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Your Coronavirus Update – Jan. 11, 2022

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

Highlights: 1) Nursing home/assisted living visitation changes – vaccination proof or very recent negative test – 2) tests to be covered by health insurance as early as Saturday, 8 per person per month – 3) COVID could peak locally within 2 weeks – 4) $50M in RI for mortgage help for Rhode Islanders. – 5) Rhode Island says it has no plans to change the way hospitalization data is reported to reflect WITH Covid vs. BECAUSE OF Covid.

Rapid Antigen Tests available at a Fall River company, and for sale on pcrplan.com – a Merrow website. These are, right now, quantity boxes that sell for $325 for 25 tests. Individual tests will also be available in the near future. Unclear if these are included in the health insurance reimbursement plan.

RIDOH says COVID may peak this coming week – whenever that happens, a rapid decline in cases should follow as it has in other locations.

RIDOH has said they have no plans to clarify the hospitalization data to reflect patients with vs. because of COVID – as the federal government and the state of Massachusetts are now doing, as well as other states, when it was learned that over 40% of admissions may be due to patients with a primary condition for admittance, WITH Covid and not because of it.

The NEA has called on RI schools to go virtual for one week at least.

11 workers at Eleanor Slater Hospital were sent home for not being vaccinated – 1 has been vaccinated and returned.

7 workers at the Veterans Home in Bristol were not vaccinated – 4 have been vaccinated and returned.

Slater Hospital may opt not to test staff or patients unless they are symptomatic.

Rhode Island holds several #1 spots in national COVID data:

  • most newly identified cases of coronavirus per capita
  • conducted the most coronavirus tests per capita
  • most known coronavirus cases per capita

Testing sites new for TODAY – go to C19VaccineRI.org to register:

NEW: COVID-19 testing site in PAWTUCKET – 675 Beverage Hill Ave. (moved from Stop and Shop, Cottage Street) Open seven days a week, 8am to 6pm. Approx. 500 appts aviaiilable per day for rapid testing.

COVID Positivity Rate At 32% In Boston.

COVID cases top 24% in Central Falls –  RI reached 18% positivity statewide.

Coventry is virtual today – with hopes to be back in person Wednesday.

Massachusetts is using an online site for people to prove their vaccination status – called MyVaxRecords. Some 12 other states use a digital method. in offering a digital certificate to show proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19. But the state said it’s not a first step toward mandatory “vaccine passports.”

Those who care for nursing home patients in Massachusetts must now get a booster shot by the end of February to continue employment.

Outbreaks at ski resorts are said to be happening in ski lodges, restaurants, bars – not on the slopes.

A shortage of drivers – who are sick with COVID – is causing delays and long outdoor waits in Boston’s MBTA lines.

By mid-January, the state of Massachusetts will begin publishing data of hospitalized patients both because of COVID and with COVID, but admitted for other primary reasons.

In Massachusetts, because testing is so hard to find, doctors have asked people who suspect they are positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home regardless of confirmation. 

Massachusetts is using lottery selling stores as vaccination clinics.

Some schools in New Hampshire are closed due to staff absences from COVID

Yale’s students who are on quarantine are told they can’t eat at restaurants, but can do food pickups.  

At Princeton, until Feb. 15th, undergrads on campus are told they cannot leave the immediate community for personal reasons, except in “extraordinary circumstances”.

Roger Williams Law School will move to remote.

Some high rises in Boston have luxury vending machines stocked with COVID tests – the testing debacle furthers the disparity around poverty.

Johnson & Wales will move to remote.

Worcester has extended its free MBTA program for another year.

The Providence City Council has asked the Governor for more test availability and to implement a “test and stay” program at city daycare centers. They also want colleges/universities to share extra tests with the city.

Boston’s hospitalizations are up 50% in one week.

Passim’s Boston Celtic Music Festival goes virtual.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is ordering nursing home workers and contractors who have significant contact with residents to get a vaccine booster shot by Feb. 11, noting the state’s increasing COVID-19 infection rate among staff.

