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Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Tues, Feb. 23, 2021

Photo: Monday, Gov. Raimondo signed over the budget process to Lt. Gov. Dan McKee after many calls for an easier transition of power.

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

As a result of severe weather that has affected distribution nationwide, certain COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for 2/23 are getting rescheduled. A shipment of approximately 12,400 doses of Moderna vaccine to Rhode Island did not arrive today. The community clinics scheduled for tomorrow at the Cranston Senior Center, the Swift Community Center (in East Greenwich), and the West Warwick Civic Center are affected by this delay and are being rescheduled. People who had appointments will be contacted directly by clinic organizers. This shipping delay could have additional impacts on some clinics currently scheduled for Wednesday. RIDOH will make an announcement on Tuesday about any impacts on Wednesday clinics.

Technology experts are weighing in on how complex and not user-friendly the state’s vaccine signup system in RI is.

Reporters had queried the state about the ability of the National Guard to pick up vaccines if weather caused delays – though there was no response in RI to do so.

RI is partnering with Health Equity Solutions, a nonprofit, to reach out to more than 10,000 minority residents over the next three months and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. They have already hosted webinars that have reached more than 3,000 people, and more than 20 events have been scheduled, with more planned.

Lt. Gov. McKee will hold a small business Facebook Live event Tuesday at noon.

Feb. 26 will be last day of care for Sockanosset Field Hospital.

The Rhode Island Department of Health has created a survey to gather information for those unable to leave their home to receive a vaccine. While all individuals are encouraged to seek vaccination opportunities through vaccination clinics and retail pharmacies, there are individuals who are unable to leave home to attend such opportunities. If you are unable to leave home to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, or are the healthcare provider or family caregiver of someone who is homebound, please inform RIDOH through the following form: http://bit.ly/homeboundvax [bit.ly] [r20.rs6.net]

Boston Gov. Baker says he hates to say he’s sorry but is taking ownership of the botched vaccination signup process – for that, the Boston Globe is reporting that people are responding positively to his shared outrage, ownership and efforts to fix the problem.

In 2-3 weeks, the Convention Center Field Hospital will be closed.

Gov. Raimondo held an impromptu Facebook Live press event:

What do you have to say to botched rollout this morning?

Said that “we will get better” regarding the Monday roll-out.

Gov says there’s a phone number to call

We do have live people on the lines.

Why are appointments populating throughout the day?

We start with what we anticipate being the number, and add to that. We can make adjustments as we go along.

Gov. McKee has been very critical – how do you respond?        

Our initial strategy has been to be very targeted, and that worked. Now we are doing the next phase. We just jumped up on the NYT list. I’m supporting Lt. Gov’s transition – we’ll get better and better over time. We need to expand capacity in the system.

Criticism is spurring your administration to move quicker – do you agree with that?

No, I don’t agree with that perception. This has always been the plan – a very deliberate plan. Dr. Scott and the task force. This was our explicit strategy.

Signing EO to give more authority of Lt. Gov. McKee to hire cabinet level people – is that true?

I don’t have anything to say right now. We’re working through things.

What will happen with RIDLT with Scott Jensen leaving?

I will appoint a successor. I’ll have more news on this later.

Lt. Gov. named Mr. Silva to be point person on COVID – is that a good idea?

I’m not going to second guess his decisions. Dr. Scott IS and WILL BE the lead – she will stay as the lead and the Director of Health.

Why can’t you go back to do the COVID briefing? With a public face to the people? And McKee isn’t going either? This is a different situation – this is your rollout, not his. People would like to see somebody in charge.

I think it is important for the people to get more comfortable with the Lt. Gov. I’m here today – I’m fully accountable to the people of RI. I’m here answering your questions. Lt. Gov will be there on Thursday. We are working hand and glove to keep RI people safe.

Mayors will continue with vaccinations? Can mayors invite people?

Yes, and they can extend to 65 when they are ready. Yes, they can invite – we are sharing lists with them of eligible people.

Will Dr. Scott commit to continue to serve?

Yes, she will.

RI says it is more strategic, but other states have done it differently – why did this slower plan be better?

Big difference is more than any other state, we’ve seen huge drops in hospitalizations. 46% drop. Our decrease is beyond the US average, W. Virginia, etc. We have been faster and more significant.

How concerned are you about the variants?

We are very concerned. It is real. If there’s an uptick, we are ready.

From RIDOH: RI sent out an educational flyer for $265,000+

Monday’s vaccination opening to those over 65 did not go smoothly – from closed facilities to websites that didn’t work to people going from website to website. The RIDOH updated the system after 9am. Over 10,000 people did manage to use the site to sign up. The Sockanosset Crossroad facility will be closed every Monday. Others have gone to CVS or Walgreens for better efficiency.

RI Data: Feb. 22, 2021

Deaths: 9 (plus additional from last few months: 90)

Tests – 6,094 Positives – 159 Percent positive – 2.6%

Hospitalized – 186 In ICU – 27 Ventilated – 18

Deaths in hospital – 2 New Admissions – 31 New Discharges – 22

First vaccines: 141,740 Total fully vaccinated: 61,944

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

The United States has passed ½ a million deaths from coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that Americans must remain vigilant even as COVID-19 cases drop, saying “the baseline of daily infections is still very, very high.”

The University of Maine is moving forward with spring sports after previously pausing all athletics amid cases of COVID-19 on campus.

1/3 of people who have had COVID-19 may suffer from PTSD

Publix is giving a $125 Publix gift card to each of its more than 225,000 employees who gets vaccinated. The supermarket chain is the latest major employer to offer an enticement to its workers to immunize themselves

At-home COVID tests were ready fast but regulatory approval has been slow. At-home COVID-19 tests could make a vital contribution to stemming the pandemic.

The cost of a single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is reported to cost just $2.72 in India, $4 in the U.S., and $8.50 in Uganda. But a dose of the vaccine from Sinopharm, which was developed in China, ranges in cost from $18.50 in Senegal to $44 in China to $72.50 elsewhere. 

Walmart is rolling out vaccine preparation in 22 states, the company is still supporting over 500 active testing sites across the country.

The Louvre, in Paris, remains closed – since Oct. 30th

Dr. Fauci: It’s “possible” Americans will still need to wear masks in 2022 -CNN

Dairy Queen has canceled its Free Cone Day this spring out of crowding concerns.

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