Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Jan. 29, 2021


Vaccinations will begin in RI for those over 75: Every city/town will handle registration for the vaccines differently. Warwick had a registration site on their website which closed after over 300 vaccine slots were filled. Cranston begins today with people calling the Cranston Sr. Center to register. Providence had a signup online. Newport has a signup. East Providence is calling seniors. The state has plans for statewide registration coming up soon. These early registrations that are happening now are set for vaccinations next Monday, Tuesday, and might be other days. Stay in close contact with your city officials. Note: Vaccination sites may not be in the city/town where you live – note: Cranston is in East Greenwich; Newport is in Bristol; Warwick is in East Greenwich, etc.

Refer to this chart for more details about who, and when…

A Central Falls clinic last Saturday was organized/led by Asthenis Pharmacy and vaccinated a total of 500 with the Moderna vaccine. Of these vaccines, 220 went to those who are age 50 or older; 280 went to those under 50. Another clinic will be held this Saturday.

In Pawtucket, House of Hope CDC and the city is proposing creation of ECHO Village, or Emergency COVID Housing Opportunities, a temporary shelter situation for Pawtucket during the pandemic. They now have 10 temporary structures, with a goal of 100 people in Pawtucket on an emergency basis in their own compartments. This is seen as an 18-month solution as they look for longer-term solutions for tiny houses as more permanent homes for homeless people.

The Rhode Island National Guard is ramping up its effort to provide more community-based COVID-19 rapid test sites and is seeking organizations to host sites throughout the state.

Boston Colleges, hospitals, and other institutions are all wrestling with the same problem: what to do with their surplus vaccine doses.

RI Health Department spokesman Joseph Wendelken on Wednesday said there was no one cause for the “very few” wasted doses in Rhode Island.

Central Falls has consistently experienced some of the state’s highest rates of COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations within the city’s One Square Mile with nearly 20,000 residents. To continue combating the pandemic locally, CF started to expand its vaccine efforts to include all adult CF residents to help tackle the spread.

The next Central Falls Clinic is at Asthenis Pharmacy on Sunday (Jan. 31) aiming to vaccinate 550 people. It’s open to adult Central Falls residents – the registration process is still open as of this email.

At the RI Dept. of Corrections, 775 staff members had been vaccinated as of Monday, with 109 fully vaccinated. (Both authorized vaccines on the U.S. market right now require two shots a few weeks apart.) Ventura said 247 staffers refused the vaccine. Among inmates, 477 had been vaccinated, with 97 fully vaccinated. There are about 2,000 inmates at the ACI. Refusal rates weren’t available for inmates. The Department of Corrections had offered vaccines to everyone at high risk, which is based on age and health condition., Ventura said.

Dr. Jennifer Clarke, former director of medical programs at the state Department of Corrections, has assumed a new role as medical director within the state Department of Health’s COVID Unit, supporting outbreakresponse personnel.

Group homes: With over 600 positive residents in RI since last week, at least 1,300 residents and staff of group homes for adults with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since Jan. 16, with another 500 vaccinations scheduled this week, and plans underway for additional clinics next week, according to a spokeswoman for group home operators, Tina Spears, executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island.

Wyatt reported 18 active COVID cases among the detainees, 4 of which were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Fifteen staff were also infected.

After a decade marked by bankruptcy and hundreds of store closures, Friendly’s Restaurants LLC is poised for a revival under new ownership, including the potential to reenter the Rhode Island market.

Roger Williams University is starting the spring semester with a testing program that requires students to get tested twice per week.

Describing this week’s rollout of expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility as “a mess,” Cape Cod Sen. Julian Cyr said the Baker administration should have done a better job setting expectations for vaccine availability for seniors, and might have benefited by waiting until supply to the state increased.

In Vermont, more than 13,000 residents 75 or older signed up to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first few hours a state signup site was open Monday.

In Massachusetts, although the Baker administration has described the vaccine rollout as “bumpy,” the Biden administration is promising a faster turnaround of vaccines, a senior state Department of Public Health official said Wednesday that a target to make doses available to the general public starting in April is still in play.

In Massachusetts, the $45.6 billion budget does not include any tax increases on residents and Baker is proposing to cut state spending by about $300 million or 0.7 percent while state tax revenue is expected to rise 3.5 percent over the current budget year.

DoorDash is providing $250,000 in COVID-19 relief grants for Rhode Island restaurants. As part of the company’s $200 million, five-year Main Street Strong Pledge program, restaurants will be able to apply for $5,000 grants to be used to offset costs associated with the pandemic. Applications, available online, are being accepted through Feb. 17. Eligible restaurants in RI and MA will be required to have three stores or fewer currently operating, $3 million or less in 2019 revenue per store and employ 50 or fewer people per store.

