1540 WADK.com Updates

A quiet Thanksgiving

A quiet Thanksgiving…by Michael Morse

November 25, 2020/Michael Morse


by Michael Morse, contributing writer


It’s not as if I didn’t have 364 days this year to get everything I need for the Thanksgiving Feast, but here it is, 3:30 on the day before and I’m compiling a list. Wine, beer, gravy, cranberry sauce, figs (yes that’s right, figs.)


Somehow all of these things, well, maybe not the figs, will be readily available. Millions of people shop for the same things, millions of turkeys, millions of gallons of gravy, millions of cranberries yet there is always more.


Unbelievable. Truly.


My garden still produces kale. It’s all that is left of the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and marigolds. Everything else is gone, plants pulled out, composting somewhere, ready to fertilize next year’s crop. But the kale keeps on coming.


I like being in the empty garden and thinking of the people who started this Thanksgiving tradition. I don’t think it was the Pilgrims and Indians though. It goes further back than that. It must, for as long as there is life, and people to live it there is reason to give thanks.


As amazing as I find it that all I need is in the grocery stores the day before the official holiday, people much like myself found it amazing that corn, and fruit, and turkeys were available to them. They prayed and gave thanks to whatever entity or miracle of life provided the ingredients for their life sustaining gifts. Their bounty was no less miraculous than ours. They led simpler lives, had more modest needs, and were thankful that the earth provided what they needed to get them through.


For some crazy reason I was thinking about technology, and how I think we are much too dependent on other peoples’ genius. But in all likelihood, my grandparents thought that TV was ridiculous and a waste of time, and how the imagination is being replaced by images. They probably preferred the radio, at least that made you visualize what was being said!


Of course, their grandparents likely thought that the radio replaced books, and how the spoken word replaced the thoughts and images that symbols on a page provided. Think about that if you will. Symbols on a page creating images in your head, and those images when strung together creating a story.


But their grandparents preferred a story told around a fire and before that…


I don’t know. But I do know that I’m thankful for this life of mine, and all of the people in it.


And my garden.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Epilogue 2020


There is grace and beauty in a small gathering; everybody involved in the conversation, enough room for everybody to help clean up, nobody getting lost in the hustle and bustle, lots of laughs and just enough quiet reflection.


Some of my favorite Thanksgivings were spent with a few firefighters, on duty and wishing we were home but making the best of what we had. And what we had is what mattered most. 


We had each other.


This year’s Thanksgiving will be among your best. Gather those closest to you, eat with them, toast to their health, enjoy their company and celebrate all we have to be thankful for.

Even if you have to do it alone.


Image courtesy of Andrew Seivert, Salem Massachusetts Fire Department, quiet apparatus floor, the morning after a Thanksgiving fire.




Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.



Your Coronavirus Update - Today November 25, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update Today – Nov. 25, 2020

November 25, 2020/RINewsToday




The CDC is considering shortening the quarantine times from 14 days to 7-10 days, but would include more testing – pending official announcement.


Macy’s Parade has been cut by over 80% and will be held just in Herald Square.


The Car Center filed for bankruptcy.


Tourists in England can pay for a test and quarantine only 5 days now.


The death rate from Covid-19 is falling in the U.S., declining by a third since April—a signal of advancements in treatment of the disease.


European governments are planning to ease lockdowns in December 


Oxford study shows re-infection before 6 mos is highly unlikely.


StoryCorps has a great project that promotes the gathering of personal stories which they archive for future generations. Anyone can create personal stories by using StoryCorps’ physical studios or joining one of their upcoming virtual recordings. Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the StoryCorps Connect project enables anyone to record a StoryCorps interview with a loved one remotely.


NYC synagogue fined $15K for holding wedding with 10,000 people


Operation Warp Speed held a live Facebook update and press conference – during this Azar announced that the night before they prepared information for the Biden Administration, per the GSA directive.


Of Massachusetts’ 400 public school districts, more than 37,000 students have been removed from their rosters this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.


There are now two lawsuits seeking tuition and fee refunds from the University of Delaware for the pandemic-marred spring semester.


In Vermont, next week, when children return to school, they will be asked whether they attended Thanksgiving gatherings outside their households. Any students who attend events with more than just their immediate household will be required to take online classes for a two-week quarantine period, or to quarantine for a week and then have a negative virus test. The governor said he encouraged businesses to take the same approach with their employees.


Governors will be responsible for deciding where the first vaccine that is expected mid-December will go, according to the national Coronavirus Task Force. It will most likely be Pfizer’s and intended for front line workers, particularly healthcare workers.


The Dow passes 30,000 on news of new vaccines and therapeutics.


It is now thought that the original COVID-19 virus mutated early on, making its way around the world, and become far more contagious.


Essential workers are likely to move ahead of adults 65 and older and people with high-risk medical conditions when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on Covid-19 vaccine priority lists, coming after health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities, a meeting of an expert advisory panel made clear Monday. The intention is to bring many people of color closer to the front of the vaccine priority line — should they want to be vaccinated — in recognition of the fact that the pandemic has disproportionately hit Black and Latino communities.


NYC to Impose ‘CoVID Checkpoints’ at Bridges, Tunnels, Train Stations This Thanksgiving


Panic buying of toilet paper has once again hit store shelves


Covid Cabanas: “A tent with heaters and with the sides open may be safe enough, and maybe even a space with one ‘wall.’ But those fully zipped up tents? Shudder. They are like virus incubators if anyone infected enters the space with you.”


The field hospital in Worcester is looking for staff as it has a severe shortage now and plans to open soon. Suggestions have been made to use National Guard.




Governor Raimondo will hold her weekly update today at 1pm. She is expected to announce major support for RI businesses and Thanksgiving announcements, as well as new restrictions which begin Nov. 30th.


The RI Small Business Coalition is planning a car rally and speaking program just before the press conference to encourage more release of CARES Act funds through a streamlined process. The event starts at 10:30am with speaking at 11am in the Parking Lot at 200 Hawkins Street, Providence.


Small Businesses to Host Car Rally for Additional CARES Act Relief      


On Wednesday at 11am, the RI Small Business Coalition will host a socially distanced car rally to call on the state to release an additional $150M in CARES Act funding through a simple, streamlined grant process. The speaking event will start at 11am, and the Lt. Governor McKee will be there in support of the small businesses. Participating will be:

  • RI Small Business Coalition
  • Chris Parisi, Trailblaze Marketing
  • Restaurant Industry
  • David Dadekian, Eat Drink RI
  • Wedding & Events Industry
  • Erica Trombetti, Infiniti Events
  • Luke Renchan Entertainment
  • Gym & Health Fitness Industry
  • Jo Ellen Hockenbrough, Providence Power Yoga
  • Judah Boulet, No Risk Crossfit
  • Travel Industry
  • Dianne Miguel, Global Travel
  • Performing Arts
  • Hugo Adames, The Talent Factory


All RI testing sites will close at noon on Wednesday (except McCoy which will be open 9-5 and Wickford Train Station from 9-7 Wed) and remain closed on Thanksgiving.


The CVS Charity Classic will not be held in 2021.


21 of 34 firefighters at one East Greenwich firehouse are positive – the firehouse has been shut and calls will be answered by mutual aid.


Brown Emergency Medicine has developed a new emergency medicine telehealth service, available from noon to midnight, seven days a week. Go to: https://www.brownemtelecare.org.


A Task Force has been formed by Rep. Shekarchi, expected to be the new Speaker of the House. It is designed to oversee the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, though this role has not been accepted by the Governor or the RI Dept. of Health. Dr. Michael Fine will be the medical adviser, and the task force will be chaired by Rep. Raymond Hull. Members are: Reps Karen Alzate, Pawtucket; Michael Chippendale, Foster, Glocester, Coventry; Kathleen Fogarty, So. Kingstown; Joshua Giraldo, Central Falls; Carol McEntee, South Kingstown, Narragansett; Michelle McGaw, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton; Mary Messier, Pawtucket; Thomas Noret, Coventry, West Warwick; and David Place, Burrillville, Glocester.


