Your Coronavirus Update – Nov. 20, 2020

Photo: Sent to us by a Twitter follower – Erin Black, Plymouth Herald


CDC now recommends against ANY TRAVEL for Thanksgiving.

Pfizer will now file paperwork – today – with the FDA – for emergency approval. Moderna is expected to file within days.

Food insecurity is growing across the country, with long lines at many food giveaway locations.

185,000 cases reported in US yesterday – a new one day high.

USS Michael Murphy has an outbreak on it with at least ¼ of those onboard testing positive in Hawaii.

Only 12% Of Americans Would Get Shot ‘Immediately,’ Consumer Reports Survey Says

EpiJet, in South Carolina, is prepared to turn out 45 million single dose syringes every month.

8 months into pandemic, thousands of Michiganders still wait for unemployment benefits

Scientists say there’s little to no evidence that deep cleaning mitigates the threat of the virus indoors, because it primarily spreads through inhaled droplets.

City Winery, a bar/restaurant in NYC will soon require $50 on-site COVID-19 test for patrons

Royal Caribbean has recruited 100,000 volunteers for cruise launch test.

Maryland’s bars and restaurants must close at 10pm.

A mask mandate for New Hampshire takes effect today.

Mayor DeBlasio of NYC has indicated businesses may be shuttered for up to 2 months or more.

905 Mayo Clinic staff at multiple locations have the virus.

European officials announced a modest gain in the continent’s battle against the virus. New cases decreased to 1.8 million cases last week, down from over 2 million the week before.

Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all cruises.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that other businesses will likely shut down within a week or two as well to curb the coronavirus’ spread.

MassPort will decrease staff by 25% at Logan Airport.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott is urging Vermonters to honor the people lost to COVID-19 by renewing their commitment to protecting one another.

DC Smithsonian sites are now closed.

Ocean Spray Cranberries has begun a $100K effort to help independent restaurants.

California is now on a curfew from 10pm to 5am

US workers file 742,000 jobless claims – for a total of 68.1 million.

A Covid vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca Plc has produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly, those at highest risk of severe illness. Findings on blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in healthy adults ages 18 to 55, Astra said Monday. Older patients have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in those over 60.

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit will be limited to patients at Sutter Health in Northern California and Cleveland Clinic Florida in Miami-Fort Lauderdale until next spring. And even then, you must have symptoms and a health provider’s referral to get the test. It is showing 94% accuracy.


East Providence School District will be distance learning Monday November 23 and 24 due to staffing issues related to Covid.

Two unused nursing homes in New Bedford were turned into “COVID recovery centers” several months ago and the city may reopen them for patients that need a “step-down” recovery from the hospital, and cannot yet go home.

A US attorney has been assigned to RI to fight suspected cases of CARES Act fraud.

147 cases in maximum security ACI

100 more contact tracers have been hired by RI.

“Massachusetts health officials are tweaking the state’s quarantine guidance, allowing people exposed to COVID-19 to leave quarantine as early as 10 days if they test negative beforehand. People exposed to COVID-19 who get a test eight days into their quarantine and end up negative would be allowed to leave quarantine under the guidance that takes effect Wednesday.”

The RI Blood Center is asking for new blood donors to start giving, and existing blood donors to consider coming back more than usual – to address chronic blood shortage.

Update on the Covid positive count at the state-run Eleanor Slate Hospital: 32 staff/12 patients.

In Garden City Center, Cranston, Santa visits will not happen. Their holiday strolls continue with carolers in Victorian-era clothing, hot chocolate and a brass holiday band playing traditional and modern holiday songs. Elves will walk around during the strolls, handing out the occasional ‘surprise’ for children and adults, too. A seasonal display at the gazebo that features trees and wreathes will be where families can take holiday photographs.

Business loans from the state to local businesses may become taxable income to the owners – more info is to come.

RI Dept. of Business Regulations – business violations:

Neighborhood Mini Mart150 Elmwood Ave.,
Compliance Order

URI move classes online starting Monday, Nov. 23

$29 Million in business funds of rounds 1 & 2 have been distributed in RI, according to The Hummel Report.

RI Governor’s Address:

Next 6 weeks will be the hardest for RI

Hopeful some amt of vaccine in RI by end of year – more in Jan/Feb – by spring, much more available.

Weighing on me now is not overloading our hospital systems.

RI Data:

Deaths: 4
Tests: 15,819
Positives: 921
Percent Positive: 5.8%
Hospitalized: 298 (14 more from 11/18)
ICU: 26 (4 more)
On ventilators: 13 (same)

Weekly trend data is alarming – no comfort. First time since spring, we’ve surpassed all our thresholds and all our arrows are up.

I’ve done everything I know how to do without laying out these severe restrictions. Tried to stop the parties and the activity, but it has not worked. With so much community spread, it’s hard to pinpoint where the source is coming from. People aren’t answering questions we ask of them when contact tracing. Birthdays, baby showers, at-home social gatherings. Lots of out of home activities. Can’t always identify which ones. If we had controlled our house parties I would not be here today with such restrictions.  A lot of people are going to lose their jobs and their lives because of this approach.

We worked with IBM to identify trends and data. People are having at-home social gatherings, they are going to restaurants and bars and hanging out with people outside of their immediate households. We also know driver of mobility is restaurants and bars. A Brown university mobility study (cell phones?) saw a correlation between mobility and spread of virus.

