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Your Coronavirus Update – Today, April 2, 2021

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

R.I. on track to vaccinate 70% of eligible residents by mid-May

Roger Williams University first local university to require vaccinations for attending in fall. For those with serious concerns, the university will try to help them with virtual options. Exemptions for medical/religious reasons are included.

Taunton City Council returned to in-person meetings.

A report, How the Ocean State Should Spend Its Federal Covid Relief Funds, is published by the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity. It breaks down its spending recommendations for RI’s federal COVID Relief Funds, into multiple categories: Educational Uses, Small Business & Economic Uses, Infrastructure Uses, General Budget and Public Uses, Senior Citizen Uses, and Civic Uses. You can access the report, here: http://rifreedom.org/wp-content/uploads/RICFP-COVIDrelief.pdf

RentReliefRI will offer eligible state residents who are having trouble covering their rent or housing-based utilities. More info at www.RentReliefRI.com

Vermont expects to expand vaccine eligibility to out-of-state college students and second homeowners April 30

Maine and North Carolina are opening up eligibility a week early for COVID-19 vaccines to all residents 16 and older next Wednesday.

Weather for outdoor activities on Easter in RI will be chilly, with the afternoon the best.

Father Batista, of Bristol’s St. Elizabeth’s Church has died in Brazil, where he had been hospitalized with COVID. He was an advocate in the Portuguese community and had traveled to see his parents, who were sick with COVID.

Cranston will not open the Budlong Pool this year, but may put in a splash feature there and at other locations around the city.

Brown University is planning for an expansion into the public health arena, with a building expansion on North Main Street in Providence

Mobile COVID vaccine clinics coming to Fall River, New Bedford next week

MA Governor Charlie Baker toured the mass vaccination site at the Hynes Convention Center on Tuesday with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky and other officials, one day after Walensky, a physician-administrator with deep Boston ties, warned of a feeling of “impending doom” over rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide. In Massachusetts, Walensky said, “3.5 million people have received one dose, and one in five people, 20 percent, are fully vaccinated. And that is because of partnerships like the one we’re standing in today.” Walensky says, “there is reason for hope”.

02910 and 02920 in Cranston are in the second tier of Rhode Island’s harder hit communities, along with places like East Providence, Johnston, West Warwick, and Woonsocket. We are going to be implementing strategies next to ensure that our immunization rates are as high as possible in these communities. This is absolutely a focus for the McKee administration and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

RI Press Conference with Gov. McKee

Lt. Gov. Matos in front row – so she can be updated. She will be a crucial partner in getting shots done, and opening economy.

Friday – 12K vaccine appts will be released at 9am. 25K doses for next week will be available for next week.

Fewer tests being done than previous months, because of vaccinations being done but people should continue to get tested – especially after traveling and coming back from spring break.

Will be expanding vaccinations to 50-59 – registering Monday, 4/5.

Vaccine coming into RI continue to increase – 10-16% will be set aside for High-Risk population – communities of color as well.

Vaccine interest notification system is operating portal.ri.gov to sign up. This is a preregistration site.

Most vulnerable – homelessness, homebound – progress being made vaccinating.

230K fully vaccinated in RI – ½ million doses administered.

How safe it is to move ahead with opening and variances is a concern – 40% or more of current cases are due to this variant. Continue to take close look at this, hospitalization rates, and changes. It is a serious matter – stay disciplined as we ease into reopening, Easter, etc.

Increases in 10-14 year olds. Most occurring outside of structured school settings, but we are watching this and take a close look at it.

School updates: More than 89% of school staff/teachers are vaccinated. Strict protocols, filters, air circulation etc. April 26th students can be 3 feet, rather than 6 feet apart in all schools. Capacity increased to 75%, etc. Commission Green will be addressing this next week.

Childcare centers – April 26th – all can be fully open. Still grants from $3K to $50K available – kids.ri.gov.

Large scale events – event planners should submit plans – dbr.ri.gov – for approval.

Next week info on 4th of July events and regs will be given.

Race to vaccinate – don’t put off your vaccine – so we can have a good summer. Passover and Easter cautions, please.

Dr. Scott:

Reviewed data. 5 new deaths.

Case #s have plateaued, with slight uptick as well as many other states. Last week we went up and percent positivity went up. 24 cities and towns have had increases in RI. Some w/particular are Middletown, Smithfield, Warwick, Cranston, Providence, Bristol, and West Warwick.