Stanley’s Famous Hamburgers, in Central Falls, has started a GoFundMe page it says it needs to save their restaurant.


SkillsRI is recruiting for the field hospitals. These paid positions are in both traditional healthcare roles and non-healthcare roles to support patient needs while the alternative hospital site is in operation. Go here for more info: https://backtowork.skillsforri.com/job-board/for-job-seekers-field-hospital


The Convention Center Field Hospital is set to open Dec. 1st. No opening date for Cranston’s.


RI Data


Deaths: 16 (of these, 4 were in-hospital)
Total tests: 11,268

Total positives: 812
Percent positive: 7.2%
Hospitalized: 323 (New hospitalized: 53; discharges: 27)
ICU: 30
Ventilated: 16

#MaskUpAmerica –

Posted in 


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Field hospitals set up to handle an overflow of patients in Rhode Island are opening soon.  The Rhode Island House is establishing a task force related to the coronavirus vaccine; meanwhile, a local woman talks about taking part in a vaccine trial.  A growing number of Ocean State residents are food-insecure.

>>Field Hospitals To Open Soon

(Undated)  --  Pandemic-era field hospitals in Rhode Island are expected to open next week, according to multiple media reports.  The two field hospitals are at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence and on Sockanesset Cross Road in Cranston.  Officials say the coronavirus is causing regular hospitals in the Ocean State to reach their capacity limits.

>>COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Established In Rhode Island House

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island House Speaker-nominee K. Joseph Shekarchi is establishing a House task force to oversee the state's implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine.  According to a State House press release, the purpose of the task force is in part to ensure that front-line workers, the health-compromised and the elderly are given access first.  The task force is also set to learn more about Rhode Island's involvement in a Pfizer pilot program to test vaccine distribution.  The first meeting is scheduled for December 2nd.

>>Woman Participates In Local Vaccine Trial

(Warwick, RI)  --  A Rhode Islander is speaking about her experience as a COVID-19 vaccine trial participant.  Denise DaPonte [[ day-PONT ]] took part in AstraZeneca's vaccine program through Omega Medical Research in Warwick last week.  DaPonte says she doesn't know if she received the vaccine or placebo.  She said she the coronavirus pandemic had left her feeling helpless, and she jumped at the chance to be part of the solution.  AstraZeneca has reported its vaccine to be highly effective as the drug company is in late-stage trials with the University of Oxford.

>>Rhode Island Food Insecurity Numbers Shoot Up

(Providence, RI)  --  A new report finds 25-percent of Rhode Islanders are food insecure during the coronavirus pandemic.  The RI Community Food Bank released an annual hunger status report on Monday that indicated the percentage jumped up from nine percent in 2019.  The pandemic has reportedly driven up food bank requests in Rhode Island by over ten-thousand people a month.

>>Big Tip Given To Servers At Barrington Restaurant

(Barrington, RI)  --  A Barrington restaurant says someone left a 21-hundred-dollar tip after stopping there Friday night. The tip left at the Blue Water Bar and Grill was directed towards three servers who have long-held jobs at the restaurant.  The tipper asked to remain anonymous but it was apparently left as part of the "2020 tip challenge".

>>Wrentham Outlets Won't Open At Midnight On Black Friday

(Wrentham, MA)  --  Black Friday hours have changed this year for the Wrentham Outlets in eastern Massachusetts.  The Wrentham Police Department says because of COVID-19 concerns, the outlets will not be open at midnight as has been the case in past years.  Instead, they will open at 6 a.m. Friday. 

Jim McCabe/Source Staff/djc         RI)

Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

11-25-2020 01:38:03


Your Coronavirus Update - Today Nov 24 , 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Tues., Nov. 24, 2020

November 24, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Massachusetts Governor Baker launches a new public awareness campaign – #GetBackMass (see video, below)




Today, Regeneron will begin to be used as a therapeutic in the US.


Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is both imploring residents to stay home, and encouraging out-of-state visitors to come to Vegas to spend money.


California Gov. Newscome is in quarantine after a possible exposure.


Massachusetts testing effort called “far short” of what is needed.


The MBTA is offering masks to all riders.


Survivors of loss from gun violence, mental health crises, racial injustice and the pandemic are all part of a coalition to call for the creation of a White House office of bereavement care. Adding service to the millions lost to coronavirus, on the civilian side, would be beneficial. Kenneth Feinberg, a victims’ rights attorney who is advocating for a new White House office to help Americans grieving loss from COVID-19 and other tragedies.


Gov. Cuomo announced he would be spending Thanksgiving with his 2 daughters and 89 year old mother – within an hour and social media backlash, Cuomo rescinded those plans.


New research shows that Ibuprofen does not show any correlation with the worsening severity of COVID-19 infection.


USA Today says Dec. 13 is the first possible day the vaccine could be administered – although the week after is more likely.


The CDC today said, “all people avoid travel on cruise ships.”


Colleges ask DeVos to extend the break from making student loan repayments for another year


New York has opened an emergency COVID testing facility as cases tripled on Staten Island


19 members of the House of Representatives have tested positive


England is also working to approve Pfizer vaccine and said it will do so “as fast as possible’


3 Million people are expected to pass through US airports


The Ravens football team has a few members testing positive


Pennsylvania has ordered bars closed at 5pm on the night before Thanksgiving


Los Angeles has entered a 2 week curfew, 10pm to 5am


The Governor of Oregon said reporting on your neighbor for having too large a gathering is encouraged.


Dr. Fauci assures Americans that Santa is immune to coronavirus


Connecticut is reopening health care centers dedicated solely to treating COVID-19 patients amid a resurgence of the coronavirus, including in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,


The National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled to take place March 20-April 11 with a new format that organizers say is meant to honor the tradition of the festival while prioritizing health and safety during the pandemic


Quantas Airlines is saying you must have a vaccine for international travel


Italy is expressing panic over their ability to distribute any vaccine with officials saying they don’t even have a good system to distribute a regular flu shot.


Hong Kong is paying its residents $650 as an incentive to get tested. They get paid if they test positive.


Guitar Center, the largest retailer of musical instruments in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy.


Vaccine costs: AstraZeneca’s vaccine is estimated to cost about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.


On Dec. 2 England will lift their 4-week stay-at-home order and shops, gyms, personal care businesses and leisure facilities will be allowed to reopen, and collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume. Fans will also be allowed back into sports stadiums for the first time since March.


Football Conference on the East Coast is trying to make life easier for referees by using the same virus testing procedures, including delivering tests to referees homes, etc.


“Pregnant women are now squarely in the higher risk population, which makes thinking about a vaccine for them. Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts said thecompany is working on a “potential pathway” to a pregnancy-related indication for the vaccine program, which would mean getting the vaccine approved for use during pregnancy. It is also currently doing early research – not yet conducting trials in humans – to see how the vaccine works in pregnancy, Pitts said. Experts are still debating when vaccines should in general be tested on those who are pregnant.


The Ad Council announced plans Monday for what it described as “one of the largest public education campaigns in history” to convince Americans to get inoculated when coronavirus vaccines become available. The nonprofit council has set an initial goal of raising $50 million from the private sector.


40% of US schoolchildren are attending only virtual classes


An IRS deduction for donations made during COVID19 is now a line item, for tax returns – you won’t need to itemize to take a $300 deduction.


Clorox says it is selling out of antiseptic wipes as fast as they can be made.




