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RI Coronavirus Update – Today, Nov. 3, 2020

Photo: March 1, 2020 – Providence Journal headline: “2 have now tested positive for coronavirus after Saint Raphael Academy field trip to Europe; students, chaperones on trip quarantined”

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

Virus Hospitalizations Are Up in N.Y.C. But This Time, It’s Different – NYTIMES headline – Patients with serious cases are spending less time in the hospital on average and are less likely to be put on ventilators. Fewer are dying.

Oklahoma state data shows cities with mask mandates nearly cut by half the number of new virus infections after three weeks.

Swarovski plans on cutting 6,000 jobs.

Nursing home facilities across the country that share the most workers also had the most COVID-19 infections.

A large English study shows immunity for patients having had the virus may not be long lasting.

A teachers union in England calls for schools to be closed, too.

Driven by new solidarity, Poles have been buying armloads of chrysanthemums to help out flower vendors who unexpectedly faced bankruptcy when the government ordered all cemeteries locked due to COVID-19 during a traditional memorial weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday announced a new monthlong lockdown for England as the United Kingdom surpassed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases.

England: To cushion the economic impact of the lockdown, the government plans to extend its job furlough program, which covers 80% of the wages of workers whose employers are forced to close by the restrictions. The government on Monday said it would also double support for self-employed workers to 80% of their average trading profits for November.

Slovakia is experimenting on virus control by screening every person over the age of 10 in one point in time – a weekend – in an all-out attempt to shut down the virus, isolating those who test positive. This unique test is being done on 1 million people. So far positivity is under 1%. Here: https://reut.rs/34LEvM8

Australia has no positive cases for the first time.

New York: Most people arriving in New York state must quarantine for at least three full days before taking a coronavirus test. If that test comes back negative, the traveler can leave quarantine. Residents of contiguous states – Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey (unclear about neighboring Vermont and Massachusetts) can present a negative test result no more than 3 days before their visit to be able to go about their business.

Railroad traffic has surged back from this spring’s steep drop during the height of the virus-related shutdowns – particularly in freight deliveries.

England’s one-month lockdown, set to begin Thursday, could be extended beyond early December

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, tested positive in April of this year.

Prince Charles tested positive in March.

400 partiers shut down in NY – with multiple large parties happening all around New York.

Good News: While coronavirus is much harder to deal with than the flu, and may have long term effects, which the flu does not have, Survival rates have improved with medical advances and less crowded hospitals. At one New York hospital system where 30 percent of coronavirus patients died in March, the death rate had dropped to 3 percent by the end of June. In England, 60% of people in intensive care were surviving, that rate is now over 80%. Use of steroid drugs, mon-drug interventions, increased awareness, seeking help sooner, a lightened load on hospitals, less pressure on medical staff, more appropriate use of ventilators, and recognition of complications such as blood clots and kidney failure, oxygen level decrease, etc. are all attributed to the good news.

The FDA has authorized nearly 230 diagnostic tests for COVID-19 – these are the more popular:

Molecular Tests

Antigen Tests

Loneliness had been deemed an official epidemic in several countries – and some companies have offered tech-based solutions as unique as special products and services that provide hugs, companionship, robots, etc.

Vermont: The state is experiencing multiple coronavirus outbreaks that are growing, and cases are turning up in more schools and child care programs.

Worcester: Students at Assumption University have been told to shelter in place for a week in response to a cluster of coronavirus cases on campus.

Only 2.8% of ER visits are attributed to COVID, according to the AHA

A Covid-19 outbreak on the men’s and women’s soccer teams at an Illinois University highlights the difficulties colleges face in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, tracing the infection of 17 players, finding that several social gatherings, at which players reported not wearing masks and not socially distancing, probably fueled the spread.

The State University of New York system announced on Tuesday it would require about 140,000 students on its campuses to test negative for Covid-19 before they can leave for Thanksgiving break, after which most of the campuses will operate almost entirely remotely. “By requiring all students to test negative before leaving, we are implementing a smart, sensible policy that protects students’ families and hometown communities, and drastically reduces the chances of Covid-19 community spread.

Bethune-Cookman University announced that it was canceling all sports for the 2020-21 academic year, becoming the first institution in the NCAA’s Division I tier to do so.

The head of the WHO is now in quarantine, after having been exposed.

Nursing homes, small physician offices and rural clinics are being left behind in the rush for N95 masks and other protective gear, exposing some of the country’s most vulnerable populations and their caregivers to COVID-19 while larger, wealthier health care facilities build equipment stockpiles.

Britain starts accelerated review for AstraZeneca’s potential Covid-19 vaccine.

HHS says providers can use COVID-19 relief grants for vaccine distribution

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

In Massachusetts, new restrictions: stay at home advisory from 10pm to 5am; most entertainment venues to close at 9:30pm; no tableservice at restaurants after 9:30pm (takeout ok); social gathering limits at 10. People must now wear masks at all times in public regardless of distance away from people.

Boston hospitalizations have increased by 130%.

Gov. Raimondo said she does not think the state will go to phase 2; hospitals will restrict hospitalizations, as well as nursing homes. Today the state hired 40 new contact tracers with plans to hire 100 more. Election day the state has national guard standing by.

Testing – State-run COVID-19 testing sites will be open tomorrow, Election Day. These sites are the 15 K-12 sites throughout the state, Rhode Island Convention Center site, the Stop & Shop locations in Newport and Cumberland, and the Block Island Fire and Rescue. However, these sites will be closed on Veterans Day (November 11th).

