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Testing should increase

Each week, The Cabinet publishes an update with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire. A map – provided by the state and documenting case numbers by county and/or region – usually accompanies this figure.

As of Wednesday night, state health officials reported 788 confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, given the unacceptable lack of testing available to those exhibiting symptoms, we question the true number of COVID-19 cases here in Greater Nashua and beyond.

In two separate letters sent to Gov. Chris Sununu on Sunday and Monday, New Hampshire doctors and health officials statewide urged Sununu to increase testing, treatment and tracking of New Hampshire COVID-19 cases.

The April 6 letter, in part, states, “As of April 5, only 101 tests for the COVID-19 testing are pending at the New Hampshire public laboratory; this is the lowest testing rate in the last few months just as there is exponential growth of cases expected. It appears that the COVID-19 testing program in New Hampshire has collapsed.”

We know of so many who have sought testing only to be told there’s no access to supplies. Even the mobile site at the armory in Manchester had to close because of lack of adequate test supply.

The state’s response to this pandemic has been unacceptable. The governor’s silence is even more so.

Area residents, friends, neighbors and loved ones have been left without access to critical diagnostic tools to ensure their health and that of those around them.

While the state’s daily map of confirmed cases is of some benefit, it is not a true reflection of where New Hampshire stands with regard to COVID-19. A lack of tests means a lack of accurate data. This lack of testing poses a critical risk to public health and safety.

Gov. Sununu, instead of staying silent on this issue, should be our citizens’ greatest advocate. Ignoring an emergency doesn’t make it go away.

Our state deserves better from its governor, starting first and foremost with Sununu responding in a timely manner to citizens’ and officials’ very real concerns amid this crisis.

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