NEW: Massive testing will be underway in Pawtucket and Central Falls – paid for hotel/college rooms will be available for those who test positive – run by RI Dept. of Health. Also will be doing an asymptomatic program in schools for Pawt, Lincoln, Central Falls, and Providence. (announced by Angelica Infante-Green, RIDE)


All test sites in RI are closed on Thanksgiving.


The ACI is now reporting 169 prisoners/staff with coronavirus.


The Governor’s Workforce Board is putting a workforce training program on hold until there is a “clearer” budget picture, according to the Department of Labor and Training. The Incumbent Worker Training Grant — which was created to provide funding for continuing education, training, and upskilling of incumbent employees at existing Rhode Island employers with grants of up to $30,000 — is currently on “hiatus.”



Lifespan is imploring retired doctors and nurses, medical residents and students and others to join the cause. They are also recruiting from Huffmaster, a placement agency as they are experiencing a staffing shortage – and near to gear up to open the field hospital.


COVID testing — of hospital patients, of doctors and nurses, and of other people who come and go from nursing homes is being called for by The Rhode Island Health Care Association. RI had changed its rules to require only one negative test to be placed in a nursing home – the association wants two negative tests.


At least 100 people protested New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s new mask mandate, chanting, “Breathe free or die,” and “We will not comply,” outside his Newfields home Sunday.


The University of Maine System is in the midst of an effort called “safe departure testing” to avoid sending students home for Thanksgiving with the coronavirus.


The federal prison system will be among the first government agencies to receive the coronavirus vaccine, though initial allotments of the vaccine will be given to staff and not to inmates, even though sickened prisoners vastly outnumber sickened staff, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.


Massachusetts has awarded $650,000 in grants to community and faith-based groups designed to help spread and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color in cities and towns hardest hit by the disease.


In Massachusetts, new rapid COVID-19 testing technology can be used for screening visitors at long-term care facilities


Starting 11/23, Warwick City Hall is closed – there are drop boxes for payment drop-offs – or contact individual departments for more info.


A first-ever Calamari Festival for Federal Hill for August of 2021, to attract 15,000 and promote calamari and the fishing industry, is on hold.


Mary Zanor, a spokeswoman for Planet Fitness, questioned Raimondo’s decision to shut down an entire segment of R.I.’s business community ‘despite zero data-driven evidence of significant COVID-19 spread at fitness facilities.’


RI Food Bank says 1 in 4 Rhode Islanders are food insecurity for Thanksgiving.


All employees at Tiverton Town Hall and those within the Department of Public Works will be tested for the coronavirus today after a worker tested positive a week ago.


West Warwick K-12 will go to Distance Learning 11/30 – 12/22.


Spirito’s Restaurant closed on Nov. 22nd “due to the restrictions” having to do with COVID19.


Governor Raimondo’s Message:


“As we head into the holiday season, please remember that we’ve made an important, immediate change to the state’s COVID-19 prevention guidance:


The social gathering limit has been lowered to a single household. This means you should not be spending time socially with anyone you don’t live with, including on Thanksgiving. It also means that you should not be traveling at all this Thanksgiving, whether it’s five blocks, the next town over, or crossing state lines. We’re asking you to stay home and celebrate only with the people you live with. 


I know that this isn’t easy — I’m going to be missing seeing my extended family in-person this year too. But the amount of community transmission is too high right now to take a chance, no matter how safe you may feel. Choosing to gather across multiple households puts yourself, the people you are with, and anyone you interact with for the next two weeks in danger of getting the virus. So while this may not be easy, it’s necessary, and I hope that you’ll find a way to celebrate with friends and family remotely. If we all do it, we can turn things around and save lives. We’re all in this together.”


Testing will be available starting this weekend at TF Green Airport


CVS is preparing to quickly begin vaccinations. CEO Larry Merlo interviewed on national CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/cvs-health-ceo-says-company-prepared-to-quickly-begin-vaccinations/#x


Massachusetts is planning a statewide COVID-19 public awareness campaign that will run on television and digital platforms. The #GetBackMass campaign highlights the three steps everyone should take — wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance, and getting tested –- to protect themselves and their loved ones from the coronavirus.



Massachusetts Public Service Campaign Begins:

Posted in 


How RHode Islanders see themselves during a time of COVID

How Rhode Islanders see themselves, during a time of COVID

November 24, 2020/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer on health


Photo: Kim Keck, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI, talking at the virtual event for the RI Life Index.


The second annual RI Life Index offers a lens showing how Rhode Islanders perceive their lives, based on health, housing, economic and educational opportunities, revealing a broad consensus about how the state needs to improve its outcomes.


The virtual launch of the results of the second annual RI Life Index occurred on Monday morning, Nov. 16, a collaborative partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and the School of Public Health at Brown University. [A link to a YouTube video of the entire 91-minute event is provided below.]


This year’s Index once again showcased the capability of data surveys and analysis to capture a better understanding of the lens through which Rhode Islanders perceive their own health and well-being, creating a mirror through which we can see ourselves, however dark the shadows, without the distortion from self-interest and corporate bias.


This year, amidst the greatest public health crisis in a century, the RI Life Index highlighted the ways in which the pandemic has made more visible the racial disparities and inequities in our communities, by itself a dramatic change in consciousness.


The larger question – how the survey can be translated into a plan of action – remains the ongoing challenge.


A public policy mirror
During a time when facts, evidence, and science have often seemed to have been “discarded” by political forces and social media manipulation, making it difficult to discern reality from conspiracy theory, the 2020 RI Life Index presented some incontrovertible evidence about how Rhode Islanders actually see themselves – a potential valuable tool in shaping public health policies and investment strategies, if elected officials, policy makers, and business leaders are willing to take heed.


For instance, last year’s inaugural RI Life Index highlighted the need for more investment in affordable housing. As a result, Blue Cross changed its Blue Angel investment strategy to focus on awards to spur affordable housing, channeling money to nonprofits working “at the intersection of housing and health.”


However, translating the Index’s findings into action – in essence “tying the bell on the cat” – has proven to be an elusive outcome. Efforts to create new affordable housing investments through a voter-approved bond still require the R.I. General Assembly to schedule a special election to be held sometime in early 2021. Legislators could have – but didn’t – include the bond as part of the Nov. 3 election.


As Brenda Clement, the director of HousingWorks RI, said during the panel discussion as part of the virtual event, findings from the 2020 RI Life Index reinforces the messages that housing advocates have been conveying for years. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “The path to prosperity still begins at the front door of your home.”]


“More than 146,000 Rhode Islanders are cost-burdened – that’s nearly 37 percent of our population that is spending too much on their housing costs,” she said, as reported by The Boston Globe. “And we know the issues that raises, particularly for lower-income workers.”


The man/woman/camera in the mirror
The virtual event began with a brief introduction by Dr. Ashish Jha, the new dean at the School of Public Health [who seems to be everywhere these days], followed by brief remarks from Kim Keck, the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, who will be departing her position at the end of December to lead the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. [The moment captured what might be described as a “peaceful transition” of power within the state’s public health hierarchy.]


Jha framed the import of the RI Life Index in the context of health equity. “Today’s discussion comes at a time in the middle of the biggest health crisis that we as a nation and the world have faced in the a century, the COVID-19 pandemic.”


While the global pandemic has affected all of us, Jha continued, “We know that it has not affected all of us equally. In fact, the pandemic has affected our most vulnerable communities and our most vulnerable individuals the most.”


The findings of the RI Life Index, Jha said, showed “the importance of hearing directly from the people of Rhode Island.”


What the Index captured, Jha said further, was the entire context in which people live their lives, the factors often referred to as the social determinants of health.


“We know that important, long-standing structural issues in our society, such as racism, racial inequities and poverty, end up having profound effects on health, both directly and through other mechanisms, such as limited access to healthy food, safe neighborhoods, and the quality and access to education that people want.”


