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Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Dec. 8, 2020

Photo: First person to receive Pfizer vaccine in UK, today, 4am. See video, below…

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

Rhode Island has added Massachusetts to its COVID travel advisory list. The move means that people coming from Massachusetts into Rhode Island for non-work related purposes will have to quarantine for 14 days after they arrive in Rhode Island, or test negative for the coronavirus in the 72 hours before they get here, unless they meet an exemption.

Governor Charlie Baker said, effective Friday, all hospitals will temporarily cease in-patient elective surgeries that can safely be put off. Three new free express testing locations in Framingham, New Bedford and Lynn will open as well as increased capacities at others.

Gracie’s restaurant on Washington Street and the adjacent café Ellie’s Bakery, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Massachusetts positivity rate is 5.5% – RI is 10.7% – CT is 6.6%

Rhode Island Commerce announced $1.4M of awards through the state’s Hotel, Arts & Tourism relief program to small businesses and nonprofits –

Congratulations to these Round 1 arts and culture grantees! – The Arctic Playhouse, AS220, Chorus of Westerly, Contemporary Theater Company, Everett, Flickers, Gallery Events LLC, Gamm Theater, The Pawtucket Foundation, Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport Music Festival, Rhode Island Museum of Science & Art, Rhode Island Zoological Society, The Talent Factory, TEN31 Productions, Trinity Repertory Company and The Steel Yard.

Cranston Schools all go virtual until at least January 4th (parents received this letter today):

“We hope that this message finds you and your families in good health. Today’s message is to let you know that  beginning on Thursday, December 10 we will be closing all school buildings from now through at least January 4, 2021. All students will be learning virtually until further notice starting on Thursday, December 10, 2020. In accordance with our district calendar, all classes and virtual learning will continue until December 23, 2020. 

As you know, our school district has been working very hard to keep our schools open for those students who have needed or wanted to have in-person learning opportunities. We have also been working very hard to maintain all of the required health and safety measures for our staff and our students. We are grateful to our staff and administrators for the unbelievable amount of time and effort that they have been putting in over these past few months managing in-person learning simultaneously with distance learning, along with managing a global pandemic. We also appreciate your patience and your flexibility as we have navigated through these past months. This has not been an easy time for anyone, and this decision was a difficult one, but one that did not leave us with many choices. 

We are seeing a surge in cases in our community and across the state that is unprecedented, and we are unable to staff our buildings safely any longer. We are seeing more students and staff who are positive and more families who are affected by this pandemic. With the inability to consistently and predictably manage our staffing due to positive cases, quarantining, testing time requirements, and just general absenteeism, it is not fair to parents and staff to not know from one day to the next if we can open our schools. 

Before we are due to reopen in January we will assess our situation as a district and take note of any directives being given from the governor and the RI Department of Health. We will determine before we reopen in January whether or not we will be reopening in person or whether we will need to continue virtually. We will communicate this information to our families at that time. I am hopeful that everyone does their best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, so we are able to reopen after the holidays. […] We wish good health to all of you in the days and weeks ahead and we thank you for your continued support.

The  Employer Crush COVID  Challenge will be debuted by the RI Business Group on Health with a webinar on Wednesday, 12/9, at 9am. Employers will be given access to an online toolkit containing links to information and materials that will help facilitate participation in the challenge.  The RIBGH Crush COVID Employer Challenge Committee will review the applications and select the winners based on a combination of the greatest number of compulsory points earned, most creative employee engagement strategies, and creative safe workplace executions. To learn more: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tJeuyCp-RUaxK4G6B1IG-g

A Lending Library is available for RI businesses offering chairs, tables, heaters, etc. for loan. Available for 2 weeks at a time. Go to Providence and Warwick Convention Bureau. Priority to Providence, Cranston, and Warwick.

RI’s budget, beginning fiscal year July, 2020 – will be released Wednesday night. It’s seen as a bare bones budget, with no new initiatives.

Vaccine deployment in RI will begin with frontline health-care workers including nurses, doctors and others who treat COVID patients which will require two doses a few weeks apart.

Both large hospital groups are looking for staff – part time, temporary, full time, permanent, and medical volunteers. Links for more info: Lifespan: https://jobs.lifespan.org/ – Care New England:  http://www.carenewengland.org/

Dr. Justin Berk has been named interim Medical Director at the ACI, to replace the director who has stepped down.

Vermont anticipates receiving 6,000 units of vaccine when it is distributed.

Connecticut is creating an Office of Pandemic Preparedness to manage the crisis from PPE to staffing, vaccinations, etc.

RI Data: Dec. 7, 2020

Deaths: 17 (1 day – 35 total since Fri) (Deaths in-hospital: 11)

Total tests: 7,856 (1 day) – Total positives: 977 (1 day) – Percent positive: 10.7% (1 day)

Hospitalized: 422 (New admissions: 55; discharges: 39) – ICU: 45 – Ventilated: 30

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

UK woman, 90 years old, was the first to receive the Pfizer vaccine this morning. See video, below.

Rome will set up a drone/helicopter surveillance system for people breaking quarantine.

40% of all NYFD firefighters say they will not take the vaccine.

Student loan freeze that was to expire in Dec. has been extended to end of January.

Tuesday the White House Summit on Vaccine Distribution will meet – however, Pfizer and Moderna CEOs will not attend because they are before the FDA for their vaccine approvals.

Goya has named Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez as honorary Employee of the Month as her request for a boycott ended up increasing sales 1000%.

Pfizer said that their shipment of vaccine to the US will not be added to after it is complete until at least June, due to their commitments to other countries with pre-orders.

US govt says tonight that once American needs have been met, vaccine can be shipped out – a Presidential EO will be signed tomorrow.

FDA authorized the first combination COVID-19 and flu combination test, developed by Quest, to allow for at-home collection of respiratory samples. It will be available by prescription only for patients with symptoms of respiratory viral infection.

Admiral Giroir said there is no science that would require restaurants and bars to close that were outdoors.

Russia and China are already vaccinating with their own vaccine.

UK begins vaccinating today.

HHS plans to distribute $523 million to more than 9,000 nursing homes for reducing COVID-19 deaths and infections from September to October.

CVS is recruiting thousands of medical tech workers for vaccine distribution.

Vaccine confirmation apps are propping up – may be used in the future to go into stadiums, or large venues. LA Soccer said that app confirmation of vaccination will be mandatory to opening up.

Australian government said they may require proof of vaccination for entrance into the country.

A person who works in New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s office was diagnosed with COVID-19

Cambridge, MA Public Schools will be making a shift to full remote learning because of a jump in COVID-19 cases in the city.

Medical school applications have surged 18% this year – it’s called the Fauci effect.

First person to receive Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – in UK, 4am this morning.

Margaret later said, “Go for it! It’s free, and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. If I can do it you can do it, too”.

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