Hospitalizations are flat. But this # and death #s tend to lag 2 weeks from case identification. The newer variant is the dominant strain and may be so in April.

80% of those 75 and over have been vaccinated.

We are a national leader in testing and in vaccinating.

Equity council: continue to focus on narrowing gaps – we are working with Pawt/CF to get appts for people with communities with highest # of cases.

This weekend, with Easter and Passover – we are in a very different place this time than we were last year. Remember when we were advising not even to go to windows of the nursing homes! We are going in the right direction.

Treatment – we are now able to treat. Vaccines – now able to expand. But post-holiday time have always been problematic for case upticks.

Seeing extended family – celebrate outdoors; indoors, be far apart. Mask wearing important. Masks work. If you are with people outside of our household, consider that a social gathering – limited to two households indoors and 3 households outdoors. Keep groups stable and small.

Houses of worship. Virtual still happening. At church/synagogue keep distancing and mask wearing.

Same day testing available throughout RI. Get tested before the holidays if you will be seeing people.

Doing a texting campaign for information, too.

Be an ambassador – help spread the word about testing and vaccination – and treatment.

Treatment – talk to doctor about treatment, esp. if high risk or older than 64. With or without a doctor.

Tom McCarthy:

67,059 doses delivered last week. 90% administration rate this month – need to hold a small buffer in storage, to assure Monday/Tuesday delivery. 79% older than 75 have at least one dose.

Mass vaccination sites will Westerly, M-W, 9-3:15; East Prov, W-F, 9-3:15; Johnston, Tues-Wed, 2-7pm – may change and expand. Each will have 1,200 – vaccinateri.org for appts.

Developmental/disabled communities have received 6,000 doses through targeted outreach.

Homebound – 1,000+ doses delivered.  Go to covid.ri.gov/vaccination or call 2-1-1 or 462-4444.

Homeless – 600 people.

Pre-registering site we have portal.ri.gov or call 844-930-1779. Notices will go out every Wednesday by email, text, or phone call w/a one time appt. time about 2 weeks ahead of time. Link will be valid for 24 hours – if you don’t respond they will be returned for someone else to use.

Q&A:

Q: Who over-estimated the # of people in the model of hospitalization? This gives out fear, panic and people stop listening.

A: Purpose was to overreach with the worst-case scenario so we can see how much we need to take the steps we need to make sure we don’t reach those measures.

Q: ACI conditions seem to be of great concern, mixing of positive/negative people, gross filth – how often does DOH inspect the ACI for basic safety?

A: Concern separate from COVID. Will look into and evaluate. Corrections will want to evaluate and make sure changes are put in place.

Q: Why not call variances by country of origin instead of numbers? Why are countries listed on website?

A: We want to use the scientific numbers. But we will use country of origin if we need to to make people aware.

Q: J&J stock – any effect?
A: Not for this coming week, but it could in the future.

Q: Increasing frustration about prom/graduation guidelines?

A: Updates coming next week on those.

Q: Nursing home visitation

A: Most families can take their family member out for visits. Need to maintain vigilance.

Q: Will Lt. Gov. position be transformed to be the point person in certain matters?

A: Gov. McKee – great opportunity to show why we should run as a team – we will insist that it happens.

Q: Climate bill change? Why did Gov. change his overall support?

A: We should run with this as much as possible – but there are lawsuits that could be filed, attorney fees would be covered with very low threshold – we are suggesting GA appoint the AG to represent the state.

Q: In some measures RI is doing well. By other measures we aren’t doing very well (new infections per thousand, etc.) Why is this?

A: We are leading the nation in testing; also, one of the highest in the rate of positivity. This takes into account the density in our state. We continue to analyze by population, sector, demographics, etc. to see if what more we can do.

Q: Will appts continue for Tues/Fridays?

A: Yes, for mass vaccination sites. Pharmacies all the time.

Q: DCYF monitoring – what is RI doing so we don’t have disaster as happened in MA.

A: We are actively monitoring.

Q: Community connection program at White House to address hesitancy of certain communities?

A: We are continuing and expanding that. And we’ll take all resources available from D.C. Yesterday the diversity committee visited The Dunk – they will outreach to the communities.

Q: Any thought to tampering down militarized look or just have people show up?

A: We will try to educate people to feel safe. It’s a communication issue. Education. We should be extending our reach as well.

Q: Gov: do you plan on attending mass virtual or in person?

A: We will be attending in person this year. Virtual is the recommendation. Have to talk to my wife.