Jha said out loud what many have been arguing for years around the issues of health equity: “While we care about things like universal [insurance] coverage, which is very important, and while we often focus on what happens in the doctors’ offices and in the hospitals, we have to known, and we do know from the data, that what is happening at home, what is happening in the neighborhood, what is happening in the school, has at least as profound an effect, if not more so.”


Ending on an optimistic, hopeful note, Jha said: “If we can apply that knowledge in [shaping] our policies and our approaches, I believe that we can make Rhode Island one of the healthiest places in the county to live in, if not the healthiest.”


Life factors
In her introductory remarks following Jha, Keck talked about the importance of context to the Index, focused on racial inequities that, translated, made it clear that Black lives and Latinx lives matter.


“We have known for a long, long time that ZIP Code matters more than genetic code,” Keck said. “But this year’s results also starkly highlight the greater challenges that Black and Latinx Rhode Islanders perceive in achieving the pursuit of health and well being. We must do better.”


Keck explained that the need to focus more on racial inequities was identified in feedback on last year’s RI Life Index. “When we shared results last year, we got some great advice from many of you [was the need] to focus on how perceptions [about health and well being] vary greatly, based on race.”


Since March, Keck continued, COVID-19 has had such a profound impact, shining a spotlight on racial inequities in Rhode Island and across the world. “And these inequities are impossible to ignore,” she continued. “If there is anything we have learned in this crazy, tumultuous year, [it is] we must be accountable for turning the tide on system racism and inequity in our state and in our country. Poverty and racism have an enormous impact.”


Room for improvement
In her presentation at the virtual event, Melissa Clark, a professor at the School of Public Health with expertise as a methodologist in survey research, characterized the results of the perceptions of health and well being were “mediocre at best” for many Rhode Islanders, with scores only in the 50-60 percent range and generally lower in the core cites.


Clark further said that the 2020 results analyzed in the RI Life Index “should be viewed specifically through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Unlike the 2019 RI Life Index, when the survey was conducted during the spring months, the 2020 RI Life Index surveys were conducted during the summer months, because it would have been inappropriate to conduct the surveys in the spring this year, given that it would have been at the beginning of the state’s stay at home orders, “a time which none of us believed was appropriate to conduct a survey.”


Further, Clark emphasized that no comparison was being made to the 2019 RI Life Index findings, because “two data points do not allow us to say anything about a trend in one direction or another; we need at least three data points to make any comments about trends.


Clark also talked about the importance of the creation a new community group, the RI Life Index Coalition, which brought together “thought leaders and subject matter experts to be sure that we were asking questions in the right content areas, so that the Index can be used as a resource for organizations working to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders and develop viable solutions to the barriers identified.”


The robust data analysis in the 2020 RI Life Index featured interviews conducted between July and August in 2020, both in English and Spanish, with 2,126 surveys completed, with an intentional over-sampling of Black and Latinx Rhode Islanders, asking 18 questions. There were 650 surveys conducted by landline, 966 by cellphone, and 5610 through a web survey tool.


In addition to segmenting the survey responses by age, gender, education levels, sexual orientation, wealth, and race/ethnicity, the survey also broke down where the respondents lived, differentiating between core cities – Woonsocket, Pawtucket, Providence and Central Falls, where 25 percent or more of children are living the federal poverty levels – and other areas of the state.


In terms of demographics, half of the survey participants were female, and half were aged 18 to 49. One-third reported having a high school education or less. One-quarter lived alone; one-third lived in households with at least one child younger than 18, and one-third lived in a household in which at least one person had a disability. Half of the participants reported household incomes of less than $50,000.


The majority of respondents identified themselves as “non-Hispanic white, heterosexual/straight, and living in a non-core city.”


As part of the data collection for the 2020 RI Life Index there was an oversample of Black and Latinx participants, with responses from more than 250 individuals who identified themselves as Black or African American, and more than 560 individuals who identified themselves as Latino or Hispanic.


The interviews were conducted in partnership with the Siena College Research Institute, which has more than 40 computer assisted telephone interviewing stations and more than 100 experienced interviewers who were trained specially for the RI Life Index project.


Follow-up questions
ConvergenceRI asked a number of follow-up questions following the virtual event, which Carolyn Belisle, the managing director of community investment at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, answered.


“These are all great questions,” Belisle said. “Our partners at Brown reinforce how important it is to convey the limitations of the RI Life Index survey data, especially in regard to your questions about data integration. The RI Life Index survey method is designed to be anonymous. Respondents are de-identified and all possible identifying characteristics are separated from the publicly available data.”


Belisle continued: “This intentional survey method allows for greater participation and typically richer data, which can then be used to reinforce existing data resources. The only identifier within our evaluation is the ZIP Code, which allows us to present results at a geographic level, but limits the ability for full integration of these results with other data sources.”


Further, Belisle said: “The principal survey methodologist for the RI Life Index suggests triangulation [vs. integration] of the data – that is, using or looking at it with multiple measures/data sources to capture or highlight opportunities or areas of greatest need.”


ConvergenceRI: Can the data collected as part of the second annual RI Life Index be integrated with the data collected by Health Equity Zones as part of their survey of community needs?
BELISLE: [See the response above regarding integration of data.] We are working with Chris Ausura, co-director of the Health Equity Institute at the R.I. Department of Health, and Morgan Duffney, Health Equity Zone program assistant at the Health Equity Institute, to facilitate specific sessions with the Health Equity Zones.


ConvergenceRI: In particular, ONE Neighborhood Builders has done a recent survey of the residents they serve about the most pressing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. How can those findings be integrated with the findings of the RI Life Index?
BELISLE: [See the response above regarding integration.]


ConvergenceRI: United Way of Rhode Island is working on creating a database resource cataloguing all of its 211 calls. Is there a way to cross-correlate the datasets that United Way is developing with the RI Life Index findings?
BELISLE: [See the response above regarding integration.]


ConvergenceRI: Is there a way to translate the findings from the RI Life Index into actionable programs? Such as, transportation needs related to public transit?
BELISLE: We hope that stakeholders find utility in the findings of the RI Life Index. The RI Life Index offers a unique window into what state residents see as community strengths and those they believe to be significant challenges.


The RI Life Index provides further recognition of the need and also the framework for what needs should be prioritized. We hope these results compel action. Blue Cross will continue its investment in safe and affordable housing with the second year of the housing-focused BlueAngel Community Health grants going into effect in 2021. We are also exploring other opportunities with additional partners as well.


ConvergenceRI: Were there any specific inquiries related to the perceptions of the threat from climate change?
BELISLE: No, this was not a topic we included. We had so many topics we needed to ask about and we also had to be mindful of limiting the number of questions to ensure a high rate of participation.


To read full story: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/how-rhode-islanders-see-themselves-during-a-time-of-covid,6189



Richard Asinof
Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI


Richard Asinof is the founder and editor of ConvergenceRI, an online subscription newsletter offering news and analysis at the convergence of health, scie


Tools for caregivers

Tools for the caregiver…

November 24, 2020/RINewsToday


Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month – a time to celebrate the contributions of caregivers, provide them with tools that they need, and continue to advocate for individuals with mental illness.


There are over 53 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. Twenty-seven percent or nearly a third of adult caregivers are helping someone with a mental illness. Caregiving can often have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver in more ways than one. It can make maintaining your physical and mental health more difficult and may put a strain on work and social life.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, feelings of stress, worry, and isolation may have become familiar to all of us. Despite the current situation, caregiving-as-usual happens. Loved ones may have doctor appointments or there may be prescriptions to refill. Being a family caregiver is difficult in the best of circumstances. The stress and challenges of the role can have a huge impact on a family caregiver’s mental health, leading to more family caregivers experiencing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug addiction, and anxiety. 


