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Photo: The Marvel Comic, “VITALS”, honoring nurses, will be out on Dec. 30th. It is “Dedicated to the 4000 AHN nurses and their leaders who proved superheros are anything but fiction”. You can read it online, here: https://www.marvel.com/comics/issue/93069/the_vitals_true_nurse_stories_2020
RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY
At its most critical time of death and cases, the RI Dept. of Health continues to pause its data on Saturday and Sunday – and maintains only a once a week update by the Governor. No data for the public reflecting Friday through Sunday – 3 days – until noon on Monday. Only a one hour update on Thursdays.
Virtual Learning: These school departments are now switching to virtual: Coventry Cumberland, Cranston, Warwick, Johnston, Smithfield, Cranston, Burrillville, East Providence, West Warwick, East Greenwich, Woonsocket, Pawtucket, and Newport.
Lifespan and Care New England have made their staff recruitment completely flexible – choose your hours, days of the week, part time, full time, etc.
RI contact tracers must work full time, must work some weekends, and must work at the RI Dept. of Health office space.
RI for Freedom and Prosperity is circulating a Petition for COVID Transparency, asking for COVID19 tests to collect and publish critical “cycle threshold” data … a key metric by which the severity of positive tests can be judged. https://rifreedom.org/covid-transparency/
RIs infection rate is more than 30% higher than Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Maxx Fitness has subpoenaed Gov. Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Smith to court on Monday. The AG’s office has stepped in and threw out the subpoenaes. There will be a hearing today,
Brett Smiley, RI Director of Administration tested positive – he has not been at the state house for a week.
RI Data – Dec. 10, 2020
Deaths: 14 (Deaths in-hospital: 5)
Total tests: 13,598 – Total positives: 948 – Percent positive: 7%
Hospitalized: 466 (New admissions: 52; discharges: 57)
ICU: 48 – Ventilated: 25
We are in a bad position and trending in the wrong direction. More being admitted to the hospital than we’ve ever seen. RI is #1 in America for cases per 100,000. Lot of reasons – highest rate of testing, dense population, older population, multi-generational housing, lot of nursing homes – but no excuse for this. People continue to not follow the rules. More people getting sick, dying and losing their jobs.
YOU have the power to protect your household. It’s pretty simple. It’s all in your hands. Should we extend the pause? Mobility data (how we are moving about) is indicative of case increases. Shows slide about mobility – data starting to trend in right direction.
Extending pause for one more week, ending on Sunday, Dec. 20th.
Extending the business relief application period for one more week in the pause – 1,800 applications rec’d – checks going out tomorrow. Extending deadline until Monday at midnight. Online webinar at tax.ri.gov to explain the application.
Unemployment supplement of $200 will go one more week as well.
Restrictions that will continue from Dec. 21st until end of year: Changes: some lower capacity limits in big box stores. Go to ShopLocalRI.com to shop. Houses of worship will stay the same through end of year. Bar areas will remain closed – drinks only served to those seated at tables, eating.
Dec. 21st on: restaurants can slightly increase capacity, but only seat people from same household. Gyms, venues, etc. can open 12/21 w/new restrictions. Many details can be found at reopeningri.com.
Thurs, Jan. 7th – this press conference will address how the new year will begin. Theme now is “Protect Your Household”
Schools: Seeing very low positivity rate in K-12 schools.
Gov. Raimondo: “To those who are throwing in the towel on our children, I ask you to reconsider. There’s no reason for it. I’m doing everything I know how to do to keep kids in school. I think it’s a shame – you are letting the children down and I don’t see any reason for it and I ask you to rethink it. To the superintendents, who decided to go virtual – I want you to look at yourself in the mirror because I think you can do better.”
Statistics on suicide ideation in children is through the roof, mental health services are overrun, children are falling behind and scared.
Dr Philip Chan reviewed the vaccine – he believes they will begin in RI as early as next week.
Q: Dept. of Corrections – risk – what are you doing about this population? Has anyone died of COVID? More yard time to reduce risk? Gov: what would you say about modifying the population?
A: We’re aware of it and doing what we can going forward. No, no one died. TY for the outside suggestion – we’re applying all suggestions. Gov: I do not have authority to modify the population. It’s important to realize that we’re dealing with maximum security. Early release of lower level offenders is being done.
Q: What evidence do you have that people are not following the rules?
A: The mobility increased and that is evidence of that. We know when mobility goes down, cases go down. Contact tracing tells us that specifically.
Q: Percent positive has gone down – do you think it’s because of the pause.
Q: Unions are very vocal about schools – now you say “it’s shameful”??
A: I feel for teachers – in no way do I want to minimalize it – but the harm that is being done to our children is massive – kids will face lifelong challenges because of this.
Q: School districts have said the staffing is short due to illness.
