NH Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests Now Available
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in free at-home COVID-19 tests are now available for New Hampshire residents to order from Amazon.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced the partnership with Amazon and The National Institute of Health, the CDC, manufacturer Quidel and the state Department of Health & Human Services in a program called Say Yes! COVID Test at his weekly coronavirus briefing Tuesday. New Hampshire is the first state in the nation to offer the free tests. It is also available in several counties in Washington State.
Quidel's QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID-19 Test can be ordered via the state's COVID-19 website while supplies last.
“As the fall surge continues, rapid, self-administered testing can give residents one more way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette said in a statement. “Routine testing offers the best chance of early identification of COVID-19. Residents can swab the front of their nose and know the results of the test in ten minutes and in the privacy of their own home.”
Tests are also available at many hospitals, urgent care facilities and pharmacies through out the state. There is also a state testing facility at the Mall at Fox Run in Newington.
The state has not updated its COVID-19 dashboard since Nov. 24 when it reported 1,011 positive cases statewide. Rockingham County has the highest number of current cases in New Hampshire with 1,407 and Strafford County the fourth highest at 728.
Yes to Vaccinations, No to Mandates
While Sununu is a big supporter of COVID-19 vaccines he is not a fan of mandated vaccinations.
He has asked OSHA for a clarification of President Joe Biden's mandate for companies employing over 100 workers to require them to be vaccinated against COVID-19. OSHA is charged with enforcing the mandate as a work safety rule.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has put a hold on implementation and enforcement because it is "staggeringly overbroad." Sununu is concerned that OSHA will enforce the original timeline requiring compliance by Jan. 4, 2022 if the stay is lifted. He is asking for a two month extension for implementation.
"Absent sufficient time, there is a real potential that employers would not be able to come into compliance should the Court rescind the stay, including the draconian requirement that businesses lay off employees during the holidays if they are unwilling or unable to get fully vaccinated on the Testing Emergency Temporary Standard timeline," Sununu wrote in his letter.
"Not enforceable in New Hampshire until further notice"
Sununu and Attorney General John Formella also announced said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate for workers at healthcare facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding has been preliminarily enjoined and is not enforceable in New Hampshire until further notice.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri approved an injunction along with nine other states which filed a lawsuit against the order.
“This order means that CMS may not enforce its vaccine mandate against any facility within the State of New Hampshire until further notice,” Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. “We will continue to participate in this litigation and seek permanent relief, and we will provide further updates to the public as this litigation progresses.”
The order led UNH to require all staff and faculty at its Durham campus to be fully vaccinated because the school receives $130 million in research funding.