Winter Surge: Biden Sending COVID-19 Help to NH, Maine, Mask Advisory in MA
President Joe Biden in his speech Tuesday night about COVID-19 Omicron variant will specifically mention help for New Hampshire as a mask advisory is issued in Massachusetts.
The "Winter Surge" spike in cases has been affecting New Hampshire and New England even before the Omicron variant became known. While the new variant has become the dominant variant around the country accounting for 73% of the cases the Delta variant is still responsible for most of the cases in New England at 62%, according to the CDC.
According to a fact sheet about the speech the three items Biden will mention about New Hampshire and Maine in the 2:30 p.m. speech are:
- Deploying Federal Medical Personnel Available to States Immediately: Biden is sending six emergency response teams with more than 100 clinical personnel and paramedics to New Hampshire,Vermont and four other states. This is in addition to 300 federal medical personnel that we have deployed since we learned about Omicron.
- Ambulances and Emergency Medical Teams to Transport Patients to Open Beds: FEMA is ready to deploy hundreds of ambulances and emergency medical teams so that if one hospital fills up, they can transport patients to open beds in other facilities. 30 paramedics are heading to New Hampshire, 8 to Maine, 30 to Vermont, 20 to Arizona, and 30 ambulances are headed to New York.
- Ventilators Headed to States: 330 ventilators have already been sent to several states including New Hampshire, Maine, Indiana and Michigan.
FEMA personnel had already been sent to New Hampshire are the request of Gov. Chris Sununu. Members of the New Hampshire National Guard have already been working in hospitals on background task to free up personnel to work on medical issues.
Biden will also announce the availability of a half-billion at-home rapid COVID-19 tests that will be available starting in January. A website will be set up to order them, according to the preview.
"We’re seeing hospital bed shortages & a surge of COVID-19 cases hit NH. Increasing free at-home testing and deploying federal personnel to NH hospitals are critical steps to help save lives as we work to get through this difficult chapter in the pandemic," Sen. Maggie Hassan said ahead of the president's speech in a tweet.
Mask Advisory in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a mask advisory Tuesday for all residents regardless of their vaccination status when indoors.
"The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated," the agency said in its advisory.