Southern New Hampshire University will go all remote when classes resume after Christmas in an effort to slow down the state's COVID-19 winter surge as stressed out hospitals express frustration at the low vaccination rate.

The Manchester based school said its Spring semester will start January 3 with a two week remote start with in-person instruction starting Jan.17. The goal is to prevent any campus wide shutdowns for the rest of the semester.

"The two-week remote start is intended to prevent a return to campus within the 14-day incubation period of COVID-19, a sensitive period of time when anyone exposed to the virus during the holidays could be at risk of spreading COVID-19 in our campus community," spokeswoman Siobhan Lopez told Seacoast Current.

As of Wednesday there are 1,184 new cases, 462 hospitalizations and 11 deaths reported in New Hampshire, the highest numbers yet of the pandemic, according to State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. Rockingham County continues to have the highest number of active cases with 1,870, according to the state COVID-19 dashboard, while Stafford County has 962.

Hospital Stress

As Seacoast hospitals scramble to open up space and treat COVID-19 patients Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced that her state is joining New Hampshire in bringing in National Guard members to allow hospital workers to treat COVID-19 patients.

"I do not take this action lightly, but we must take steps to alleviate the strain on our health care system and ensure care for all those who need it," Mills said.

She also called on residents to step up get the COVID-19 vaccination.

"Just as the Maine National Guard is stepping up, so, too, must Maine people. For your health, for the health of an elderly person, for the health of a child, for our health care workers, for the National Guard, get vaccinated, please. It may save your life or someone else’s," Mills said on her Twitter account.

Wentworth-Douglas Hospital which announced temporarily suspended visitation announced all Prompt Care will operate out of Dover as staff is consolidated taking the Pease location out of service.

Dr. Joanne Conroy, president and CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, expressed frustration at New Hampshire's status as the least vaccinated New England state.

“Despite the best evidence that vaccines and boosters have been shown to reduce the severity of illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID, too many people are still refusing to get the vaccine. And they spread (inaccurate) information about it. That needs to stop today," she said during a press conference on Wednesday according to New Hampshire Bulletin.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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