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The state’s decline in new cases continued over the past week, albeit at a slower place than at the end of April.

New COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire continued to drop over the past week, though the decline has slowed compared to the last half of April.

Meanwhile, active cases ticked up in Keene. The city had 65 known active cases on Friday, compared to 48 a week earlier.

Keene State College has also seen an increase in cases, college President Melinda Treadwell noted in an email to students Wednesday that urged continued compliance with mask-wearing and other precautions.

As of Friday, 42 active cases were connected with the college, all but one of them students, 28 of which were new since Monday, according to data posted on Keene State’s website. Meanwhile, wastewater testing has confirmed that the more contagious B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants — first identified in the U.K. and South Africa, respectively — are circulating in Keene, according to Treadwell’s email.

“I’ve been so proud of all your hard work, and I understand it is difficult,” Treadwell wrote. “Now is not the time to let our guard down.”

Statewide, the seven-day average for new cases was 222 on Friday, down from 251 a week earlier. One week before that, New Hampshire was averaging 338 new cases daily.

New Hampshire’s numbers are continuing to slowly trend down, Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, said at a news conference Thursday, “but COVID-19 still remains high in many of our communities, and so the risk still remains throughout the state. Both high vaccination rates combined with ongoing mask use, social distancing and avoiding crowds and gatherings, together, will bring our numbers down more quickly.”

More than half of the state’s population has had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.

Eighty-four people were in New Hampshire hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 as of Friday, according to the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, down from 94 a week earlier.

The state health department announced six COVID-related deaths over the past week, none in Cheshire County. Two of the people who died were under 60, and the rest were 60 or older.

New Hampshire had 1,772 known active cases as of Friday. More than 96,000 Granite Staters have tested positive since the pandemic began, and 1,311 are known to have died from the disease.

The local picture

Cheshire County had 110 known active cases as of Friday, about the same as last week.

Among communities in The Sentinel’s coverage area, the following had active cases: Keene (65), Winchester (13), Charlestown (12), Rindge (11), Jaffrey (5), Swanzey (5) and, with one to four cases each, Alstead, Antrim, Bennington, Greenfield, Hancock, Harrisville, Hinsdale, Marlborough, Peterborough, Richmond, Stoddard, Troy, Walpole and Westmoreland.

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