FILE - NH Chris Sununu 1-14-2020

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu speaks Jan. 14, 2020, at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Chris Sununu joined 20 other governors in asking Congress to give states direct support in the form of block grants to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus. He also issued an executive order Tuesday limiting gatherings of 10 or more people.

The governor’s 16th executive order relating to the coronavirus applies to social, spiritual, and recreational activities as well as events.

Sununu said he didn’t see the need for further actions as many non-essential businesses closed voluntarily. The order will remain in place until April 6.

The governors’ letter to Congressional leaders said block grants will give them the ability to address their states’ unique needs.

“COVID-19 has put an unprecedented burden on state governments,” the letter states. “States are spending heavily on the response to the virus at a time when many are at the end of their budget year and revenues are down because of the limited economic activity.”

States have been asking residents to stay home to prevent spreading coronavirus, which can live in the air for up to three hours and on some items for days, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.

It’s too soon to tell when the number of New Hampshire cases will reach their peak, according to Lori Shibinette, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We expect that we are still in the escalation phase of the pandemic,” Shibinette told reporters during a news conference. “So I think that we can expect to see higher rates for the next several weeks and probably peaking I would say April until May but definitely escalating rates over the next couple of weeks.”

Three new volunteer initiatives were announced by Sununu.

NH Responds will recruit medical and non-medical volunteers to help during the response to the pandemic.

VolunteerNH.org will allow residents who want to volunteer to be connected with a nonprofit in their area.

State officials have created a website that lists the products needed to protect healthcare workers. Nearly 100 companies have indicated they will help provide personal protection equipment by donating or manufacturing.

New Hampshire was recognized as the fourth most aggressive state by analyst Jill Gonzalez in stopping the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release from Sununu.

"Today's study recognizes we are taking unprecedented and proactive steps," Sununu said. "Testing is ramping up. And we are working around the clock to slow and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 here in New Hampshire."