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Jobless claims up; emergency guardianship process hastened

This April 5, 2020, photo provided by Lauren Boisvert shows Boisvert Manchester, N.H. Boisvert, who had been working at a paint bar and as a substitute teacher for two schools while also finishing her senior year at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College, applied for unemployment benefits after going from three jobs to zero. The state has seen more unemployment claims in the past three weeks due to the virus pandemic. (Lauren Boisvert via AP)
April 09, 2020 - 10:46 AM

CONCORD, N.H. - Unemployment claims are growing in New Hampshire because of the coronavirus pandemic, labour officials said Thursday. Meanwhile, courts have made adjustments to speed up emergency guardianships for people who become critically ill.

More on developments in New Hampshire:

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UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

More than 36,000 initial unemployment claims were filed in New Hampshire last week, up nearly 5,000 from the previous week, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. The latest number covers new claims through April 4.

The state has seen more unemployment claims in the past three weeks due to the pandemic than in the previous three years, said George Copadis, commissioner of New Hampshire’s Department of Employment Security.

The department has taken more than 79,000 calls since March 17. Among those pitching in at a call centre are members of the New Hampshire National Guard.

Fielding the calls requires a certain mindset, said Senior Airman Connor Martin, 23, a crew chief from the Pease Air National Guard Base.

“You’re going to get yelled at,” he said. “People are upset. People are distraught. But you have to understand that there’s a single mom with two kids on the other end of the line who’s lost her only source of income.”

In Manchester, Lauren Boisvert applied for benefits after going from three jobs to zero in the past two weeks.

Boisvert, 22, had been working at a paint bar and as a substitute teacher for two schools while also finishing her senior year at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College. She had lined up a long-term substitute job that was supposed to start in May, and a summer job at a camp, but those are both uncertain.

“I’m not actively looking right now, I’m just hoping this subsides and I can just go back to my normal jobs,” she said Thursday.

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THE NUMBERS

As of Wednesday, more than 780 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. Eighteen people died. About 120 have been hospitalized, and about 230 have recovered.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

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EMERGENCY GUARDIANSHIPS

Anticipating a surge in COVID-19 cases, New Hampshire's circuit court is speeding up the process for appointing legal guardians to make emergency medical decisions.

“We anticipate situations where acute care facilities need to quickly discharge a patient, who may lack capacity, to another facility or to get emergency medical decisions made for severely compromised patients," said David King, administrative judge of the circuit court.

Instead of the usual 15 days, hearings by phone or video an now be held over a 48-hour period.

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PROTECTING THE HOMELESS

A social service organization plans to use an empty Roman Catholic school in Manchester to house 40 homeless residents during the pandemic.

The move by New Horizons is part of a larger plan to protect residents and staff from the coronavirus at its main 138-bed facility nearby.

New Horizons also moved its kitchen offsite.

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BUNNY ON PARADE

A fire truck escorted by a police cruiser will be hopping down the bunny trail in Portsmouth this weekend.

The city’s recreation department arranged to have the Easter bunny ride through neighbourhoods from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday to wave to children. Officials ask that families watch from their windows or directly in front of their homes, keeping a safe distance from others.

The city posted details of the route on its website.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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