COVID hospitalizations in NH are trending in the right direction. We haven’t seen numbers like this since last October when the Delta variant was surging in NH.


COVID Data 02172022


That’s great news. But we should not get complacent. There are still a significant number of patients hospitalized as they recover from their COVID-19 infection; new daily infections remain high and test positivity is well above levels considered optimal for pandemic control.


As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations goes down, it will allow hospitals to start doing more of what had to be put off during the Delta/Omicron surges. That means hospitals are going to be very busy for quite some time as they care for all of their patients. And the challenges that they confronted during the pandemic, from staffing shortages to the inability to discharge patients to post-acute care settings, behavioral health, blood shortages and more, have not gone away.


To be able to get back to doing all of those things, each one of us needs to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 so that we don’t see an increase in severe illness, hospitalizations and death caused by the virus.


And that means: getting vaccinated/boosted; wearing masks in crowded, indoor places; washing your hands often; staying home if you’re not feeling well; and getting a test if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.


When the level of community transmission decreases, we can revisit things like when and for whom masking is appropriate, but until then, it’s still a good idea to #MaskUpNH.


Vaccines continue to be the most effective means of preventing transmission, serious illness, hospitalization and death, so please #SleeveUpNH.


If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it will evolve, and we must be prepared to adjust our approach in order to keep our communities safe. But if we continue to follow the evidence-based public health mitigation measures health care leaders have been asking us to do for the past two years, we can get back to something that looks and feels much more normal.


That’s something we all want, but no more so than the #GraniteStrong health care heroes here in NH and across the country.


Steve Ahnen is the president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.