November 24 Updates

Covid

Numbers are higher than ever before. I’m not sure what is happening, but what I suspect is that people are burnt out by it all. I know people personally who have died during this pandemic. If the current trends continue, you may as well. Nobody wants that. Please, do continue to take precautions. If you are not going to do everything, at least do something. Wash your hands more often. Stay 6 feet away from people. Talk to your doctor about whether to get vaccinated. I know, two years of not having family gatherings is hard. Still, do what you can. ~ Steve

‘Booster Blitz’ aims to encourage boosters for Granite Staters

Sununu also announced a new push to encourage eligible Granite Staters to get booster shots. New Hampshire will hold a one-day “Booster Blitz” on Dec. 11 at more than 10 sites across the state.

Appointments will be made through the DHHS website, with a link and list of locations available next week, Sununu said. He said it will be similar to the large vaccination sites that were set up across the state early in the vaccination program, but this will just be a one-day event.

Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, said boosters have been shown to increase vaccine effectiveness to more than 90% — a level of effectiveness that was seen before the delta variant took hold.

Chan recommended that anyone age 18 or older get vaccinated if eligible. Anyone who had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago and anyone who had the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago is eligible for a booster.

The push for boosters and new testing options comes as the state is dealing with its worst case and hospitalization numbers of the pandemic. Chan said there are 350 hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state, a new all-time high.

Active case numbers dropped from Monday’s record but are still high, at 7,627. Chan said the state is averaging close to 1,000 new case each day and has a test positivity rate of about 9.5%.

New executive order aims to help New Hampshire hospitals build capacity, Sununu says

Gov. Chris Sununu has issued a new executive order intended to address capacity issues in New Hampshire hospitals as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Sununu said he is not declaring a new state of emergency, but as COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to reach new highs in the state, he said New Hampshire is definitely in an emergency situation when it comes to hospital capacity.Advertisement

The executive order will allow hospitals to create temporary acute care centers within their own facilities and take other steps to build capacity as the latest wave of cases continues to build.

Sununu said it’s essentially the same model he and his public health team learned about when they traveled to Kentucky at the end of August.

New Hampshire Hospital Association president Steve Ahnen said the assistance is welcome and needed.

“If we can find opportunities to bring in additional people to care for patients, to support our hospitals in doing that we certainly support those efforts,” Ahnen said. “The National Guard could be a key component of that.

State health officials are also coordinating with hospitals to determine what sort of support service roles might be filled by the National Guard.

“We could do it right now, and at some point, I think that need will likely be there,” Sununu said. “When I call up the National Guard, it could potentially be for weeks or even months. Last time, I had the National Guard called up for effectively a year, and that puts a lot of pressure on their system.”

Citizen soldiers could end up at hospitals, rehabilitation centers or nursing homes to help ease the capacity crunch.

“So right now, we are defining the roles so that we can pull that lever very quickly when we have to,” said Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Shibinette said the health care workforce is experiencing burnout after almost 20 months fighting the pandemic.

“It’s very tedious, very heart-wrenching work to know there is a vaccine there that can prevent all of this suffering, and there are portions of our population choosing not to be vaccinated,” she said.

The governor began his briefing Tuesday with a plea for Granite Staters to get vaccinated or get their booster shots. He noted that the Moderna vaccine is in short supply, and some people are having their booster appointments rescheduled. He said he hopes an additional shipment will come this week.

Hospitalizations hit new record

The new executive order comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations hit another all-time high Tuesday.

State health officials said there are currently 350 Granite Staters hospitalized for COVID-19, the highest total of the pandemic. This is the second day in a row that New Hampshire hit a record number of hospitalizations.

After reaching an all-time high number of active cases Monday, New Hampshire experienced a drop in cases Tuesday, to 7,627. That’s still the third-highest number of active cases in the state on record.

Health officials said 561 new positive test results were reported Monday. The seven-day average for new cases decreased from a record 1,005 to 955 Tuesday.

Officials said the seven-day test positivity rate dropped slightly to 9.4%.