A: They have to find a way to be creative to solve their problems. Gov says “we have substitutes – hundreds and hundreds of teachers”. Any public health expert in the world will tell you yes, it is safe to have the kids in school. Work, creativity – more support, more filters, subs, etc.
Q: Dr. Ranney laid out scenarios but could not pinpoint why RI is #1- is it possible that it’s just a mystery to medical science as to why it’s spreading so rapidly.
A: Test positivity #s are middle of the pack. Average. Some items are out of our control. Dense population, multi-generational homes, nursing homes, old-olds, etc. “Maybe I was wrong in saying it was rule following”. But I know we cannot stay at this pace. Can’t have 70 people going to the hospital every day.
Q: MA has stopped elective surgery – what about RI?
A: No, not at this time. We’re going to let them manage it.
Q: What significant changes are you making – it doesn’t seem like anything big is different today?
A: Continuing the pause. Tripling testing. Deep inside high density communities. Testing in community. First 3 isolations units in 3 nursing homes.
Q: As you extend pause are you prepared to handle violators?
A: It’s really hard for them to obey – so we’re sending money out the door to help them.
Q: State has stopped some things that CDC says is ok – indoor swimming, for instance.
A: All of our decisions are balanced. We have our own local data.
Q: Business conditions are so bad – when does state accept responsibility and ask who is going to pay for all the things in the “skinny” budget?
A: No tax increases is very important. Some cuts in the budget. Bonds support housing crisis. Investments in childcare and pre-K. I agree in fiscal responsibility, but right now is not the time for austerity. Danger now is not investing and passing an austerity budget. If feds don’t come through with stimulus, furloughs are on the table.
Q: Plan is to partially lift pause – what if data doesn’t support that?
A: I always reserve the right to make changes.
Christmas is still 15 days away – the rule is stick with your household Christmas. Should not be traveling.
Vaccine question – why isn’t the state of RI going to administer the vaccine. We’re going to work with our existing infrastructure.
Q: I’m set for vaccination in May or June but murderers are set for February – is that a typo?
A: No. They live in congregate housing.
Q: Side effects?
A: People do tend to feel poor for a bit after the 2nd vaccine.
Watch the full press conference, here: https://www.facebook.com/GinaMRaimondo/videos/2703142323281626
A lot of you asked me to share @GovRaimondo's comments on schools going to distance learning and her pointed message to those superintendents. Here is an extended and edited clip of her remarks including the question I asked her on the matter⤵️https://t.co/gGQWWsdvLm @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/uoyjFwGP7u— Anita Baffoni (@AnitaBaffoni) December 10, 2020
A lot of you asked me to share @GovRaimondo's comments on schools going to distance learning and her pointed message to those superintendents. Here is an extended and edited clip of her remarks including the question I asked her on the matter⤵️https://t.co/gGQWWsdvLm @wpri12 pic.twitter.com/uoyjFwGP7u
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
A U.S. government advisory panel of the FDA has endorsed Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine last night. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the recommendation. The advisory group, in 17-4 vote with one abstention, concluded that the shot appears safe and effective against the coronavirus in people 16 and older. A final FDA decision is expected within days – or sooner.
St. Luke’s Hospital in Texas, closed in 2019, will reopen in 7 days to offer 235-300 beds – though staffing will remain an issue.
Boston College football has given up its chance to play in a post-season bowl game, so students can spend time with their families for the holidays.
The original Biogen conference that led to the first large spread of coronavirus in Massachusetts, can now be traced to 300,000 people impacted.
New Mexico has institute “crisis care” plans – rationing of care.
U.S. production of N95 masks will reach 180 million per month in January, up from 20 million a year ago, federal officials said Thursday. About 150 million of the U.S.-made masks are being produced now.
Delta Air Lines is now asking more employees to take unpaid leaves of absence, a sign of the deepening slump in air travel.
Johnson & Johnson is developing a single-dose vaccine. They are expected to file for authorization by February or sooner.
None of the vaccines in development in the U.S. use the “live” virus that causes COVID-19. Most of the vaccines under development introduce the “spike” protein found on the surface of the virus. They train the immune system to recognize this protein and attack in case of infection.
People who have had COVID-19 “may be advised” to get the vaccine, “due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible,” according to the CDC.
Clorox suggests asking local stores for their new delivery dates if you can’t find their products. They don’t expect normal availability until 2022.
1 in 5 Americans spent Thanksgiving in other than their own homes.
Legislators say they will move to make grants non-taxable – at the present time they are taxable income to individuals and businesses.
Moderna testing on 12-18 year olds with plans to vaccinate young people next spring.
New Hampshire House Speaker Dick Hinch died from COVID-19, a medical examiner ruled Thursday following his unexpected death.
The CDC in its review of the Pfizer vaccine said that more needs to be done to study the vaccine on pregnant women, teens, and other subsets of people to assure safety.