It’s important for caregivers to take care of their own mental health. Supporting caregivers with information and resources can help them maintain their mental health and better serve loved ones with mental illness. 


If you are a caregiver struggling with your own mental health, visit mhascreening.org to take a free, anonymous, and confidential screen.


In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, MHA released a new report, The Strain of Caregiving: How Caregiver Involvement Reduces Distress and Conflict, which explores whether family caregivers feel involved in the care of their loved ones if involvement has an effect on their levels of distress and conflict in providing care, and the hope they have for their loved one’s recovery. Click here to download the report.


Fast facts about caregivers

  • 45% of caregivers for adults with mental illness are parents, 14% are adult children and 11% are spouses.
  • The need for caregivers is expected to continue to grow as the US older adult population increases.
  • Caregivers of people with mental illness are:
    • 7% more likely to feel they have been discriminated against at work because of their role than caregivers of people with a physical illness
    • 14% more likely to report high difficulty finding affordable services
    • 11% more likely to say they didn’t receive training
    • 21% more likely to feel high emotional stress (compared to caregivers of people with a physical condition)


Caregiver mental health resources


Being in a Relationship with Someone Who Has a Mental Illness


For Family and Friends


Mental Illness And The Family: Recognizing Warning Signs And How To Cope


Mental Illness And The Family: Finding The Right Mental Health Care For You


Mental Illness And The Family: Is Hospitalization Necessary?


Resources For Immediate Response


Alternatives to calling the police in a crisis


My family member refuses to go to the hospital


What to do when they don’t want help


How can I access a loved one’s health care info?


My loved one has started moving strangely


How can I work with my loved one’s mental health care providers?


How can I help a loved one with a mental illness?


My loved one doesn’t want to take meds


How can I help a loved one with PTSD?


My loved one’s behavior is scaring me


Someone I care about is harming themselves


How can I help a loved one with bipolar?


How can I help a loved one with anxiety?


My loved one won’t talk to me about their mental health


7 tips for talking to a loved one about their mental health


Someone I love is in jail


How to help someone make decisions about their mental health


I need a break from caregiving!


I think someone I care about has a mental illness


Challenges And Solutions For Mental Health Caregivers



Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The state board of elections audited the results from this month's contests on Monday.  Woonsocket schools are going all-remote for a month.  A group has been indicted for a theft scheme in several New England states.

>>Board Of Elections Conducts Audit On This Month's Results

(Cranston, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Board of Elections on Monday conducted an audit of the state's general election results from earlier this month.  The so-called risk-limiting audit was mandated starting in 2018 through a new state law which aimed to ensure public confidence in the election results.  Rhode Island is one of only five states that conduct such audits.

>>Nursing Home Group: Discharged Hospital Patients Should Be COVID-Tested Twice

(Warwick, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Health Care Association wants the state to start requiring double-negative COVID-19 tests for hospital patients who go to nursing homes.  The group representing nursing homes says the state dropped the requirement down to one negative test over the summer, putting residents and staff at risk.  The nursing home association says it disagrees with the state's position that a second test is unnecessary since someone coming from a hospital would have to quarantine for two weeks.

>>Woonsocket School District Going All-Remote Through Christmas

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  The superintendent of the Woonsocket School District is announcing that all students pre-K through grade 12 will be moved to full distance learning from November 30th to December 23rd.  Patrick McGee said he respects and appreciates the options for school districts presented last week by Governor Gina Raimondo during her announcement of a "pause" period to fight COVID, but he says he's choosing to take a different path.  The superintendent says ensuring the health and safety of students, teachers and staff is his top priority.

>>Nine Face Federal Charges For New England Theft Scheme

(Providence, RI)  --  A group was indicted in federal court in Providence on Monday for an alleged theft plot in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.  The U.S. Justice Department says nine people participated in schemes to steal and sell about seven-hundred-thousand-dollars' worth of excavators, sport boats, jet skis, ATVs and trailers from businesses.  South Kingstown and Tiverton were the Rhode Island locations that were hit, and the DOJ says many of the stolen items were stored throughout the Ocean State.  The alleged ringleader was identified as Jose Montes of Cranston.

>>Spirito's Restaurant In Cranston Closes

(Cranston, RI)  --  The latest Rhode Island restaurant to close because of the coronavirus pandemic is out of Cranston.  The last day for Spirito's, which had been in operation for twenty-one years, was Sunday.  The restaurant singled out Governor Raimondo's COVID-related restrictions on the industry, as well as the virus crisis itself, for causing it to have to shut its doors in a social media post.

>>DEM Announces Land Preservation In Tiverton

(Tiverton, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is announcing about one-hundred-fifty acres of forested land in Tiverton is being permanently protected for public recreational use, including hunting.  The DEM says the parcel, which bordered previous protected land, was acquired from the Tiverton Rod and Gun Club in 2012.  The two areas combined make up nearly three-hundred acres.  DEM Director Janet Coit says the preservation also gives additional protection to the city of Newport's water supply.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI) MA) CT) NH)

Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

11-24-2020 01:29:05


BREAKING: 3rd vaccine requests approval. Astara/Zenecca

BREAKING: 3rd vaccine requests approval. AstraZeneca/Univ. of Oxford, OWS partner

November 23, 2020/RINewsToday


Editor’s Note: This vaccine could get approval by the second week in Dec.


Two different dosing regimens demonstrated efficacy with one showing a better profile – No hospitalisations or severe cases of COVID-19 in participants treated with AZD1222


5am, Mon, Nov. 23 – AstraZeneca will now immediately prepare regulatory submission of the data to authorities around the world that have a framework in place for conditional or early approval. The Company will seek an Emergency Use Listing from the World Health Organization for an accelerated pathway to vaccine availability in low-income countries. In parallel, the full analysis of the interim results is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.


Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said: “{Our} findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives. Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply. Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the many volunteers in our trial, and the hard working and talented team of researchers based around the world.”


Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency. Furthermore, the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval.”


Positive high-level results from an interim analysis of clinical trials of AZD1222 in the UK and Brazil showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19, the primary endpoint, and no hospitalizations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants receiving the vaccine. There were a total of 131 COVID-19 cases in the interim analysis.


One dosing regimen (n=2,741) showed vaccine efficacy of 90% when AZD1222 was given as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart, and another dosing regimen (n=8,895) showed 62% efficacy when given as two full doses at least one month apart. The combined analysis from both dosing regimens (n=11,636) resulted in an average efficacy of 70%. All results were statistically significant (p<=0.0001). More data will continue to accumulate and additional analysis will be conducted, refining the efficacy reading and establishing the duration of protection.


An independent Data Safety Monitoring Board determined that the analysis met its primary endpoint showing protection from COVID-19 occurring 14 days or more after receiving two doses of the vaccine. No serious safety events related to the vaccine have been confirmed. AZD1222 was well tolerated across both dosing regimens.


The pooled analysis included data from the COV002 Phase II/III trial in the UK and COV003 Phase III trial in Brazil. Over 23,000 participants are being assessed following two doses of either a half-dose/full-dose regimen or a regimen of two full doses of AZD1222 or a comparator, meningococcal conjugate vaccine called MenACWY or saline. The global trials are evaluating participants aged 18 years or over from diverse racial and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions.


Clinical trials are also being conducted in the US, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America with planned trials in other European and Asian countries. In total, the Company expects to enrol up to 60,000 participants globally.


The Company is making rapid progress in manufacturing with a capacity of up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021 on a rolling basis, pending regulatory approval. The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2-8 degrees Celsius/ 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.


AstraZeneca continues to engage with governments, multilateral organizations and collaborators around the world to ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic.




