashua, and 54 for which the county of residence was not yet known.

The current PCR test positivity rate was listed at 2.2 percent. State health officials don’t provide the antigen positivity rate in their daily updates.

As of Sunday morning, 126 people were in New Hampshire hospitals for COVID-19.

Just as the numbers of COVID-19 cases have begun to decline in New Hampshire, the state DHHS announced Friday its first detection of the UK variant. The highly contagious coronavirus variant was identified in a Hillsborough County resident who had “close contact” with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 after international travel, state health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the B.1.1.7 variant will likely become the predominant strain of the virus circulating in the U.S. in the near future.