CONCORD — Hospitals suffering financially from the suspension of elective procedures will have access to a new $50 million state fund for low-interest loans.

Gov. Chris Sununu announced creation of the loan fund Thursday during a news conference on the state’s response to COVID-19.

State public health officials also announced an uptick in the number of confirmed cases in New Hampshire, from 39 to 44.

All five new cases are adult patients.

The totals from the past two days include the first that confirm “community spread” from the coronavirus, though the majority of patients to date contracted it from domestic or international travel, officials said.

New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control recommends those who have symptoms self-quarantine for at least seven days and remain there until they experience a three-day period during which their symptoms are dramatically improved, said Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state’s epidemiologist.

So far, 1,400 tests have been processed, which means 3% have tested positive, with 800 results pending.

Chan said the system of testing patients is “strained,” though the state has received a large supply of test kits from the federal government.

That’s because the health care field is facing a chronic shortage of “supply chain” materials to process the tests, such as swabs and agents that store the samples until they are tested.

“We understand there are many people who have looked for testing and have had a difficult time obtaining the test,” Chan said.

During a conference call President Donald Trump had with governors Thursday, Sununu said federal officials assured state leaders they would get greater flexibility so health care providers could use different materials to complete the tests.

“We are working to order and obtain a certain supply of (personal protection equipment), swabs and different agents,” Chan said.

“There is a national limitation, and states across the country are struggling to get these resources.”

State public health officials have turned over to health care providers the decision about whom to test. First responders and health care workers are receiving first priority, Chan said.

“Regardless of whether someone gets a COVID-19 test or not, it is important people take precautions about not spreading the virus,” Chan said.

Sununu signed a new executive order creating the New Hampshire Healthcare System Relief Fund that would make the low-interest loans potentially available to “all aspects” of the health care field affected by the decline in elective medical procedures.

The state’s general fund will support the loan fund for hospitals, which is being created to help administrators get short-term cash while they seek bank financing, Sununu said.

Administrators with most hospitals in the state have announced they are suspending elective surgeries and other health care visits until further notice.

“We have to support the entire system, top down, so individuals can receive the best care possible, bottom up” Sununu said.

The state is also working on creating longer-term loan guarantees for the health care industry through the Business Finance Authority, the governor said.

Sununu praised the state’s congressional delegation for supporting the Trump administration’s decision to make New Hampshire one of the first states to get a “disaster” declaration so small businesses could qualify for 30-year loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration with a 3.25 percent interest rate.