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Your Coronavirus Update – Today, April 30, 2021

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

Francis Farms, a wedding venue in the East Bay, has closed, with no notice to event planners/coordinators. The town of Rehoboth is saying it may open it as a Senior Center.

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available for everyone 16+ who lives, works, or go to school in Rhode Island. Visit https://www.vaccinateri.org/ to schedule an appointment. No parental permission required.

RI is planning on more high school clinics and company clinics.

Newport’s Pop-Up Visitor Information Center at 21 Long Wharf Mall in Newport on Saturday, May 1.

The number of individuals collecting continuing unemployment benefits in Rhode Island increased by 608 week

63% of eligible Rhode Islanders have at least one dose – 70% will be reached next week.

41% of Providence businesses keeping existing offices, 62% to adopt ‘hybrid’ work policies

East Prov will begin vaccinations on Sat May 1, and May 7 – for those 16+.

Vermont is preparing to restore the work-search requirement for most people receiving unemployment aid.

MA AG Maura Healey said vaccinations should be mandatory for state workers.

The RI SBA will soon begin accepting applications from eligible entites for the new Restauraht Revitalization Fund – RRF.

Travelers to and from Maine will no longer need to quarantine or get a negative coronavirus test upon arrival starting May 1.

In MA the face coverings order will be relaxed outdoors, except for situations where it is not possible to maintain social distance and when required by business-specific guidelines. Face coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public spaces.

Connecticut will end a long-standing religious exemption from immunization requirements for schools.

Gov. McKee visited the walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Scalabrini Dukcevich Center

CVS will begin to bring back employees to their Woonsocket headquarters, phasing in, and maintaining some combination of virtual and in-person staff.

Boston delays reopening of bars, return of festivals by 3 weeks beyond state guidelines

Gov. McKee expects mass vaccination sites to close in the fall.

Six Flags New England, in accordance with Massachusetts guidelines, is scheduled to open its doors on Friday, May 14.

Encore Boston Harbor Casino will open to vaccinations, with 300 a day being available.

RI based CVS named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Companies –  specifically recognized for vaccine delivery – https://time.com/collection/time100-companies/

The number of Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid has grown by more than 40,000 people since the federal government stopped states from terminating benefits at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colleges:

Bryant University is participating in a designated day at Sockanosset Cross Road in Cranston. Bryant will provide shuttle service to the clinic.

Brown University is participating at a designated day at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Brown will provide shuttle service to the clinic.

Community College of Rhode Island held onsite clinics at CCRI campuses in Lincoln, Warwick, Providence, and Newport and promoted existing mass vaccination sites around the state to its student body.

New England Institute of Technology is participating in designated days at Sockanosett Cross Road in Cranston. NEIT is also sharing links to various current clinics.

Providence College is encouraging community members to get vaccinated at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. PC also held an on-campus clinic.

Roger Williams University is partnering with the town of Bristol to host an on-campus clinic. RWU will additionally connect community members to the existing Middletown POD.

Rhode Island College is hosting an on-site vaccination clinic. Additionally, RIC will connect community members to existing regional clinics.

Rhode Island School of Design will be promoting a “RISD Day” at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. RISD will provide shuttle service to the clinic.

University of Rhode Island will hold “URI Days” at existing mass vaccination clinics. URI will provide transportation to designated sites and will provide ice cream bars for participants.

There is no cost to get vaccinated, and participants do not need health insurance. Individuals can get vaccinated regardless of their immigration status. If college or university faculty, staff or students received their first dose in another state, they can get their second dose in Rhode Island. If they received their first dose in Rhode Island but will not be in Rhode Island for their second dose, they should ensure they can register for their second dose elsewhere before registering for their first dose in Rhode Island. RIDOH is holding informational sessions with proprietary schools and workforce development programs next week to facilitate student vaccinations.

Data – April 28, 2021

Deaths: 4

Tests – 20,160 – Positives – 304 – Percent positive – 1.5%

Hospitalized – 148 – In ICU – 34 – Ventilated – 24

Deaths in hospital – 0 – New Admissions – 22 – New Discharges – 12

Vaccinated – 537,618- Both shots – 366,525

Data – April 29, 2021

Deaths: 1

Tests – 19,066 – Positives – 264 – Percent positive – 1.4%

Hospitalized – 150 – In ICU – 32 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 2 – New Admissions – 17 – New Discharges – 15

Vaccinated – 543,267- Both shots – 375,598

Governor’s Update – 4/29/2021

Masks not required outdoors if vaccinated as of Friday

Visited Electric Boat – more than 650 people vaccinated yesterday

Other groups, orgs, high schools who want to get vaccinated – contact Gov’s office

Visited No. Prov. Walk up vaccination clinic.

National Guard helping in high density communities

Amgen doing a vaccination clinic next week.

Vaccination strategy – local college & univ. partnering; special transportation to local clinics, targeting young people. Will start to see some fun initiatives such as with the PBruins. Fidelity will partner with Smithfield HS. HS students and their families will be targeted. NK, Cranston, EP, Cumberland, Johnston schools are underway. Should be no barrier in the way. Moving to walk-in – no appointments needed more and more.

Beaches – May 15th opening and some Memorial Day weekend.

Unemployment issue – not one solution, but taking input, drafting legislation to be heard next week which will allow $300 bonus and unemployment can still pay in with partial return to work. Reinstating requirement people seek work who are collecting.

Phase 3 of vaccination effort.

Make reservations for Mother’s Day – eat local, shop local.

Dr. Chan

Reviewed data. Weekly 1.9% positive – lowest percent positive since Oct. 11th. – good place

Vaccine is working – death and case rate is down. 60+ down 80% as they are now vaccinated. Take away – these vaccines work, extremely effective. People need to get their 2nd shot. Important against variants. 

