A look at pandemic-related news around New England on Sunday:
As the number of COVID-19 cases have fallen and restrictions have been dropped in New Hampshire, drug overdoses are on the rise in some cities.
Suspected overdoses in Manchester and Nashua rose by 26% in May, according to American Medical Response. The 72 suspected overdoses was the most in a single month since June 2019, WMUR-TV reported.
Overdoses decreased during the pandemic since more people were inside, said AMR Regional Director Chris Stawasz.
“It gives us concern that in the summer months, which we typically see as higher overdose months, we’re going to be back probably at levels we have not seen in several years,” he said.
More people now have access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan, officials said. There was record use of Narcan in May in Manchester.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Massachusetts has dropped to fewer than 150 patients for the first time since Aug. 23, 2020.
On Saturday the state reported 136 people were hospitalized, including 47 in intensive care.
The last time the state had fewer than 50 COVID-19 patients in intensive care was Oct. 5, 2020, WCVB-TV reported.
The easing of the pandemic has brought an increase in families seeking mental health aid for children suffering the effects of being isolated from their peers.
A Norwich woman whose 9-year-old son was experiencing fits of rage contacted her pediatrician, who reached out to a medical center only to discover that it was overwhelmed with patients awaiting inpatient care.
“Right then there were 30 patients, ages 7 and up, who were waiting for inpatient care,” Dr. Richard Lavoie told The Day. They were staying in hallways, sitting on stretchers and in community rooms, waiting to be placed somewhere.”
A poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association released last month found 48% of adults surveyed said the pandemic has caused mental health problems for one or more of their children, and about a quarter said they had sought professional mental health help for their children because of the pandemic.
“It’s about being separated from their peers,” Carrie Pichie, a clinical psychologist and a regional director of ambulatory services for Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, told the newspaper. “Early in the pandemic, not being in school and not being able to participate in sports and other extracurriculars was devastating for many kids. Some find it difficult to reintegrate when schools are back in session.”
The Vermont Agency of Human Services is getting nearly $28.5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support local efforts to address COVID-19 related health disparities.
The grant announced Friday is part of a $2.25 billion nationwide investment that seeks to improve health equity in the United States.
The grants "are an important step in our unwavering efforts to strengthen our communities’ readiness for public health emergencies—and to helping everyone in America have equal opportunities for health,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.
The intention of the grants is to reduce COVID-19-related health disparities, improve and increase testing and contact tracing among underserved populations that are at higher risk, including racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities, and improve efforts to prevent and control COVID-19 infection, the CDC said.
People can continue to get a COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday in Portland without an appointment at a mobile vaccination unit.
On Saturday, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, visited the site set up behind Rising Tide Brewery.
“We survived the last year and if we can keep everybody healthy, we’re going to have just an incredible summer so we really jumped on the opportunity to use a portion of our parking lot to give shots,” Heather Sanborn, the co-owner of Rising Tide, told WMTW-TV.
The clinic offers the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to walk-ups from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.