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New Hampshire's delegation keeps close eye on coronavirus developments

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Manchestrer, N.H., February 29, 2020 | By Tim Callery

Today, President Donald Trump urged the nation to remain calm in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

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“Since the early stages of the foreign outbreak, my administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease,” said Trump.

Joined by members of his administration, the president held a briefing hours after the first fatality from the disease in the United States was confirmed in Washington state.

Authorities described the man in his 50s who died from COVID-19 as an at-risk patient but say he had no apparent travel to China.

It's one of several cases of the virus in Washington.

The governor has declared a state of emergency.

Tonight, the number of cases at home and abroad continues to climb. Right now, the total number of confirmed cases stands at nearly 87,000.

In a Saturday press briefing, Trump provided updates on the nation's response to the coronavirus.

"On Monday, I’ll be meeting with the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Actually, they'll be coming to the White House, and we're talking about a vaccine and developing very quickly, and they've already started working on it," said President Trump.

The Trump administration is also adding additional travel restrictions.

"We're going to increase to the highest-level advisory, which is Level 4, advising Americans do not travel to specific regions in Italy and South Korea,” said Vice President Pence.

New Hampshire's delegation in Washington, D.C., is also keeping a close eye on the developments.

"We want to make sure that New Hampshire is well ahead of this,” said Rep. Chris Pappas. Pappas and his colleagues are working to approve a supplemental appropriations package that will fund response at the federal and state levels so New Hampshire communities are prepared.

"We've got to move quickly to get funding out there,” said Pappas. "This is a very critical moment to make sure that state's and localities have the full force of the federal government behind them."

This week, Rep. Annie Kuster met with the secretary of health and human services in Washington, D.C., to get an update on the government's response plan.

"I want to be certain that we have a clear chain of command from the federal government to the states to protect local communities," said Kuster.

Sens. Jeanne Shahen and Maggie Hassan will be meeting with the New Hampshire Hospital Association on Monday to discuss the state's ongoing preparations to fight and contain the potential spread of the coronavirus in New Hampshire.