Rhode Island has now opened applications for the HAF-RI program, which provides mortgage assistance to qualified homeowners. Check out the qualifications at RI Housing at:  www.HAF-RI.com. Eligible homeowner applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for assistance through HAF-RI:

  • Household must be below certain income limits, which varies by household size. 
  • Must own and occupy a 1 to 4-unit dwelling in Rhode Island.
  • Must have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship after January 21, 2020.
  • Original mortgage balance must have been less than $548,250.

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

Chicago schools will open today, Jan. 11th, for teachers – students will return tomorrow. Standards are agreed to about when schools need to be closed, expanded testing, contact tracing, cleaning and safety measures, etc.

CDC expected to issue advice that everyone should be wearing a KN95 mask, not surgical or cloth masks.

Starting Saturday, Jan. 15th, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans. Details here: https://www.cms.gov/how-to-get-your-at-home-OTC-COVID-19-test-for-free (note: link to more info from CMS is not operating – stay tuned for more info).

Royal Caribbean cancels voyages on 4 ships amid COVID-19 surge

Peter Doocy of White House press and FOX News tested positive and was isolating last week

Chicago schools will be closed again on Monday.

More cities in China are on severe lockdown to avoid COVID surge, halting in-person classes for all students as well. Concerns over Olympic city status when games begin in 3 weeks.

UK’s Boris Johnson & administration under fire after reports and photos of holiday parties emerge.

Spain will move from their contact tracing programs to treat COVID as an endemic virus, and not pandemic.

40 New York state hospitals will begin canceling elective surgeries today.

Restaurants are lobbying congress once again for financial assistance.

99% of COVID now is the omicron variant

Over 40% of children hospitalized in US that are counted as having COVID are there primarily for another reason and now tests positive for COVID.

Close contacts of people with Covid-19 will be allowed out of isolation to work if their job is critical for food supply or emergency services under new rules in New South Wales.

California is just one of several states bringing in hundreds of National Guard members to help serve at overwhelmed testing sites.

Moderna donates 2.7 million vaccine doses to Mexico

Omicron ticks up in Mexico, while tests remain scarce.

Omicron vaccine should be out in March or April says the head of Moderna

U.K. government advisers have recommended against giving a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to nursing home residents and people over 80 because data shows a third shot offers lasting protection against admission to the hospital. The government is said to be “racing” to vaccinate their citizens with a 3rd, booster shot.

A significant proportion of all fully vaccinated adults who died of COVID-19 had at least four risk factors associated with severe outcomes, researchers found in addition to older age (65 and up) and being immunosuppressed, having chronic kidney, cardiac, pulmonary, neurologic, or liver diseases, as well as diabetes, were all associated with higher odds of severe COVID outcomes, and 77.8% of fully vaccinated adults who died had at least four of these risk factors, reported Sameer Kadri, MD, of the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

One study showed a group of evangelicals who were resistant to vaccines changed their minds when a physician who was also an evangelical taped a video and then answered questions from people.

Justice Sotomayor incorrectly stated that over 100,000 children are in the hospital with COVID and many are on ventilators during SCOTUS hearing on vaccine mandates in companies.

Attendance at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas fell more than 75% compared to two years ago

The New York Times reported that New York City in one week burned through all 1,300 treatment courses of Paxlovid that it received in late December. On Tuesday, the US government doubled its order, but the drug won’t be plentiful until April at the earliest.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic was released from Australian immigration detention after winning his legal fight to stay in the country. The government had canceled his visa over questions about a COVID-vaccine exemption

Kohls and DSW as well as some other chain stores are moving more to self-checkout.

IRS may have delays in this year’s returns with significant backlogs still in place for last year taxes.

Savannah Guthrie is positive for COVID – on Monday she did a short interview on the Today Show from home.

While no cause of death has been released on Bob Saget, he was said to have recently had COVID.

Two of the three monoclonal antibodies that the CDC had stopped shipping to states is now being shipped again.

Quebec announced a vaccine passport would be required to enter liquor and cannabis stores – within the first day, vaccines had quadrupled, going from 1,500 per day to 6,000 just hours after the announcement.

“Long COVID”, where symptoms of COVID-19 persist for months after an initial infection, could be emerging as a chronic disease in Finland

Cyprus reportedly discovers a Covid variant that combines omicron and delta – called Deltacron.

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