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Health

DHHS commissioner: Approach to COVID-19 will change in coming months – WMUR Manchester

New Hampshire’s top health official says Granite Staters need to be ready to deal with some level of COVID-19 for a long time, but the virus should be more manageable as vaccinations continue.Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said a change in approach to the pandemic is coming in the months ahead when COVID-19 goes from being a statewide crisis to something managed more by doctors and hospitals.”I think you’re seeing that coming probably spring into summer,” Shibinette said. “We anticipate our numbers are going to go down with the vaccination program and through seasonable variability.”The commissioner said it’s important for acceptance of lower levels of COVID-19 not to become complacency or panic when cases rise again later in the year. “When you see COVID starting to rise in our community, we know that we have immunization for those who are vulnerable, and we have therapeutics to treat people that get really sick on it,” she said. “So, it’s really about not going into fear. It’s not about shutting things down again. It really is about managing it within the community and protecting the most vulnerable people.”Looking back at the past three months of the vaccine rollout, Shibinette said outsourcing vaccinations in long-term care to pharmacies likely slowed down that process.”It probably would have been faster (if the state had handled those vaccinations),” she said. “We did not like the speed at which the long-term care facility-pharmacy partner program got rolled out, but it did provide a consistent effort across the state.”The entire interview with Shibinette can be seen at 10 a.m. Sunday on “CloseUP” on WMUR.

New Hampshire’s top health official says Granite Staters need to be ready to deal with some level of COVID-19 for a long time, but the virus should be more manageable as vaccinations continue.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said a change in approach to the pandemic is coming in the months ahead when COVID-19 goes from being a statewide crisis to something managed more by doctors and hospitals.

“I think you’re seeing that coming probably spring into summer,” Shibinette said. “We anticipate our numbers are going to go down with the vaccination program and through seasonable variability.”

The commissioner said it’s important for acceptance of lower levels of COVID-19 not to become complacency or panic when cases rise again later in the year.

“When you see COVID starting to rise in our community, we know that we have immunization for those who are vulnerable, and we have therapeutics to treat people that get really sick on it,” she said. “So, it’s really about not going into fear. It’s not about shutting things down again. It really is about managing it within the community and protecting the most vulnerable people.”

Looking back at the past three months of the vaccine rollout, Shibinette said outsourcing vaccinations in long-term care to pharmacies likely slowed down that process.

“It probably would have been faster (if the state had handled those vaccinations),” she said. “We did not like the speed at which the long-term care facility-pharmacy partner program got rolled out, but it did provide a consistent effort across the state.”

The entire interview with Shibinette can be seen at 10 a.m. Sunday on “CloseUP” on WMUR.

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