Fully vaccinated, if you have been near someone with COVID, you don’t need to quarantine. Don’t have to wear a mask outdoors, just keep distance.

J&J vaccine – starting up again this week. Safety systems are in place. Confident we can use J&J again. Pfizer & Moderna still available.

Tom McCarthy:

Good news day. Now in Phase 3. Putting vaccines in the path of Rhode Islanders. That’s why we are moving vaccinations into large employers, schools, etc., and without an appointment.

CVS, Walgreens, Walmart & Stop & Shop – no appointments needed

Phasing out of notification system – stopping on May 3rd.

Shifting from large release of appointments to targeting settings.

Commissioner Infante-Green

Majority of schools are back in person. No school in elementary, middle or high that are full distance learning. 97% of schools are mostly fully in the classroom.

Each day that passes without being in classroom is reason for concern. Addressed parents with info about mitigation efforts are working. Schools are one of the safest places for children to be.

Looking at data to see where we are with education. Starting on Monday, all the summer offerings will be listed. We need to make up where we left off with the children.

Q&A:

Q: No mandate for back to school in person?

A: We asked for students to return – before MA – our preference is people will be in school. We are encouraging it right now. All-in strategy for the fall.

Q: Wear masks in the fall?

A: Only know what we know in the moment. We will adapt along with changes. Right now there would be masks in September in schools, but it can change.

Q: What about people who get sick for a day or two or even a week – what about  sick time policy?

A: Work it out with their employer.

Q: Resignation of Courtney Hawkins – were you surprised?

A: Yes, effective May 14th – we’ll work with her in a transition.

Q: Did you go, unexpectedly, to Zambarano?

A: Trying to come up with a recommendation on what to do. Did a walk-through last night. No easy answer there. Want to make a recommendation before end of legislative session.

Q: Taxing of PPE loans, unemployment, etc. with millions coming in – why?

A: We exempted 90% of PPE borrowers. $150K or less. Other businesses have made a lot of money, have not struggled. Who pays their fair share?

Q: Thousands of appts still available – why?

A: Last week we vaccinated more than ever before. Our work is in the trenches now. Young people are starting to respond – people want their lives back.

Q: Will schools hand out diplomas?

A: Don’t know yet. Main message is we want vaccinations to happen. Supts will have details soon.

Q: Johnson & Johnson – back in the scene – 1 and done – is there demand for it?

A: Just lifted the pause. Talk to their healthcare provider if concerned. If you are concerned, two other vaccines are available.

NATIONALLY  & INTERNATIONALLY

Prince Harry and Meghan will serve as the campaign chairs of Global Citizen’s effort to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to medical workers in the world’s poorest countries. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will appear at ‘Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,’ to be taped Sunday in Los Angeles and air on ABC, CBS, FOX, YouTube and iHeartMedia radio stations on May 8, the anti-poverty nonprofit Global Citizen said Tuesday. Harry and Meghan are also leading an effort to raise money for the vaccine-sharing program COVAX.

President Biden held a news conference – noted the progress that has been made, cases and deaths down. More than 80% of seniors have at least one shot. 80% drop in deaths and 70% drop in hospitalizations among seniors. Equity of 50-50 between vaccinations of seniors who are white and of-color. 16+ all eligible in getting their vaccines. Fully vaccinated, outdoors, not in a crowd, no masks needed. If you are in a crowd, you still need to wear a mask, even if you are outside. Good reasons to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. More to come on Independence Day. 90% of American people live within 5 miles of vaccination site.

Moderna says their vaccine can now stay stable in a refrigerator for 3 months.

60% of companies are expected to require full vaccination in order to return to in-person work.

Fully vaccinated adults 65 years and older were 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people of the same age who were not vaccinated

An 11 year old boy died soon after arriving in Hawaii with his fully vaccinated parents, after contracting COVID-19 – he had underlying medical conditions.

Las Vegas is bouncing back to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, with new economic reports showing increases in airport passengers and tourism, and a big jump in a key index showing that casinos statewide took in $1billion in winnings last month for the first time since February 2020.

D.C. plans to open 11 walk-up vaccination clinics this weekend

A Louisiana Legislature committee is backing a bill to ban putting someone’s vaccine status on state issued driver’s licenses or ID cards. Louisiana isn’t the only place to have a bill banning vaccine verification of any sort from passing through its Legislature. Indiana, Iowa, etc. are instituting similar bills.

The Navajo Nation has vaccinated ½ of its adult population.

Facing a post-pandemic surge of leisure travelers, airlines are adding layovers, changing routes and even switching planes at the last minute.

Putting grounded aircraft back into service requires lots of maintenance. Laid-off flight crews need retraining and recertification before they can fly again.

US State Dept. is advising Americans to leave India immediately due to the surge of COVID.

UPS says it sees no letup in the demand for products as the pandemic lessens.

Burning Man 2021is officially not being held.

Hundreds of community health centers across the country can begin applying for a share of $1 billion in new funding for construction and renovation projects

The CEO of BioNTech says Europe will be at immunity in August.

Detroit to give $50 debit cards to help boost lagging COVID vaccination rate

Amazon is vaccinating thousands of workers. It held its first clinic in Washington state.

Births for all of 2020 were down 4.3% from 2019. Births in December 2020 and in January and February 2021—nine months or more after the spring 2020 lockdowns—were down 6.5%, 9.3% and 10%, respectively, compared with the same months a year earlier.

Bill Gates will contribute to the $3 billion in Covax funding needed to vaccinate almost 30% of people in 92 low-income countries sometime next year.

NYC is planning for a full reopening by July 1st. Smaller theaters, restaurants, etc. Broadway theaters will wait until September, however.

Moderna turbocharges its supply chain, upping commitment to 3B doses per year for a future where boosters are likely

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