MA has plans to have 165 vaccination sites available by mid-February and has moved people 75 and older ahead in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,

In Massachusetts: Concerned about the potential for another year of declines in college enrollment, especially among groups including students of color and those from low-income families, officials at state schools are exploring ways to encourage high school seniors to complete financial aid applications.

The Massachusetts Lottery saw greater sales and profit performance during the six months from July through December 2020 than it did during the same six months in pre-pandemic 2019

The leaders of two statewide teachers unions and the Boston Teachers Union say they are alarmed by the new vaccination plan Massachusetts officials unveiled Monday, which prioritizes people ages 65 and older over many essential workers, including K-12 educators.

Newport: the city should receive 120 doses for Newport residents, 75 and older, for Feb. 3 and Feb. 5 administration in Bristol. A regional COVID vaccination center, a joint venture between Newport and Middletown that will operate out of the Community College of Rhode Island campus on John H. Chafee Boulevard. The “Southern Aquidneck Island Vaccination Center” will serve Newport and Middletown residents who are 75 and older first, according to information from Shevlin. 

URI students to be tested every other week throughout spring semester

TF Green Airport added new cleaning equipment to high touch areas.

LaSalette Shrine will vaccinate 80 Attleboro residents or workers on Friday, by appt.

Massachusetts residents who are 75 and older can sign up Wednesday to get the coronavirus vaccine and they can start getting their shots next Monday,

Gyms, movie theaters and museums are among the businesses in Boston that will be allowed to reopen Monday with a limited capacity,

The 125th running of the Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 11

Amazon plans to add 3,000 more jobs in major tech expansion in Seaport

Plans for a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home should include about 100 more beds than the state has proposed, a group of veterans and their families said Tuesday

RI Data – Jan 27, 2021

Deaths: 9 – Tests – 16,424 – Positives – 520 – Percent positive – 3.2%

Hospitalized – 334 – In ICU – 50 – Ventilated – 35 – Deaths in hospital – 5

New Admissions – 39 – New Discharges – 54

First vaccines: 62,620 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 19,683

RI Data – Jan. 28, 2021

Deaths: 9 – Tests – 18,678 – Positives – 618 – Percent positive – 3.3%

Hospitalized – 335 – In ICU – 47 – Ventilated – 31 – Deaths in hospital – 9

New Admissions – 44  – New Discharges – 44

First vaccines: 64,435 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 21,880

RI Dept. of Health Update: 1-28-2021:

Attending: Dr. Scott, CommerceRI Prayor, Lt. Gov. McKee

Note: Vaccine registration by city was not mentioned at the press conference – registration activity began Thursday late in the day – if you live in Providence, East Providence, Warwick, Newport, or Cranston, and are over 75, please check with your local city website or city hall.

Extending current restrictions through February, not lifting restrictions – acknowledging struggle with restaurants, effective Sunday, establishments can now close at normal closure times but must adhere to all other standards.

Vaccination update: RI is doing well; campaign is strategic about who is vaccinated, due to small supply. Doing healthcare workers, nursing homes, assisted living, public safety workers, outpatient healthcare providers – all this takes more time than opening a big public clinic somewhere. This accomplishes our goal, though of reaching who we need to reach.

Very close to starting campaign focusing on age. Starting this weekend, 5,000 of those over 75 who are on the “need extra help” list at the Health Dept. will get vaccinated. Then 2 weeks from then, another group. No one needs to take any action now.

Mid-February will focus on those most at risk for hospitalizations and death. After careful review, and grounded in science, identified 3 criteria – age, high risk conditions, geography. 65-74 years of age – First 60-64, then 50-59, then 40-49, then 16-39 years of age. Each level doesn’t need to complete before moving to another.

This assumes the amt of vaccine we are getting now – though we hope that supplies will increase over time.

Second consideration is high risk group: 16-64 years of age with a variety of conditions (see… ) will have increased access. This will include pregnant women.

Next will be geography. Certain communities are at elevated risk.Vaccine will be accelerated in these communities – Central Falls, Pawtucket, North Providence, Providence, and Cranston. People in these communities are at greater risk. In CF, 67% higher hospitalization rate. Providence is 58% higher.

10% of RIslanders have diabetes; 30% who have COVID have diabetes.

58% of teachers and staff in schools fall into one of the above categories. Although schools are not higher risk, it is important to reach these groups with vaccines.