COV002 is a single-blinded, multi-centre, randomized, controlled Phase II/III trial assessing the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of AZD1222 in 12,390 participants in the UK. Trial participants to date are aged 18 years or over, who are healthy or have medically stable chronic diseases and are at increased risk for being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Participants receive one or two intramuscular doses of a half dose (~2.5 x1010 viral particles) or full dose (~5×1010 viral particles) of AZD1222 or comparator, meningococcal vaccine MenACWY. Participants have blood samples drawn and clinical assessments for safety as well as immunogenicity at multiple timepoints up to one year post-vaccination. Suspected cases presenting with compatible symptoms were tested for virological confirmation by COVID-19 PCR. In addition, weekly swabbing are done for detection of infection and assessment of vaccine efficacy against infection.




COV003 is a single-blinded, multi-centre, randomized, controlled Phase III trial assessing the safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity of AZD1222 in 10,300 participants in Brazil. Trial participants to date are aged 18 years or over, who are healthy or have medically stable chronic diseases and are at increased risk for being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Participants are randomised to receive two intramuscular doses of a full dose (~5×1010 viral particles) of AZD1222 or comparator, meningococcal vaccine MenACWY as first dose and a saline placebo as second dose. Participants have blood samples drawn and clinical assessments for safety as well as immunogenicity at multiple timepoints up to one year post-vaccination. Suspected cases presenting with compatible symptoms were tested for virological confirmation by COVID-19 PCR.


AZD1222 was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.




AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.


Visit astrazeneca.com and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.



CVS; Larry Merlo waiting for the call to deliver COVID-19 vaccinactions

CVS’ Larry Merlo waiting for the call to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations

November 23, 2020/RINewsToday


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Pfizer vaccine approval is expected on or around December 11th


As soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is approved to be distributed, three pharmacy companies are set to begin. Rhode Island’s CVS says they could implement their existing flu-shot systems within 48 hours of receipt of the vaccine. Larry Merlo, CEO at Rhode Island based CVS gave details in a Sunday morning interview on CBS News.


CVS joins Walgreens and Duane Reade as the three “pharmacy” companies to participate. Hospitals and health care clinics and groups will also take a lead.


CVS will focus on long term care facilities, with 25,000 already signed up, choosing CVS to administer their vaccines to their people. CVS has an existing system set up to manage flu innoculations at facilities.


An Operation Warp Speed partner, CVS has done over 7 million COVID-19 tests throughout the United States.


When asked about underserved populations, when it comes to the general public phase of testing and vaccines, Merlo mentioned that over 70% of Americans live within three miles of a CVS, positioning them to effectively serve almost everyone. For areas without a CVS conveniently located, CVS has a system of kiosks, or mobile trailers, that they take into underserved or geographically remote areas.


Here is the CBS interview with Larry Merlo:


For the general public


While CVS will focus on the first priority, expected to be seniors, those in congregate housing, and those most at risk, on Thursday, November 12th it addressed doing vaccinations for the general public, in this statement:


“Today it was announced that CVS Health will join others in offering Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations when available to the general public.


“CVS Health is prepared to play a prominent role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations to the general public, which builds on our previously announced agreement to administer vaccines in long-term care facilities,” said Troyen Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. “Our extensive experience safely and efficiently providing vaccinations is unmatched, and this year alone we’ll provide flu vaccines to nearly 20 million Americans across the country.


“With approximately 70 percent of the U.S. population living within three miles of a CVS Pharmacy, we’ll be easy to reach when a vaccine is authorized by the FDA and becomes available in retail settings. Our pharmacists, nurse practitioners and pharmacy technicians have been an invaluable community resource since the pandemic began and are ready to play a critical role in the vaccination effort.”


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Patriots fall to the Texans.  Another earthquake happened in Southern New England over the weekend.  West Warwick public schools are going remote after the holiday break.

>>Patriots Lose In Houston

(Houston, TX)  --  The New England Patriots' playoff chances took a huge hit on Sunday with a 27-to-20 loss to the Houston Texans.  The loss puts the Pats at a 4-and-6 record.  With six games left to play in the 2020 regular season, next up for New England is a return home to play the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday.

>>Another Earthquake In Southeastern Massachusetts

(Dartmouth, MA)  --  A second earthquake has been reported in coastal Massachusetts this month.  The U.S. Geological Survey says the two-point-zero-magnitude quake was centered about five miles southwest of Bliss Corner in the town of Dartmouth overnight Sunday.  This was close to the location of the three-point-six-magnitude quake that struck on November 8th.  Yesterday's temblor was once again felt through other parts of Southern New England, including in Rhode Island, according to the USGS.

>>Half-Dozen Hurt In Crash On I-95 In Attleboro

(Attleboro, MA)  --  Six people were hospitalized in a multi-vehicle crash on I-95 south in Attleboro, Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon.  The Massachusetts State Police says two people in one of the vehicles had to be extricated by firefighters and were taken to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries.  The other crash victims reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  The crash is under investigation.

>>Narragansett House Fire Victim Dies

(Narragansett, RI)  --  An elderly man has died after a house fire in Narragansett.  Police say 89-year-old Roger Smith was pronounced dead at South County Hospital after the Friday night blaze.  WJAR-TV reports police said Smith was trapped inside when the fire broke out.  Authorities also said a firefighter was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

>>West Warwick Schools Going Virtual For Three Weeks

(West Warwick, RI)  --  The West Warwick School District is moving to full distance learning.  The district says it's planning for a three-week learning period starting after Thanksgiving.  The superintendent said West Warwick schools have experienced a rise in positive coronavirus cases and the number of students and staff that need to quarantine.

>>CARES Act Money Offered To Sports Venues Hit With Closure

(Providence, RI)  --  The state of Rhode Island is offering compensation to indoor sports venues that were hit by a one-week shutdown earlier this month.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says the facilities were closed from November 2nd to the 8th to allow the state time to review and update regulations for operating during the coronavirus pandemic.  The DEM says a one-million-dollar fund has been established with CARES Act money and that applications will be accepted through the end of this week.

>>Man Sentenced After Drug Investigation In Providence, Warwick

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is being ordered to serve prison time for drug distribution and illegal firearms charges.  The state attorney general on Friday announced the eleven-and-a-half-year ACI sentence for Javier Morales.  The A.G.'s office says Morales was arrested in November 2019 after a four-month investigation by law enforcement into drug distribution in Providence and Warwick.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI) MA)

Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

11-23-2020 01:39:11


New Podcast: Public Health Out Loud - Drs. McDonald and Chan

New Podcast: Public Health Out Loud – Drs. McDonald & Chan

November 22, 2020/RINewsToday


Rhode Island Department of Health Launches Public Health Out Loud Podcast


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is launching a podcast this week – Public Health Out Loud – as a new platform to help Rhode Islanders stay informed about an array of local and national public health issues.


Envisioned as a continuation of the Facebook Live series done over the summer on COVID-19 and schools, the weekly podcast is co-hosted by James McDonald, MD, MPH and Philip Chan, MD, MS.


Dr. McDonald is a Medical Director at RIDOH, where he has helped lead the Department’s response to the overdose crisis, COVID-19, and many other issues. Dr. Chan is a Consultant Medical Director with RIDOH’s Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease, and Emergency Medical Services. He has also been a leader in the State’s response to COVID-19, HIV, and a range of other infectious diseases.


“Public health involves every issue, including COVID-19 and much more that affects everyone. Join us as we talk about public health for the public,” said Dr. McDonald. “Our goal is to provide people with information that is accessible, engaging, and informative, and helps people live healthier and safer lives.”


“We’re excited to use this new medium to try to reach a broader audience and talk to people about emerging public health trends,” said Dr. Chan. “This is one of the ways that we at RIDOH are trying to spark a conversation about how to build a healthier Rhode Island.”


In addition to Dr. McDonald and Dr. Chan, Public Health Out Loud will feature other experts from within RIDOH and the Rhode Island public health community. 