There is high compliance with mask wearing when shopping. Hard to keep masks on when eating and drinking. Much lower compliance at a social gathering at someone’s home or with extended family and friends. Setting where people are moving around a lot, or closer than 6 feet – where the virus spreads. We know it spreads more easily indoors than outdoors. We know that schools are not major spreaders. We do know that in RI that high schools are more problematic than elementary or middle schools. Every school with 10+ cases has been a high school. Could be sports, etc. – very mobile while at school – sports, etc.

We have to reduce social activity indoors. Really clamp down.

Between now and end of year – this is the Last Mile – this is the Tipping Point:

Extending current guidance through end of next week. Bars and restaurants will continue early closures, etc.

Two changes effective now. Social gathering limit lowered to single household – if you are two people, that’s it. You cannot be spending social time indoors with people you don’t live with.  Capacity limit for big box stores – they must have a plan to handle increased capacity for shopping, Black Friday. No one in stores without mask on.

Thanksgiving plans – if you already have restaurant plans, go ahead, use extreme caution. Asking you not to travel. What you should do is stay at home, with people you live with, and celebrate Thanksgiving. If you insist on traveling anywhere – and you shouldn’t – get tested before you go – follow all the rules with mask-wearing, etc – and get tested when you come home. We will offer Binex rapid testing in the airport on Fri/Sat/Sun after Thanksgiving. You also have to quarantine.

After Thanksgiving:

Beginning on Monday – RI will enter a 2-week pause. Shut down will go longer if we don’t cooperate. Reviewed rules:

Pre-K, elementary, middle – stay open for full, in-person education – child care to stay open, mfg and construction to continue; personal services and healthcare to stay open.

Limited: in-person high school moves to virtual; social gatherings limited to only your own household; indoor dining reduced to 1/3 capacity, early closure, only dine with your own household; retail – 1 person per 100 sq. ft; houses of worship to 1/4th capacity.

Closed: colleges and universities must stay virtual; offices should close whenever possible & move to remote whenever possible; bar areas will be closed, drinks can be served at tables when people are eating; recreational venues, bowling alleys, Twin River, gyms, indoor sporting, indoor fitness, organized sports – closed. We need a hard pause.

Stimulus funds – some remain, 10s of millions which we can give to help small businesses.  Goal is to have it be significant. Simple process.

“We have a 10 day ready period for those 2 weeks. We will have details about all of this at None of this will be easy. Hoped to avoid this. I know financial pain. This is only going to work if we do it – I don’t know how to say it any other way. If you are asking yourself how you can get around the rules, I’ll be back here with a full state lockdown.”

“I have been utterly ineffective to get people to follow the rules in their own homes.” 

Within 2 weeks we’ll know if we are working = test positivity should be below 5%. We’re going to look at reservation data at restaurants. Traffic data. Enforcement data. Mobility data. We’ll see if this is working or – not.

Hospitals are at 97% capacity in their COVID beds. Field hospitals are ready. Should need to be open week after Thanksgiving. 900 beds. Problem is staffing. Dozens showing up in hospitals every day. If system gets overwhelmed, our backup is to make beds available by clearing out other beds in hospital by shutting off other procedures. Preventive care, cancer screening, etc. If we have to go to crisis levels of care, there are grim results.

If this doesn’t work – We Will Get Through – somehow. There will be more disease and more mortality.

“It’s Gonna Suck – I can hear it already”


We are going to double our capacity – and new site at McCoy and Wickford.


Q: Elementary schools are showing spread – why are you not closing them?

A: There is no evidence of this. Students will suffer more

Q: High school kids – how are you going to keep them from going out on their own

A: Hope they will listen to the rules

Q: Nobody can get a test – what is your goal – people are waiting 3-5 days – maybe you should scale back on asymptomatic?

A: Acknowledges people are waiting 5 days, etc. We are trying to fix it. Next week more BiNex instant kits.

Q: Distance learning with a good teacher will have better results than in-school with less qualified staff

A:  High schoolers should do very well, education-wise with distance learning. Younger kids need more support – issues of internet, food, home life, food insecurity, mental health.

Q: When will field hospitals open?

A:  That is the hospitals’ call.

Q: RI Interscholastic League future?

A:  Winter season cannot start until Jan. In pause period, nothing – no practices of any kind, no games.

“If President Biden would do a 6 week lockdown with appropriate stimulus, I could support that.”

Dale J. Venturini, of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, said the announcement could not have come at a worse time, the start of the holiday season.

Providence College is nw at remote learning. Spokesperson said, “Students will go home for Thanksgiving,” he said, “and instead of coming back, they will take the final two weeks remotely and not come back until January.”

Governor Raimondo’s press briefing, Nov. 19th:

Watch, here:

The Coronavirus Task Force Update, Nov. 19th:

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  1. Miriam R. Plitt on November 20, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you ri news today for posting a photo on how masks should be worn . keeping it below your nose is a “spreader.

  2. Espo1234 on November 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    WOW- I get the hospitals but c’mon the 5% is a made up number to fit an agenda.
    The positieve test number are going to go up, we are testing much more than ever. What did she think was going to happen???
    We were told late fall early winter was going to be bad time we are here it is. Yes it spreads. But I thought the testing was supposed to be helping us move on with our lives.
    You test positive you quaritien (self imposed lockdown for 10 days) if you are symptom free and or test negative you go back to living your life? I don’t get it they keep changing the rules to fit their agenda.