Coronavirus

Six new positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Cheshire County on a day when the state announced a record 323 new positive test results for the disease.

“If you ask me where we’re gonna be in two weeks, I think we’re over a thousand,” said Gov. Chris Sununu at a news conference Thursday.Cheshire County, with 90 known cases, has about 3.6 percent of the total cases in New Hampshire, according the Department of Health and Human Services. The statewide total of current cases stands at 2,528.

The state health department also reported three additional deaths, two women from Hillsborough County and a man from Coos County. All three were age 60 and older and associated with long-term care facilities. The total deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic now number 495 people.

Keene has the highest number of known cases in the area with 24. The city is also seeing its first outbreak at a long-term care facility, involving eight residents and two staff members at the Hillside Village assisted-living facility. (See story, page A1)

Rindge has 22 cases, Jaffrey has eight, Charlestown has seven, Chesterfield and Hinsdale six and Dublin five.

The following local towns have one to four cases (the state does not identify the exact number when it’s fewer than five): Antrim, Bennington, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Harrisville, Marlborough, Richmond, Stoddard, Surry, Swanzey, Troy, Westmoreland and Winchester.

Of the 323 new positive results, 270 tested positive through the PCR test, and 53 by the antigen, or rapid, test. The positivity rate for the PCR test is 2.6 percent, still under the 5 percent regarded by public health officials as “too high.” The state does not provide positivity rates for the antigen test.

There are currently 64 people being treated in the hospital for the viral disease. This number may include out-of-state residents who are in the hospital in New Hampshire and/or people readmitted for treatment.

Sununu noted that two metrics — the rise in the positivity rate, which was 1 percent in September; and the increasing numbers of hospitalizations, which were at 17 a month ago — show that the increase in overall cases is not just due to more people being tested.The state says that community transmission continues to occur in all 10 counties, and that, for cases where they have a person’s complete risk information, most were infected either through an outbreak or through close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

“This pandemic virus is now widespread in our state,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. “The number of infections is also increasing, the hospitalizations are increasing, the test positivity rate is increasing and the number of people dying from COVID-19 is also increasing.”The total number of known COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic is 13,470.