COVID-19 update: Food help demand increases in NH; Boston enters new reopening phase

Published: 7/12/2020 8:05:25 PM
Modified: 7/12/2020 8:05:24 PM

A huge increase in demand, driven in large part by the coronavirus pandemic, is proving to be a challenge for the New Hampshire Food Bank.

If current demand keeps up, food bank officials estimate they will hand out a one-year record of 20 million pounds of food by the end of the year.

Distribution has increased by about 50% compared with this time last year, officials said.

The nonprofit says most of the new people who have come to them for help in recent months are families affected by the pandemic.

“There are people who have been gainfully employed that all of a sudden don’t have an income coming in that they were used to having,” according to Nancy Mellitt, the food bank’s director of development.

The numbers

Cases of COVID-19 topped 6,000 for the first time this weekend, with New Hampshire officials announcing that  6,054 people have so far tested positive for the virus.

Of those, 5,027, or about 83%, have recovered, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

There are 636 active cases in the Granite State, with 22 people currently hospitalized with the virus.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire announced an additional death Saturday — a woman 60 years old or over from Hillsborough County — bringing the state’s death toll to 391 people. No new deaths were reported Sunday. 

Neighboring Vermont reported 14 new cases Sunday, bringing its total to 1,296. State officials say 1,089 have recovered and there are two people hospitalized.

Boston poised to enter 3rd phase of economic restart

A week after most of the rest of Massachusetts, Boston is scheduled to enter the third phase of its coronavirus economic restart Monday.

Under the plan, movie theaters, museums and historical sites, as well as gyms, are among the businesses allowed to reopen with appropriate public health measures in place, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

Boston’s plan differs slightly from the state plan. For example, libraries will remain closed for browsing, but card holders can still order books for pickup.

The city is also limiting attendance at outdoor gatherings to 50 people, while the state limit is 100.

Somerville officials announced Friday it would delay phase three until July 20.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said he’s still concerned about transmission of the disease in indoor spaces in the state’s most densely populated city.

Casinos reopen

Encore Boston Harbor became the second of Massachusetts’ three casinos to reopen to gamblers on Sunday.

Capacity at the Everett resort is capped and guests will undergo temperature checks and be required to wear face coverings inside.

MGM Springfield is scheduled to reopen Monday.

Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville reopened last week.

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