Currently, the podcast has four episodes available. Topics have included COVID-19, vaccinations, and the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health. New episodes will be published every Friday at 5 p.m.


To listen to the available episodes, visit:  http://publichealthri.buzzsprout.com/


Breaking: FDA Authorized Regeneron antibody cocktail

BREAKING: FDA authorizes Regeneron antibody cocktail

November 22, 2020/RINewsToday


TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Nov. 21, 2020 – 8pm


First treatment of any kind to have prospectively confirmed and statistically significant anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2


Authorized for recently diagnosed, mild to moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients


Initial doses of REGEN-COV2 will be made available to approximately 300,000 patients, with no medication out-of-pocket costs, under U.S. government allocation program


Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced Saturday that the antibody cocktail casirivimab and imdevimab administered together (also known as REGN-COV2 or REGEN-COV2), a therapy currently being investigated for use in COVID-19, has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Casirivimab and imdevimab administered together are authorized for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults, as well as in pediatric patients at least 12 years of age and weighing at least 40 kg, who have received positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.


The clinical evidence from Regeneron’s outpatient trial suggests that monoclonal antibodies such as REGEN-COV2 have the greatest benefit when given early after diagnosis and in patients who have not yet mounted their own immune response or who have high viral load.


The criteria for ‘high-risk’ patients are described in the Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers. Casirivimab and imdevimab are not authorized for use in patients who are hospitalized or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, or for people currently using chronic oxygen therapy because of an underlying comorbidity who require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19.  


“This FDA Emergency Use Authorization is an important step in the fight against COVID-19, as high-risk patients in the United States will have access to a promising therapy early in the course of their infection,” said Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Regeneron. “The science and technology investments Regeneron has made over three decades positioned us to move rapidly to invent, study and maximize production of REGEN-COV2. Even with these incredible efforts, demand may exceed supply initially, making it even more critical that federal and state governments ensure REGEN-COV2 is distributed fairly and equitably to the patients most in need. In the first quarter of 2021, we expect to increase available REGEN-COV2 global supply as we continue our collaboration with Roche.”


“REGEN-COV2 is designed to mimic what a well-functioning immune system does by using very potent antibodies to neutralize the virus,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “Data from approximately 800 non-hospitalized patients showed significant reductions in virus levels within days of receiving REGEN-COV2, which were associated with significantly fewer medical visits. This benefit was greatest in patients most at risk for poor outcomes due to high viral load, ineffective immune response at baseline or pre-existing risk factors. We are encouraged that no variants resistant to the cocktail were identified in the clinical trial analyses to date, which is consistent with our preclinical findings. We are also very encouraged by recently announced promising vaccine results; however, there remains a need to treat patients who develop COVID-19, especially as some may not have had access to or were not protected by vaccination. Importantly, we continue to advance our rigorous clinical trial program evaluating the safety and efficacy of REGEN-COV2 for both the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, and we will share new results as available.”


Production of monoclonal antibodies is a complex, time- and labor-intensive process that requires deep expertise. Utilizing production and manufacturing platforms developed over decades, Regeneron rapidly scaled up REGEN-COV2, beginning in the early days of the pandemic with support from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Regeneron now expects to have REGEN-COV2 treatment doses ready for approximately 80,000 patients by the end of November, approximately 200,000 patients by the first week of January, and approximately 300,000 patients in total by the end of January 2021.


As part of Operation Warp Speed, in July the U.S. government and Regeneron signed an agreement for this initial supply of REGEN-COV2. The U.S. government will coordinate with state authorities to allocate REGEN-COV2 on a weekly basis based on the number of COVID-19 cases in each state. The government has committed to providing these 300,000 doses at no cost to patients, although healthcare facilities may charge fees related to administration. Regeneron will immediately begin shipping REGEN-COV2 to Amerisource Bergen, a national distributor, which will distribute the therapy as directed by the government.


Under the EUA, the recommended dose is 1,200 mg of casirivimab and 1,200 mg of imdevimab (2,400 mg total) administered as a single intravenous infusion. The authorization is based on positive Phase 2 data announced in September and October from the first 799 adults in an ongoing randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of non-hospitalized patients (“outpatients”) with COVID-19.


The FDA grants Emergency Use Authorization to medicines that may help diagnose, treat or prevent a life-threatening disease when adequate and approved alternatives are not available. The EUA is temporary and does not take the place of a formal biologics license application (BLA) submission review and approval process. This use is authorized only for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use, unless terminated or revoked sooner. Casirivimab and imdevimab have not been approved by FDA and remain investigational. Evaluation of its safety and efficacy is ongoing in multiple clinical trials. Data from these trials will be used to support a future BLA submission. Health care providers should review the Fact Sheet for detailed information on the authorized use and requirements of the EUA and may call 844-734-6643 for more information. Please see the Fact Sheet and FDA Letter of Authorization at http://www.regencov2.com/.


REGEN-COV2 continues to be evaluated in Phase 2/3 clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 in certain hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients, the Phase 3 open-label RECOVERY trial of hospitalized patients in the UK, and a Phase 3 trial for the prevention of COVID-19 in household contacts of infected individuals. To date, more than 7,000 people have participated in REGEN-COV2 clinical trials.


REGEN-COV2 is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab, also known as REGN10933 and REGN10987, respectively) and was designed specifically to block infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


To develop REGEN-COV2, Regeneron scientists evaluated thousands of fully-human antibodies produced by the company’s VelocImmune® mice, which have been genetically modified to have a human immune system, as well as antibodies identified from humans who have recovered from COVID-19. The two potent, virus-neutralizing antibodies that form REGEN-COV2 bind non-competitively to the critical receptor binding domain of the virus’s spike protein, which diminishes the ability of mutant viruses to escape treatment and protects against spike variants that have arisen in the human population, as detailed in Science.


REGEN-COV2’s development and manufacturing has been funded in part with federal funds from BARDA under OT number: HHSO100201700020C. Regeneron continues to increase in-house production of REGEN-COV2, and the company has partnered with Roche to increase the global supply of REGEN-COV2 beginning in 2021. If REGEN-COV2 proves safe and effective in clinical trials and regulatory approvals are granted, Regeneron will manufacture and distribute it in the U.S. and Roche will develop, manufacture and distribute it outside the U.S. Once both companies are at full manufacturing capacity in 2021, there are expected to be at least 2 million treatment doses available annually.


“The emergency authorization of these monoclonal antibodies administered together offers health care providers another tool in combating the pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We will continue to facilitate the development, evaluation and availability of COVID-19 therapies.”


Limitations of Authorized Use

  • Casirivimab and imdevimab injection is not authorized for use in patients:
    • who are hospitalized due to COVID-19, OR
    • who require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19, OR
    • who require an increase in baseline oxygen flow rate due to COVID-19 in those on chronic oxygen therapy due to underlying non-COVID-19 related comorbidity.


Definition of High-Risk Patients


High-risk is defined as patients who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have a body mass index (BMI) ≥35
  • Have chronic kidney disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have immunosuppressive disease
  • Are currently receiving immunosuppressive treatment
  • Are ≥65 years of age
  • Are ≥55 years of age AND have
    • cardiovascular disease, OR
    • hypertension, OR
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/other chronic respiratory disease.
  • Are 12 – 17 years of age AND have
    • BMI ≥85th percentile for their age and gender based on CDC growth charts, OR
    • sickle cell disease, OR
    • congenital or acquired heart disease, OR
    • neurodevelopmental disorders, for example, cerebral palsy, OR
    • a medical-related technological dependence, for example, tracheostomy, gastrostomy, or positive pressure ventilation (not related to COVID-19)
    • asthma, reactive airway or other chronic respiratory disease that requires daily medication for control.


