CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire is entering into a partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for it to take over surveillance testing for the coronavirus at long-term care facilities to help increase the state's testing capacity and control costs, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said Thursday.
The transition will begin next week, Shibinette said.
"What we've seen over the last couple of weeks is as the national picture of COVID changes, it impacts our turnaround times at our national labs," she said. "They are great partners. ... but right now, their resources are going into different areas of the country. We will continue to use our commercial lab partners, but as much as we can, we will continue to try to build capacity within New Hampshire," she said.
Shibinette also said that patients going into the hospital for non-coronavirus reasons can now have a designated person at their bedside.
"If you are going to the hospital or have a family member going to the hospital, either the emergency room or in-patient, you will be asked now to designate a 'support person' — that's a person that can advocate for you, or just be there for emotional support, be a caregiver," she said.
Hospitals will have the flexibility on visitations, she said.