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RI Coronavirus Update – Today – Oct. 16, 2020

National & International

Hanover, MA high school hockey team has 36 positive players

Blood type more important in determining course of coronavirus infection:https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/89117?xid=nl_covidupdate_2020-10-15&eun=g626538d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DailyUpdate_101520&utm_term=NL_Gen_Int_Daily_News_Update

Vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will suspend in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for coronavirus. The campaign said Biden had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours campaigning together in Arizona on Oct. 8.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he’ll cut funding to Orthodox yeshivas that defy local lockdowns in coronavirus cluster zones.

Europe’s financial markets fell sharply Thursday on concerns that the new restrictions will undercut the continent’s economic recovery. Stocks were down slightly on Wall Street.

A series of recent studies found that people with healthy levels of vitamin D were less likely to contract COVID-19 and suffer severe complications from it.  healthy levels of vitamin D 

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Dr. Anthony Fauci issued a dire warning about the surging coronavirus cases around the country — saying that people “may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering,” according to a report. The 79-year-old top infectious diseases doctor told “CBS Evening News” on Wednesday that his three children will not be coming home for the holiday because his age puts him at increased risk. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told anchor Norah O’Donnell.

Esmeralda County in Nevada, Loving County in Texas and Skagway in Alaska, which uses the term “boroughs’’ rather than “counties” are remotely located and have fewer than 1,100 residents, undoubtedly key factors in allowing them to escape the COVID19 scourge with no cases.

Boulder County, Colorado health officials have eased restrictions on gatherings of college-aged adults after coronavirus case numbers declined. Previously, anyone 18 to 22 years old was limited to gatherings of no more than two people.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country is committed to keeping the border closed until the United States gets control of COVID-19.

A new pre-travel testing program will allow visitors who test negative for COVID19 to come to Hawaii and avoid the two weeks of mandatory quarantine.

Child Labor: The coronavirus pandemic is threatening the future of a generation of the world’s children, depriving them of schooling and sending them to work. Across the developing world, two decades of gains against child labor are eroding. With classrooms shuttered and parents losing their jobs, children in Kenya are grinding rocks in quarries. Tens of thousands of children in India have poured into farm fields and factories. Across Latin America, kids are making bricks, building furniture and clearing brush, once after-school jobs that are now full-time work. Child labor is seen has a path to survival for whole countries.

The Women’s March will return to D.C. on Saturday despite concerns about preventing the spread of COVID-19,

US tops 8 million cases. Kentucky, North and South Dakota are particularly overwhelmed. Houston and Miami are preparing for 3rd surge and Colorado says it is in its 3rd wave. Oklahoma and Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, also.

Paris has 1/2 of ICU beds filled with COVID19 patients. Their city is on mandatory curfew at 9pm, and 8 other regions.

Rome looking at city-wide lockdowns.

Germany says it is at the beginning of a “very big outbreak”.

London is banning people from meeting anyone from meeting anyone outside of their household at any location.

Kamala Harris’ chief of communications and another staffer test positive for coronavirus.

Joe Biden‘s staff members test positive for coronavirus, though he was not around them.

Chris Christie, who was released after spending 7 days in an ICU with coronavirus, says he was wrong not to wear a mask at the White House event. He

Football – college and pros – 21 on Florida Gators are positive. No bubbles are planned, with the likelihood they will not play their games by year end. Falcons have positive case. Patriots all set now, with Newton returned.

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

Smithfield High School cross country runner tests positive

March Madness at the RI Convention Center may or may not happen, depending upon the virus. RI will also host in 2024 & 2025.

Fall River has been labeled a high-risk city.

Dozens of hotel workers in RI demonstrated yesterday for their hotels to rehire them.

About a dozen Rhode Islanders have filed suit against the Governor of RI asking for a court order ending the state of emergency would “allow normal life to return and would solve the foregoing problems,” (https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20201015/10-ri-residents-sue-raimondo-for-depriving-them-of-rsquonormal-eventsrsquo-and-rsquoair-of-best-qualityrsquo)

RI’s unemployment rate fell 2.4 percentage points in September to 10.5%. Retailers added 700 jobs last month and the hospitality sector added 600 jobs

RIDMV has Saturday morning hours to renew licenses, etc. as extensions expire Dec. 30th.

