By Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Republican legislative leaders announced plans for drive-up testing this weekend for legislators, legislative staff and their families in the wake of House Speaker Dick Hinch’s death from COVID-19.

In a joint statement Friday, Senate President Chuck Morse of Salem and Acting Speaker Sherman Packard of Londonderry said they wanted to offer the testing on Saturday “because the health, safety and peace of mind of our legislators and staff is our top concern.”

No appointments are required for the testing at the state’s National Guard Test Sites in Concord and Londonderry.

Hinch, who was sworn in Dec. 2 as leader of the state’s newly Republican-led, 400-member Legislature, died Wednesday. He was 71 and was starting his seventh two-year term in the state House.

A day after Hinch’s death, Democrats called for testing for all statehouse staffers, as well as any lawmakers who attended the swearing-in ceremony last week.



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MASK ATTACK

Police in Manchester are looking for two men accused of assaulting a convenience store worker after an argument about wearing a mask.

Police said the worker told a man on Nov. 30 that a face covering was required in order to be inside the store because of the coronavirus pandemic. The two got into an argument and the man left.

The worker said a short time later, the man returned with another man and that they ripped down a Plexiglas barrier, jumped over the counter, and began punching him before ripping off his shirt.

Police said numerous items were knocked off the counter and the credit card reader was broken.

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JURY TRIALS CANCELED

Superior court jury trials have been canceled in New Hampshire for the rest of the year because of rising COVID-19 rates, the chief justice said Friday.

“To ensure the continued health and safety of jurors, court staff and parties to these cases, cancelling these cases, regrettably, was our best option,” Justice Tina Nadeau said in a statement.

Jury trials scheduled to resume in January in Rockingham County, Hillsborough County Northern District, Cheshire County and Merrimack County will continue. Jury trials are still on track to proceed in Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties in 2021, Nadeau said.

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NURSING STUDENTS

Gov. Chris Sununu has issued an emergency order allowing some nursing students to get temporary licenses to help with staffing shortages at long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sununu said in a statement Friday that workforce shortages remain a challenge in New Hampshire and across the country.

The order affects senior nursing students expected to graduate by May 31, 2021. Students would be supervised while providing health care services in response to COVID-19 needs.

Fourteen outbreaks were announced Thursday, most at long-term care facilities.

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THE NUMBERS

More than 29,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, with 899 cases announced Friday that included results from several days earlier in the week. Six new deaths were announced, for a total of 590 since the pandemic began.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from over 350 new cases per day on Nov. 26 to over 760 new cases per day on Thursday.

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