Treatment: RI has recommended treatment for COVID19. 1500 people have been treated already and done well.

Testing: New sites – Lowe’s, Route 10, Cranston – Knights of Columbus, Middletown.

Protecting Your Household – vaccines, treatment and testing are key.


Q: How much is moving up 65 year olds is due to public pressure?

A: We have wanted to do this, but with small supply we haven’t been able. But we can get ready for it.

Q: How would you grade the vaccine program so far?

A: We are moving as effectively as we can. I would give it a B+, A-

Q: Is anyone getting the flu?

A: Dr. Scott will get back, but flu numbers are low, though it is early on.

Q: Next Wed, Gov. Raimondo will be voted in – do you feel up to speed to take over (to Dan McKee)

A: Yes, that’s the process we anticipate. Picking Lt. Gov will happen before end of Feb.

Q: Lt. Gov: are you 100% behind this new method without teacher prioritization?

A: I’ve met with Dr. Scott and yes, I think based on health conditions and vaccine, I am on board – we will capture 58% of teachers with the plan that it is in place.

Q: Registration process – is there a plan for what happens at the end of a clinic if there is vaccine left over?

A: There is a robust process to insure vaccine is not wasted or thrown out. 0.2% throw away rate, one of the lowest in US.

Q: Ch. 12 reporting Dr. Fine said that Central Falls is one of the most infected places in the world…we asked about health equity or inclusiveness…why did you treat this location the same?

A: You asked why aren’t we treating them differently? And we are. Because of the conditions – higher density, more multi-generational housing, more front-line workers, etc.

Q: How are people going to get the shot who are over 65? Step by step.

A: We will be coming back with more specific details.

Q: How much online will this be for older people?

A: We’re engaging on this with senior homes, senior centers, etc.

Q: Why not roll out early closing today rather than Sunday and not lose another weekend?

A: We need to wait for the data to assure us it is ok. (Pryor: I think it’s terrific we can do this, but it’s more than the restaurants – people still need to exercise caution).

Q: End of fiscal year – what about budget – shared cuts, furloughs

A: McKee – these are extraordinary times – we have to see the numbers and that’s what we need to do.

Q: Do you need to go city by city?

A: Ultimate goal – vaccinate more – less emphasis on where you live. In hardest hit communities – while others will be vaccinating 65 and over, hardest hit might be doing 50 and over at the same time.

Q: To McKee – what will be big differences between you and Gov. Raimondo

A: He’ll be in 39 cities/towns – up to the media to make their decision.

Link to the press conference on Thursday:


CVS Health administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country, delivering on goals established early in the process and communicated to participating states and jurisdictions months ago.1 Administration of second doses is well underway and expected to be complete within four weeks.

Bernie Sanders ran a fundraising campaign from his meme and mittens photo and raised $1.8M for Meals on Wheels in New Hampshire.

The NY Attorney General released a scathing report on the behavior of Gov. Cuomo to place COVID positive people in nursing homes – saying he obscured the nursing home deaths.

President Biden will reopen the health exchanges to accommodate those who have lost health insurance. He is also expected to make Medicaid easier to qualify for.

Masks – Adrianna Rodriguez reports. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News’ “TODAY.” A study from July found that wearing two masks could increase protection from virus particles by 50% up to 75%. It also makes masks fit more snugly around the face, said study author Dr. Loretta Fernandez. Americans’ renewed interest in double masking also comes as variants that appear to be more contagious emerge from the U.K, South Africa, Brazil and California.

Lyft is urging the Biden administration to plan for potential transportation access issues in open mass vaccination sites.

Some researchers in China say they have found a more accurate way to test for the virus – an anal swab. Li Tongzeng, deputy director of infectious disease at Beijing You’an Hospital, told China’s Global Times that studies show the virus survives longer in the anus or excrement than in upper-body tracts, so anal swabs would help avoid false negative results.

Hyatt Hotels announced Tuesday, the same day the requirement took effect, that it would offer free coronavirus testing at19 of its resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean and South America for guests traveling to the U.S.

Alaska and Kentucky have detected their states’ first known cases of the coronavirus variants

A Canadian casino CEO took a flight to the Arctic to jump the line to get a vaccine – he has been terminated.

If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get tested no more than 3 days before you travel by air into the United States. You will need to show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight, or be prepared to show documentation of recovery. This can be proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel.

The EU, composed of 27 countries, is angry with Astra-Zeneca as it now says it will deliver 60% less vaccine than promised – much has gone to England, US, and other countries. The EU hasn’t even reached 2% vaccination rate. They are now putting a control on Pfizer exporting it out of the country.

