The state of New Hampshire does not need to know the results of your home COVID-19 test.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said that the increased use of home tests that came with the Omicron variant placed a burden on providers to report. The NH Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) will only track COVID-19 cases based on reports from automated electronic laboratory test reporting and provider-collected point-of-care (POC) tests.

Schools and childcare centers also no longer need to report home test results, except for positive cases in a school’s weekly aggregate report.

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan told WMUR that it is labor-intensive for the results to be recorded.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to drop, with a total of 257 people currently hospitalized. The active number of cases stands at 9,312 as of Thursday.

COVID-19 Covered by Medicare

Medicare will cover the cost of COVID-19 test kits starting in the early spring. Up to eight over-the-counter tests will be able to be purchased by those on Medicare at no cost.

"There are a number of issues that have made it difficult to cover and pay for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. However, given the importance of expanding access to testing, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has identified a pathway that will expand access to free over-the-counter testing for Medicare beneficiaries," the office said in a statement.

Both Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas had asked the White House to make the change.

“Seniors are often at the highest risk for COVID-19, which is why it’s important that the administration heeded my call to ensure that Medicare recipients can access free COVID tests,” Senator Hassan said in a statement.

Pappas said the tests can pose a financial burden, especially to seniors or those with a disability.

"This is an important step forward to protect the health of Granite Staters, and I continue to urge the administration to do more to bring down the cost of testing and ensure testing is widely accessible," Pappas said.

Testing Center Hours

The DHHS also announced that on days with questionable weather, fixed testing centers like the one at the Mall at Fox Run in Newington will be closed if a school district closes.

On weekends, the Department of Safety and DHHS will continue to partner with the National Weather Service and the outdoor testing site vendor to make the safest decisions during severe weather conditions.

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

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