Q: How was yesterday with going to Johnston, etc., with Sabina Matos?

A: Very positive. Well received. Will continue that way.

Q: Do you attribute seasonality to an uptick?

A: Mixture – some improvements help people go outside more. Others mean they get together more.

Governor McKee, RIDOH Announce 12,000 Additional COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments to be Posted Tomorrow – Approximately 12,000 additional COVID-19 vaccination appointments will be posted on www.vaccinateRI.org on Friday at 5 p.m.  “Tomorrow, we’ll be releasing the largest batch of vaccine appointments in Rhode Island to date,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This is great news for our efforts to get as many shots in arms as quickly as possible. I encourage Rhode Islanders to make a plan to get vaccinated when they become eligible.” Vaccine is currently available statewide for people who are 60 to 64, people who are 16 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions, and people who were previously eligible in Phase 1. On Monday, people 50 to 59 years of age will be eligibility to register to get vaccinated at vaccination sites in Rhode Island. More information about eligibility is available online.

Data – April 1, 2021

Deaths: 5

Tests – 18,109 – Positives – 383 – Percent positive – 2.1%

Hospitalized – 131 – In ICU – 15 – Ventilated – 9

Deaths in hospital – 2 – New Admissions – 23 – New Discharges – 21

Vaccinated – 347,282; Both shots – 229,468

Data – March 31, 2021

Deaths: 2

Tests – 20,081 – Positives – 500 – Percent positive – 2.5%

Hospitalized – 125 – In ICU – 14 – Ventilated – 9

Deaths in hospital – 2 – New Admissions – 18 – New Discharges – 15

Vaccinated – 339,248; Both shots – 221,230

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

Major League Baseball players can now travel with their families, eat and drink in restaurants and bars, play cards and move around on planes and buses. They can use whirlpools and saunas in the clubhouse. And they no longer are required to wear a mask on the bench or in the bullpen if they have 85% of their tier 1 players and staff fully vaccinated, with a two-week delay after the final vaccination.

Moderna said it has shipped the 100-millionth dose of its vaccine to the federal government. More than 67-million of its doses have been administered in the U.S.

Texas and five other states have begun providing vaccines to everyone 16 or older, regardless of health conditions. New York will expand eligibility to all adults next week.

New Yorkers over the age of 30 can sign up for a vaccine appointment starting at 8 a.m.

All three COVID-19 vaccines – fromPfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are being distributed under emergency use authorizations rather than full FDA biologics licenses because they did not have long-term safety and effectiveness data. Testing, so far, indicate boosters may be needed after a 6 mos. period for full protection.

The US govt will partner with The Ad Council on a campaign to reach vaccine resistant groups identified as “Republicans”, or “conservatives” and those who are “religious”, primarily groups of color. The new campaigns will work with community leaders, faith groups and trusted medical experts to persuade Americans to get a vaccine shot.

Sarah Palin says she tested positive for the coronavirus and is urging people to take steps to guard against its spread, such as wearing masks.

In Colorado, DOC workers are being paid $500 to take the vaccine.

In Washington, DC, officials are watching the crowds at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival for social distancing issues.

Thousands of farm workers in Florida are being vaccinated, having been left out of public clinic opportunities.

82% of Americans have had their retirement savings impacted by COVID-19

A coronavirus outbreak tied to a church on Maui has resulted in at least 55 cases.

“Now is not the time to pull back on mitigation efforts.” – Dr. Fauci

While millions of Americans are receiving vaccinations, progress toward herd immunity has not kept pace with the new spike. Cases are rising in about half the states, led by big spikes in New York and especially New York City, Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. 

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in clinical trial on children between 12 and 15 – they now in a trial on children between 5 and 12.

Some Jewish organizations are comparing the idea of “vaccine passports” to Nazi Germany, with many invoking the memory of yellow Stars of David that Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust. Other opponents of public health restrictions have suggested or implied that the idea of opening recreational spaces only to those who aren’t at risk of COVID is similar to the Nazis’ persecution of Europe’s Jews, which culminated in genocide. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched an innovative community health initiative called “Say Yes! COVID Test” starting in Pitt County, North Carolina, and coming soon to Chattanooga/Hamilton County, Tennessee

France to enter a third national lockdown for four weeks amid COVID-19 surge.

Yemen received its first COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, a week after the internationally recognized government declared a health emergency in areas under its control.