Gov. Raimondo will get weekly tests.

In Tiverton, there are 37 students and a teacher – 30 from the high school and seven at the middle school – in quarantine at home for 14 days who came into contact with that student or another person in the community who tested positive. There is also a major busing shortage that limits the ability to have more back to school capability.

Major expansions to the Restore Rhode Island Grant Program including increasing the size of potential grant awards up to $30,000 – doubling the original grant sizes. Eligibility for the program is also being increased to allow non-profit organizations and private child care facilities that have not received other CARES Act funding opportunities. Applicants who have already received Restore grants and have expenses not covered under their original grant application will be eligible to request additional funding under a streamlined process. Rhode Island Commerce will be holding an information session on these changes on Tuesday, October 20 at 10:30 AM.” You can sign up for the information session at https://commerceri.com/about-us/restore-ri/

Cam Newton back on Patriots’ roster, might play on Sunday

US jobless claims rise to 898,000

Dr. Anthony Fauci has issued a dire warning about the surging coronavirus cases around the country — saying that people “may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering,” according to a report. He says his three children will not be coming home for the holiday because his age puts him at increased risk. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci.

Governor’s address:

RI Data:

2 deaths – both in 90s

Good news: We are doing a lot of testing and tracing.

Problem is in small gatherings, sharing food, family events, etc. We’re putting our guard downs – cases coming from intimate, indoor gatherings. “Not as many levers I can pull.” Most of the problems are happening in your home, in your backyards. Changes we have to make are in our personal lives.

If things get worse, I’ll have no choice but to pull back.

Actions we can all take:

Holidays: Halloween – cancel your parties. Young adults, no parties. Trick or Treating is allowed. Young kids need a sense of normalcy, chance to be outside. You have to wear your mask, small groups, distancing, wash your hands. If you don’t listen to this, you can get others sick. Be home before dark.

“I’m just asking you to do the right thing.”

If you insist on having a party greater than 15 people – “we will shut you down”. If you violate this you can be fined $500 per person. RI State Police will triple its enforcement around Halloween as well as local police and DBR will be out in full force at bars and restaurants. Parents, monitor your children. Cases skyrocketing 19-24.

Thanksgiving: Keep it local this year. Consider not traveling. Next week more detail and official rules will be put out. No prohibition, just asking you.

Mask-wearing: People are doing a great job in retail, restaurants, businesses. Unfortunately we need to do a better job in small, casual, social settings. In comfortable settings we let our guard down. Renewed vigilance around mask wearing. Go to your friend’s house – sit six feet apart – eat outside.  RIDOH will have new guidance around mask wearing.

Businesses:  Also too comfortable in break rooms and offices. Small break rooms are small, no windows, etc. Effective today, new regulations to close break rooms for the next 90 days. Not saying don’t take a break – employers need to find alternative, safer ways to do this. Allow more time, outside, bigger room, keep windows open, require them to keep their masks on. Regulated employers go to reopeningRI.com for details, and ideas. NOT talking about cafeterias or big lunch rooms. Not seeing problems there.

Employers: If employees can do their jobs from home, let them stay working from home.  Help your employees not to have to carpool. Seeing spread this way. Especially in manufacturing locations. Wear a mask, keep windows down, wash hands. If employers can change hours, talk to employees, etc. do that.  Encourage employees to all get tested, even if they are asymptomatic. Go to portal.ri.gov.

Teachers/Principals: Talk to the kids about why they should not have Halloween parties – why they should wear masks.

College/Universities: Help us crack down on parties, etc.

Faith leaders: Doing a good job. But you have to do better. In the church is ok, but what happens after church – coffee hour, breakfast, etc.

Bus drivers: ask people – hand out masks.

Waitstaff: Get tested as asymptomatic people.

Facebook Live tomorrow with Dr. Chan from Health Dept.

Q:  PPE N95 or up masks for front line workers…do we have sufficient supplies?

A:  Medical grade PPE is in adequate supply.

Q:  Pawtucket – why so hard on them?