Carnival Cruises cancels most cruises – moves others out until November.

New Hampshire nonresidents are no longer eligible to get COVID-19 vaccinations in the state, officials now say, updating guidance after some backlash against letting anyone who owns New Hampshire property to get a shot in the state.

College students struggled with mental health problems before the pandemic. Now, some vulnerable students are even more at risk. sciencenews­.org 

CVS completes first round of COVID-19 vaccination at 8,000 U.S. nursing homes

Tom Brady’s parents revealed a scary battle with COVID-19 that had the QB’s dad in the hospital for weeks.

Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo dies from COVID-19 at age 69

Novavax says its Covid-19 vaccine is 90% effective, but far less so against one variant

German health committee says AstraZeneca vaccine should not be given to people over 65

Biden says U.S. will have enough vaccine doses for 300 million Americans by end of summer – “We will both increase the supply in the short term by more than 15% and give our state and local partners more certainty about when the deliveries will arrive,”

Several hundred White House employees had been vaccinated for Covid-19 as of Tuesday, two Biden administration officials told CNN, with more expected in the coming weeks.

The NFL is inviting 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to attend Super Bowl LV to thank and honor them for their continued extraordinary service during the pandemic.

Anti-inflammatory oral drug colchicine improved COVID-19 outcomes for patients with relatively mild cases, according to certain topline results from the COLCORONA trial announced in a brief press release.  Overall, the drug used for gout and rheumatic diseases reduced risk of death or hospitalizations by 21% versus placebo, which “approached statistical significance.”

Fact Sheet: President Biden Announces New Steps to Boost Vaccine Supply and Increase Transparency for States, Tribes, and Territories

Administration to Purchase Additional 200 Million Doses to Be Delivered This Summer

Just over a year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the United States, the nation has hit another grim milestone in the pandemic, reaching 25 million infections and counting. The pace in which this virus has spread throughout the U.S. is staggering and with new variants emerging, the spread is not slowing any time soon. That’s why it is critical that we vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

President Biden has a comprehensive National Action Strategy to put the pandemic behind us and he and the COVID-19 response team are aggressively implementing it.  Today, the President is announcing bold steps that will help meet the goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days and ramp up vaccine supply as fast as possible. As a result of these actions, the federal government will have enough vaccine supply for the entire U.S. population by the end of the summer.

The President is taking the following actions today:

An Increase in Weekly Vaccine Supply to States, Tribes and Territories: The Biden-Harris Administration will increase overall, weekly vaccine supply to states, Tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses. This increase of 1.4 million doses per week will allow millions more Americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated. The Administration is committing to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks.

Increased transparency for States, Tribes, and Territories to Help Their Vaccination Efforts: The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to provide states, Tribes and territories with a reliable three-week supply look-ahead. The Department of Health and Human Services will provide allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks as opposed to the one week look-ahead that they previously received. This increased transparency will give state and local leaders greater certainty around supply so that they can plan their vaccination efforts and administer vaccines effectively and efficiently.

Purchase 200 Million Additional Doses to Be Delivered This Summer, Double the Nation’s Vaccine Supply: President Biden directed his COVID-19 Response Coordinator to work with HHS to increase our total vaccine supply for the American people.  The Biden-Harris Administration is working to purchase an additional 100 million doses of each of the two Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccines – Pfizer and Moderna.This increases the total vaccine order for the U.S. by 50%, from 400 million to 600 million with these additional doses expected to deliver this summer. With these additional doses, the U.S. will have enough vaccine to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of this summer.

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  1. Espo1234 on January 29, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    WOW- great numbers!- I ‘m sure the Governor must have opened business back to full capacity and ended the curfew!! She is such a caring person!!
    And she is going to be the head of commerce.. Does that have anything to do with business I hope not cause the country just lost 12,000 jobs and hurt how many more with a swipe of a pen!-And looking like it is going to be another 58,000 out of work and how many more hurt by that..with a swipe of a pen..
    And she destroyed small business here.. Man She is right where she belongs in the Biden administration. Please just leave already. Everyday she is here another business goes out of business- Like I said – Such a caring person.

    Deaths: 9 – Tests – 18,678 – Positives – 618 – Percent positive – 3.3%

    Hospitalized – 335 – In ICU – 47 – Ventilated – 31 – Deaths in hospital – 9

    New Admissions – 44 – New Discharges – 44

    First vaccines: 64,435 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 21,880

    • RINewsToday on January 29, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      Just opened restaurants and businesses that had to close by 9:30/10 – that as of tonight they can close normal times – all other restrictions must stay in place.