Hospitals in Ecuador’s capital overwhelmed by COVID-19 infections, doctors say

In Texas, some city and town firefighters and ambulance crews are bringing vaccines directly to the homes of the city’s most vulnerable.

Ireland considering adding U.S., France, Germany to hotel quarantine list

Spain will use AstraZeneca vaccine for essential workers over 65

Venezuela receives doses of Russian EpiVacCorona vaccine for trials

Russia is developing a vaccine for animals.

Ongoing trial of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine confirms its protection lasts at least six months after the second dose, the companies say

Delta joins other US airlines in ending empty middle seats in May.

CDC advice for Easter:

Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit with their unvaccinated daughter and her children indoors without a mask or socially distancing. But if the neighbors decide to show up, everyone should put on a mask and stay at least 6 feet from one another. The gathering should be taken outdoors or to a well-ventilated area.

Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit with their unvaccinated daughter and her children indoors without a mask or socially distancing. But if the neighbors decide to show up, everyone should put on a mask and stay at least 6 feet from one another. The gathering should be taken outdoors or to a well-ventilated area.

Parks are a great way to relieve stress from the pandemic with family and present a relatively low risk of infection compared with other activities, Malley said.

If there are other families at the park enjoying the lovely weather, Beers suggested bringing a mask and finding an area that’s not as crowded. Parents can be creative by exploring new places and “finding things that are off the beaten path

Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from issuing public health emergency orders to mandate face masks without the approval of the state Legislature,

All 50 states have announced when they plan to open up vaccinations to all adults by May 1.

More than 3.3 million Americans died in 2020, the most ever in one year in large part because of the pandemic, federal health officials reported. The death toll was 16% above 2019. The coronavirus caused about 375,000 of the deaths, the third-leading cause after heart disease and cancer, the CDC reported.

Hong Kong to resume use of BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines on April 5

Moderna is now allowing one more dose taken out of its vials than before.

Pakistan is allowing private purchasing of vaccine by individuals.

Japan to get first batches of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from U.S.

Vaccinations for people who have had COVID does not need a waiting period, as long as symptoms are no longer being experienced. If you have received treatment with monoclonal antibodies, however, you should wait 3 months.

UVeya, a Swiss start-up, is conducting the trials of the robots with Dubai-based airport services company Dnata inside Embraer jets from Helvetic Airways, a charter airline owned by Swiss billionaire Martin Ebner. Aircraft makers still must certify the devices and are studying the impact their UV light may have on interior upholstery. The company is hopeful that the robot cleaners could reduce people’s fear of flying, even as COVID-19 circulates. “This is a proven technology, it’s been used for over 50 years in hospitals and laboratories, it’s very efficient,” Elmiger said on Wednesday. “It doesn’t leave any trace or residue.”

Fron the CDC: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.

What’s Changed

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What Hasn’t Changed

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
illustration of people enjoying a party inside

What We Know and What We’re Still Learning

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
    • We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
    • We’re still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
    • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We’re still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
  • As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who’ve had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.

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1 Comment

  1. Gary S. Dorfman, MD; Professor Emeritus Weill Cornell Medicine and Brown University Medical School on April 2, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    The story above regarding ” Some Jewish organizations are comparing the idea of “vaccine passports” to Nazi Germany, with many invoking the memory of yellow Stars of David that Nazis forced Jews to wear during the Holocaust. Other opponents of public health restrictions have suggested or implied that the idea of opening recreational spaces only to those who aren’t at risk of COVID is similar to the Nazis’ persecution of Europe’s Jews, which culminated in genocide.” as published in this issue of the Coronavirus Update is erroneous and not supported by any reliable fact-checked source. The assertion that this analogy is being made by “some Jewish organizations” is both false and hurtful. The Internet indeed does support that some individuals and organizations have made this analogy – but I can find none who are Jewish or who are representing Jewish organizations. The most frequently cited sources of this false narrative are the Kentucky Libertarian Party and Representative Madison Cawthorn of N. Carolina. Others who have made similar statements include Richard Grenell and British political pundit James Delingpole – neither of whom is Jewish nor representing any Jewish organization. In fact, several mainstream Jewish organizations, most prominently the ADL, have denounced this false narrative and inappropriate analogy. In fact, the worldwide leader in implementing vaccine passports to date is the State of Israel and there has been strong support across the political spectrum in that country for this action. It is regrettable that this otherwise very useful publication has chosen to misquote the available source material and in so doing perpetuate an unfounded and hurtful rumor. Hopefully this clarification will mitigate the harm done in some small way.