Gov. Chris Sununu announced new walk-in COVID-19 vaccination sites opening around the state, including a second in the Seacoast region during his briefing on Wednesday.

The announcement came as the number of active COVID-19 cases dropped again to just under 19,000, still among the highest levels of the pandemic. The number of hospitalizations was up to 410 with 24 deaths. State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said the numbers were incomplete because of delays in processing tests.

Sununu said that Omicron has become the dominant strain in New Hampshire, and while its symptoms are less severe, people may not even be aware they are infected.

"We want to urge people to really watch for symptoms and be sure you're taking them very seriously. Anyone who is sick really needs to remain home," Sununu said, adding that sick children also need to stay out of school.

Sununu continued to urge people to get the COVID-19 vaccination and booster shot.

"It makes all the difference in the world in terms of the severity of symptoms if and when you should be infected. It can make the difference between getting back to work and back to school quickly or being laid up for weeks and weeks on end," Sununu said.

A new state COVID-19 vaccination location at the Kings Highway Plaza on Portsmouth Ave in Stratham opened Wednesday, joining a location in Rochester on the Seacoast. They are open 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily. New sites in Concord, Keene, Manchester and Salem are also opening soon.

Fixed COVID-19 vaccination sites in NH
Fixed COVID-19 vaccination sites in NH (NH DHHS)
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As the federal government makes free COVID-19 test kits available, Sununu said that the state will also make a third round of free tests available for residents if the legislative fiscal committee approves $10 million to spend on the tests.

Sununu admitted that the increase in testing has led to a slowdown in getting results back, as labs across the country are inundated.

"We try to hold our contractors to a 24 hour turnaround as best as we can, but they've all been inundated with an unprecedented amount of demand on testing which is why the at home tests are so important, at least as a first brush," Sununu said.

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

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