Sununu: COVID-19 Pandemic is Over in NH
After 111 rounds at the podium, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said on Thursday that he has done his final regularly scheduled COVID-19 press conference.
Sununu said the crisis portion of the pandemic is over in the Granite State and it is as normal as it's going to get for a while.
The governor has met with the media for the past 15 months to provide updates on the pandemic and restrictions put in place but said that going forward they will occur on an as-needed basis.
Sununu said that COVID-19 should not be ignored and said there are variants that need to be watched. He continued to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
"We’re going to keep an eye on our vaccination rates. We’re going to keep an eye on a lot of things So, it’s not over because there’s still work around COVID but nothing
we can’t manage. Nothing that puts us in a crisis mode," Sununu said. "This is as normal as we’re going to see for a long time and so this is the, 'What’s the new normal?' This is it right here."
He added, "from the emergency and pandemic standpoint, Yes, it’s over."
State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said with the number of new cases dropping, mask guidelines are being further updated.
"We are now recommending that asymptomatic persons, that’s people who do not have symptoms or are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 can choose to go without face masks in most indoor and outdoor locations particularly lower risk settings," Chan said.
Businesses still have the option to require masks to be worn, Chan said. He also said there are certain places where federal rules require masks, including health care facilities and public transportation.
Chan also said that there have been 13 reported cases of the more contagious Delta variant reported in the state.
Dr. Beth Daly reported that half the state's adult population is now fully vaccinated but the demand continues to drop to the point where the state is not ordering more vaccines.
"We have plenty to meet the demand that we currently have as we work through the summer period. We do want to continue our efforts to increase vaccination and we do have mobile teams and contractors in place to provide these types of pop up clinics
that includes working with our regional public health networks who are doing that type of work," Daly said.
Abortion and the budget came up.
Sununu was asked about the late-term abortion provision in the proposed budget that was brought up Wednesday at the Tri Chamber State of the State presentation. He repeated that "liberal states" have the exact same provision than the one people are complaining about and keyed in on the ultrasound requirement.
"Ultrasound doesn’t define it as being pro-choice or not. Pro-choice isn’t about whether you’re in for mandatory ultrasounds. Those are two completely different things. So, we’re talking about the pro-choice issue in months 7, 8, 9. I’ve always said, as many pro-choice people have said, they’re against those late-term months."
Sununu said again he will not veto the budget over the issue calling it "irresponsible."
Somersworth City Councilor Crystal Paridis, who asked Sununu about the abortion provision at the State of the State, took issue with his stand on ultrasounds.
"That Governor Sununu thinks he can call himself pro-choice while planning to force pregnant people seeking abortions to get a medically unnecessary ultrasound is delusional," Paradis wrote on her Twitter account.