Four more deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported. All were age 60 or older, and officials said none were related to long-term care facilities. There have been 1,678 deaths attributed to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

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Charlestown Rt 12 Repair Update … November 18, 2021

Charlestown Rt 12 Repair Update … November 18, 2021

Dear Elected Officials for Charlestown, Walpole and Claremont:

A total of 4 bids were received on the Charlestown Rt 12 Repair project by today’s deadline of November 18, 2021 @ 2:00 pm.  The Department is reviewing the bids and will select a contractor shortly.  Due to the time required to draft the contract and other documents for approval, the Department will request authorization to award the contract at the November 22, 2021 G&C meeting, and subsequently execute the contract with the selected contractor.

Pending the review of bids, selection of a contractor, and G&C approvals, it may be helpful to understand the work that is required due to the site constraints and resulting complexities.

The total project length is 700 feet and begins with construction of the 400 foot soil nail wall. Once selected and approved, the contractor will seek input from the soil nail expert. The soil nail wall is required to stabilize the soil slope and avoid soil movement (i.e. landslide), which could impact the active rail line.  The soil nail wall will be constructed from top to bottom in three separate phases or rows, with each row being approximately 3 feet deep. The total vertical excavation will be approximately 10 feet deep.  Construction of the top row of the soil nail wall involves excavating the top 3 feet of soil along the entire length of the proposed wall. Then holes are drilled horizontally 3 feet apart into the exposed vertical soil surface.  Steel bars (“nails”) are inserted into the drilled holes and grouted. Tension is applied to the steel bars, ensuring that the grout adheres to the steel bars. Then shotcrete (wet concrete applied with a hose) is applied to the vertical soil surface.  Finally, the steel bars are anchored in place with large bolts. This process is performed twice more in the same sequence, going down another 3 feet for the installation of each row.

Curing the grout and the shotcrete is the major factor impacting construction time.  Samples of the grout and shotcrete will be tested.  When the test results show a certain strength (2000 psi) for the first constructed row, excavation can begin on the second row; the same testing process is used before constructing the third and final row.  Temperature is also the major variable in curing times, requiring blankets or tents for cold weather.

It takes an estimated 3 weeks to complete the construction of each row.  Based upon this estimation, construction of the entire wall will take approximately 9 weeks to complete.  Once the wall is constructed, the roadway can be rebuilt.

This situation on Rt 12 occurred due to heavy rains that undermined the road.  In order to avoid a reoccurrence of this situation, the plans require the contractor to create a drainage system to limit the groundwater and collect stormwater.  A “drainage blanket” will be constructed with stone to create a path for groundwater to flow.  The roadway will be strengthened with 7 feet of structural fill. Then a foot of crushed stone will be laid as base material before 5 inches of pavement is applied.

I hope this explanation is helpful in understanding the work to be performed.  I’ve also attached a page of graphics that show the construction process for the soil nail wall.

Next week I plan to update you on the contractor selection.  As construction begins, I will include photos of the work in progress. Please let me know if any other information would be useful.

My Best,

Kathy

Kathleen Mulcahey-Hampson

Legislative Liaison

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Route 12

Someone asked why the project is not a state priority and whether I have done anything about it. There are two false assumptions there.

  • One – Literally ripping a stretch of state highway right down to the road base is not an overnight project, and is a priority job
  • Two – Since I am not a keyboard warrior, I don’t post rants every day. I have been busy working on the problems. Social media activity does not equal actually doing anything.

I have been in contact with NHDOT at least weekly throughout. The challenge has been that to excavate that close to the railroad tracks required both the agreement of the railroad, and the approval of USDOT. The actual underlying roadbed is what became stabilized, and the road continued to shift position over a week after the initial damage. A quick fix was simply not possible.


I sent video of the route the school bus will have to take, and sent information about the accidents and near misses that I was aware of. None of this impacted the counter position that we can not endanger the safety of the railroad. 


I have a son in the high school and who is also a brand new driver. He has gone off the road once on his way to school. I am as impacted as anyone personally, and perhaps more so than those without children traveling this route. There has not been a single week where I have not applied as much pressure as I could. This does not counteract engineering concerns though.


Fixing this is a priority for the state. We got agreement on funding it almost immediately. Calling it a priority does not change the engineering and approval process.

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