Bryant University has a quarantine in place for 80 students as contact tracers found out about a large party. They had been coming and going from the party and a person there tested positive. The state thinks the quarantine may prevent an outbreak. The university will take disciplinary action against the students. Some athletes are impacted as well.

East Providence school department will do its own contact tracing.

The Providence Teachers Union has filed a lawsuit to temporarily close Nathanael Greene Middle School, shift to distance learning and order the state education commissioner to enact clear COVID-19 safety, health and staffing standards for all schools.

RI Hospitals end visitation. Lifespan has ceased visitation at all their facilities due to the virus. Children at Hasbro Childrens may have one parent with them. Care New England has also ended visitation. Charter Care ends visitation. Westerly Hospital had already taken this step. South County Hospital has a unique visitor policy including 2 hour lots in am and pm, with official designated visitor status. Landmark Medical Center is going with the state’s mandated no-visitor policy.

The family of Jhamal Gonsalves, in a coma, is challenging the hospital visitation policy for their son – and for all seriously ill patients at the hospital, saying individual exceptions should be made in such circumstances.

Friendly’s files for bankruptcy as part of sale

Middletown High School is moving to remote learning next week because four students tested positive for the virus after a large party of students in Bristol. It is estimated that as many as 1,000 people may be told to quarantine as a result of this event.

Lawyers and advocates for residents in long-term care say that the time should be up on policies that shield the nursing homes from lawsuits involving ordinary negligence.

School buses – “Our updated guidance to schools is going to specify that every other bus window should be open roughly one inch,” spokesman Joseph Wendelken said Friday. “The more ventilation the better. But keeping every other window open an inch is the minimum.”

WaterFire Providence will present its 2020 “Salute to Veterans” through a video that will be available online and on Rhode Island PBS. An hour-long video presentation, which will premiere on WaterFire Providence’s Facebook Live and YouTube channels Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., with a simulcast on WSBE-TV. Afterward, it will be available for on-demand viewing online.

New temporary hours at the Warwick Mall are Mon-Sat, 10:30am to 8pm and Sun, 11am to 6pm.

2021 Statewide Business After Hours is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26, 2021. 

URI Football Team put on hold for 2 weeks after positive tests.

Bishop Tobin, at All Souls Mass yesterday:At Holy Mass today, as we prayed for the deceased, I wore black vestments in solidarity with those who have suffered so much this year from the illness, anxiety, isolation and death of the pandemic. And yet, despite our sorrow, our faith is strong and we live in hope.”

Rhode Island Commerce announced a new program to expand access to and the efficacy of remote work to further fight the spread of COVID-19. The effort will help fund the purchase of hardware, software and internet access to support Rhode Island workers and businesses.  A total of $5 million has been made available to support businesses moving employees to remote work or increasing productivity in order to keep them remote.

Smoking and vaping put students at a greater risk of poor outcomes should they contract COVID, all of which is important as RI Kids Count draw attention to the use of electronic cigarettes by teenagers being on the rise in Rhode Island.

RI Data:

Today’s Data – Nov. 2, 2020
Deaths: 3 (9, total since Thurs)
Tests: 4,560
Positives: 232 (1,154 new cases since Thurs)
Percent positive: 5.1%

What you need to do if you test positive:

  • Stay home for at least 10 days from the day you were tested.
  • Do not go to work or school for at least 10 days after testing positive.
  • Call your employer or school to inform them that you have tested positive and will be out for at least 10 days.
  • Call your primary care provider (if you have one) and inform them that you have tested positive.
  • Get help if you feel sick. Call your primary care provider or an urgent care to get medical advice. Call 911 or the nearest hospital if you think you are having a medical emergency (e.g., trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.) Tell them you have COVID-19. 
  • Do your best to keep your distance from those you live with. If you can, use a separate bathroom and bedroom from others. Stay out of the kitchen and rooms where people in the house gather. 
  • Protect the people you live with from catching COVID-19 from you. Try to stay in a different room and wear a mask if you must be in the same room with others.
  • Have things you need delivered. Ask friends and family to drop off items at your door that you need, like food and other necessities.
  • Write a list of people you have been in close contact with. Make a list of everyone you were around starting 2 days before you got tested or started having COVID-19 symptoms until the time you got your test result and started isolating at home.
  • Let your close contacts know you have COVID-19. 
  • Answer the phone when RIDOH calls.

What people you live with need to do if you test positive:

  • Everyone you live with needs to stay home too. People you live with cannot go to work or school while you are infected (10 days) and for an additional 14 days.
  • Call the employers and schools of everyone in the house to let them know people will not be at work or school. Plan on 24 days home for everyone living in the house. (This is because symptoms can develop up to 14 days after your last exposure.) RIDOH will give you the exact dates when they call.
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 in everyone living with you.  Watch for all the symptoms of COVID-19. Check a temperature twice a day (fever is greater than 100.4 degrees F). 
  • Get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present. Call your healthcare provider for help getting tested or look online for a testing site.
  • Help you stay in a separate room. If you are able to stay in your own room without help, people in the house can bring you your food and check on you so that you do not need to be hanging around in the same room with others in the house.
  • Remind you to wear a mask if you have to be close to them or are in the same room in the house.
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