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New Hampshire seeing virus spread in rural communities

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Manjurul/iStockBy ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in rural New Hampshire towns, health officials say.

In Clarksville, a small town in the northern part of the state, one in every 27 residents has an active COVID-19 infection. In Colebrook, near the Canadian border, a COVID surge site that was taken down in June has been reopened in preparation for an influx of COVID-19 patients.

On Tuesday, New Hampshire surpassed 200 infections per day for the sixth day in a row. COVID-19 transmission in the state seemed to be under control this summer. The governor has yet to issue a statewide mask mandate.

Although new cases in New Hampshire remain low compared to most other states, according to an ABC News analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project, new infections, hospitalizations and testing positivity rates are all rising.

Those worsening indicators combine to paint a worrying picture of the state, according to health officials.

“All of these metrics, all of these facts, point to the fact that we are losing control on preventing the spread of this virus,” state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan told Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.

So far, there have been 12,919 COVID-19 infections and 498 deaths in New Hampshire, a state with a population of 1.3 million, according to the state health department.

“The situation here in New Hampshire remains very serious, the data shows that community transmission is increasing, and we expect cases to rise,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement.

He went on, “We must all remain vigilant in our daily lives. As we enter these winter months, it will be more important than ever to wear your mask, practice social distancing, and maintain proper hand hygiene.”

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