Valley News – Rapid COVID Tests Coming to State Liquor Stores, Sold at Cost

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The big news Wednesday was approval by the Executive Committee of $12 million in federal pandemic aid to buy about a million rapid home tests that will be sold at cost, about $12 each, at the state’s roughly 75 liquor stores. Sununu said the tests should be available within “a couple of weeks,” and that money from the sale would be returned to the pool of money available to respond to the pandemic. “The idea is we can do it again and again and again — it would go into (the) fund; theoretically we could buy more tests.” “It’s human nature to think it’s maybe less serious and we’re all going to get it … but that isn’t the attitude we should have at all,” Sununu said. He and state health officials continue to urge people to get vaccinated, boosted and to wear masks or social distance from others as much as possible. Sununu also announced that a “strike team” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Defense that has been helping overwhelmed Elliot Hospital in Manchester has been authorized to stay longer, up until March 7.

A UNH poll released Tuesday estimated that one out of every eight New Hampshire residents has had COVID-19. “When you hear someone has COVID, is it as shocking as it once was? No,” Gov. Chris Sununu commented during Wednesday’s weekly briefing on the pandemic, following details about the continuing high rate of new diagnoses. “(Cases are) not accelerating like they once were, but they’re incredibly high. … Look out your front door, talk to your kids going to school — it’s really going everywhere.”

Sununu cautioned against complacency, however. More than 400 people are still hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 and about eight have died each day from the disease in the past week. COVID-19 tests will be on sale at New Hampshire liquor stores next month, the state’s latest effort to control a pandemic that continues to rage in New Hampshire even as public attitudes seem to be taking it less seriously.

For information check the state website, covid19.nh.gov. Two new fixed testing sites open this week, in Belmont and Lincoln, with Keene to open next week. Concord’s site at 273 Loudon Road opened last week. Free tests are available on a walk-in basis every day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sununu said.

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