A:  If other cities can do this, so can Pawtucket. Hybrid is fine. To say ‘we can’t do it’ is not right. Let us help them get the kids back to school.

Q: Drumbeat of bad news, stress on society, etc. Is there an opportunity to put up some good things to look forward to if we meet certain guidelines?

A: Yes, excellent point – once we get through this I want to start looking at that. It isn’t forever, we can release restrictions – there will be a vaccine in months, not years. Still looking at ways we can help businesses get back to business when things reopen fully. Need to relax business regulations for one.

Q: Thanksgiving. What is travel restriction? How do you have 10-12 people around a table?

A: Stay off a plane, a train. Stay as local as possible. Keep your gathering as small as possible. Not the year for a big gathering. Keep windows open. Keep grandma in another room. Don’t share utensils, family style bowls. Limit the length of gathering.

Governor’s Press Release:

We need to be wearing masks more often. Anytime you’re with people you don’t live with — wear a mask. Even if it’s just with a small group of people in the comfort of your own home. Even if you’re just going for a walk with a neighbor. We feel safe in these settings, and that’s when the virus spreads. If we take off our masks, we could be spreading the virus without even knowing we have it, and our friends will then go into work and see their families, and it doesn’t take long before it spirals. So let’s make mask-wearing our default. Ask yourself, “Is there any reason I should NOT be wearing a mask right now?” 
Let’s move on to the holidays. Halloween is two weeks away. Trick-or-treating will still be allowed, but it’s going to look different this year. We’re asking that you go in small groups, stay six feet apart, and wear cloth masks the entire time. In addition, we’re asking everyone to do your trick-or-treating in the daylight. As it gets darker, it gets more challenging – and less safe – for kids to be spread out in the way they need to be. So this year, I’m asking families to start a bit earlier and be home before sunset.
Do not, under any circumstance, have a Halloween party. Cases and hospitalizations are rising, and your decision to have a party will put more people in the hospital.
I also know people are already starting to plan for Thanksgiving. Please, keep it local this year and do not travel. We’ve talked all along about how our actions impact the case numbers we see a few weeks later. Well, three weeks after Halloween is Thanksgiving. And a month after that is Christmas. We were under a stay-at-home order for Easter, and Passover, and Ramadan. None of us wants to be back under a stay-at-home order for Thanksgiving or Christmas. But if we don’t recommit ourselves to following the rules today, then it’s not out of the question. 
Lastly, we all need to be getting tested more often. Doing asymptomatic or “sentinel” testing is key to our overall testing strategy, and it is especially important now. It allows us to better understand where our problem areas are and take a more targeted, precise approach to our response. And it helps you better protect your friends and family when you may not even know you’ve been exposed.
The picture above lists all of the different groups that are the current focus of our asymptomatic testing program. Anyone who falls into these categories, please go to portal.ri.gov and sign up for a free test. Over the next week, I want Rhode Island to run 4,000 asymptomatic tests. 
This is a crucial junction for Rhode Island. Dr. Alexander-Scott will be discussing this new guidance further in a Facebook Live event with Dr. Philip Chan tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. You can view that event even if you do not have a Facebook account on the RIDOH Facebookpage.

The Rhode Island House Republican Caucus issued the following statement regarding today’s briefing by Governor Gina Raimondo:

Today’s announcement by the Governor to further restrict the liberty interests of Rhode Islanders again raises profound concerns about the function of state government. That these decisions continue to be unilaterally made by the Governor without any lawful and necessary legislative oversight is a further abdication of responsibility by the General Assembly, which falls squarely in the laps of the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and all members of the General Assembly that continue to remain silent. 

Our citizens and businesses have been without proper representation since March, and it is long past time for the General Assembly to do its job. We simply cannot continue in this manner – as the People of Rhode Island are losing patience with government by executive order and a General Assembly that refuses to perform it’s solemn duty to act as the check and balance to the Governor. 

Our country was founded on the principle of disbursement of power through various branches of government. Right now, here in Rhode Island, the Governor acts as the Executive and Legislative branches. We are not necessarily saying that the Governor’s recommendations are wrong, but they are coming from a place of unchecked power, and that is wrong.

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