Use in Specific Populations

  • Pregnancy: There is currently limited clinical experience in the use of casirivimab and imdevimab injection in COVID-19 patients who are pregnant. Casirivimab and imdevimab injection therapy should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk for the mother and the fetus.
  • Nursing Mothers: There is currently no clinical experience in use of casirivimab and imdevimab injection in COVID-19 patients who are breastfeeding. The development and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for casirivimab and imdevimab injection and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from casirivimab and imdevimab injection or from the underlying maternal condition.


About Regeneron
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to eight FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, infectious diseases and rare diseases.


For additional information about the company, please visit www.regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter.

“The FDA remains committed to advancing the nation’s public health during this unprecedented pandemic. Authorizing these monoclonal antibody therapies may help outpatients avoid hospitalization and alleviate the burden on our health care system,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “As part of our Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, the FDA uses every possible pathway to make new treatments available to patients as quickly as possible while continuing to study the safety and effectiveness of these treatments.” 


About Operation Warp Speed


Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively known as countermeasures).



Your Coronavirus Update - Today November 20, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Nov. 20, 2020

November 20, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Sent to us by a Twitter follower – Erin Black, Plymouth Herald




CDC now recommends against ANY TRAVEL for Thanksgiving.


Pfizer will now file paperwork – today – with the FDA – for emergency approval. Moderna is expected to file within days.


Food insecurity is growing across the country, with long lines at many food giveaway locations.


185,000 cases reported in US yesterday – a new one day high.


USS Michael Murphy has an outbreak on it with at least ¼ of those onboard testing positive in Hawaii.


Only 12% Of Americans Would Get Shot ‘Immediately,’ Consumer Reports Survey Says


EpiJet, in South Carolina, is prepared to turn out 45 million single dose syringes every month.


8 months into pandemic, thousands of Michiganders still wait for unemployment benefits


Scientists say there’s little to no evidence that deep cleaning mitigates the threat of the virus indoors, because it primarily spreads through inhaled droplets.


City Winery, a bar/restaurant in NYC will soon require $50 on-site COVID-19 test for patrons


Royal Caribbean has recruited 100,000 volunteers for cruise launch test.


Maryland’s bars and restaurants must close at 10pm.


A mask mandate for New Hampshire takes effect today.


Mayor DeBlasio of NYC has indicated businesses may be shuttered for up to 2 months or more.


905 Mayo Clinic staff at multiple locations have the virus.


European officials announced a modest gain in the continent’s battle against the virus. New cases decreased to 1.8 million cases last week, down from over 2 million the week before.


Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all cruises.


Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that other businesses will likely shut down within a week or two as well to curb the coronavirus’ spread.


MassPort will decrease staff by 25% at Logan Airport.


In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott is urging Vermonters to honor the people lost to COVID-19 by renewing their commitment to protecting one another.


DC Smithsonian sites are now closed.


Ocean Spray Cranberries has begun a $100K effort to help independent restaurants.


California is now on a curfew from 10pm to 5am


US workers file 742,000 jobless claims – for a total of 68.1 million.


A Covid vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca Plc has produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly, those at highest risk of severe illness. Findings on blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in healthy adults ages 18 to 55, Astra said Monday. Older patients have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in those over 60.


The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit will be limited to patients at Sutter Health in Northern California and Cleveland Clinic Florida in Miami-Fort Lauderdale until next spring. And even then, you must have symptoms and a health provider’s referral to get the test. It is showing 94% accuracy.




East Providence School District will be distance learning Monday November 23 and 24 due to staffing issues related to Covid.


Two unused nursing homes in New Bedford were turned into “COVID recovery centers” several months ago and the city may reopen them for patients that need a “step-down” recovery from the hospital, and cannot yet go home.


A US attorney has been assigned to RI to fight suspected cases of CARES Act fraud.


147 cases in maximum security ACI


100 more contact tracers have been hired by RI.


“Massachusetts health officials are tweaking the state’s quarantine guidance, allowing people exposed to COVID-19 to leave quarantine as early as 10 days if they test negative beforehand. People exposed to COVID-19 who get a test eight days into their quarantine and end up negative would be allowed to leave quarantine under the guidance that takes effect Wednesday.”


The RI Blood Center is asking for new blood donors to start giving, and existing blood donors to consider coming back more than usual – to address chronic blood shortage.


Update on the Covid positive count at the state-run Eleanor Slate Hospital: 32 staff/12 patients.


In Garden City Center, Cranston, Santa visits will not happen. Their holiday strolls continue with carolers in Victorian-era clothing, hot chocolate and a brass holiday band playing traditional and modern holiday songs. Elves will walk around during the strolls, handing out the occasional ‘surprise’ for children and adults, too. A seasonal display at the gazebo that features trees and wreathes will be where families can take holiday photographs.


Business loans from the state to local businesses may become taxable income to the owners – more info is to come.


RI Dept. of Business Regulations – business violations:

Neighborhood Mini Mart
150 Elmwood Ave.,
Compliance Order  


URI move classes online starting Monday, Nov. 23


$29 Million in business funds of rounds 1 & 2 have been distributed in RI, according to The Hummel Report.


RI Governor’s Address:


Next 6 weeks will be the hardest for RI


Hopeful some amt of vaccine in RI by end of year – more in Jan/Feb – by spring, much more available.


Weighing on me now is not overloading our hospital systems.


RI Data:


Deaths: 4
Tests: 15,819
Positives: 921
Percent Positive: 5.8%
Hospitalized: 298 (14 more from 11/18)
ICU: 26 (4 more)
On ventilators: 13 (same)



Weekly trend data is alarming – no comfort. First time since spring, we’ve surpassed all our thresholds and all our arrows are up.


I’ve done everything I know how to do without laying out these severe restrictions. Tried to stop the parties and the activity, but it has not worked. With so much community spread, it’s hard to pinpoint where the source is coming from. People aren’t answering questions we ask of them when contact tracing. Birthdays, baby showers, at-home social gatherings. Lots of out of home activities. Can’t always identify which ones. If we had controlled our house parties I would not be here today with such restrictions.  A lot of people are going to lose their jobs and their lives because of this approach.


We worked with IBM to identify trends and data. People are having at-home social gatherings, they are going to restaurants and bars and hanging out with people outside of their immediate households. We also know driver of mobility is restaurants and bars. A Brown university mobility study (cell phones?) saw a correlation between mobility and spread of virus.


There is high compliance with mask wearing when shopping. Hard to keep masks on when eating and drinking. Much lower compliance at a social gathering at someone’s home or with extended family and friends. Setting where people are moving around a lot, or closer than 6 feet – where the virus spreads. We know it spreads more easily indoors than outdoors. We know that schools are not major spreaders. We do know that in RI that high schools are more problematic than elementary or middle schools. Every school with 10+ cases has been a high school. Could be sports, etc. – very mobile while at school – sports, etc.


We have to reduce social activity indoors. Really clamp down.



Between now and end of year – this is the Last Mile – this is the Tipping Point:


Extending current guidance through end of next week. Bars and restaurants will continue early closures, etc.


Two changes effective now. Social gathering limit lowered to single household – if you are two people, that’s it. You cannot be spending social time indoors with people you don’t live with.  Capacity limit for big box stores – they must have a plan to handle increased capacity for shopping, Black Friday. No one in stores without mask on.


Thanksgiving plans – if you already have restaurant plans, go ahead, use extreme caution. Asking you not to travel. What you should do is stay at home, with people you live with, and celebrate Thanksgiving. If you insist on traveling anywhere – and you shouldn’t – get tested before you go – follow all the rules with mask-wearing, etc – and get tested when you come home. We will offer Binex rapid testing in the airport on Fri/Sat/Sun after Thanksgiving. You also have to quarantine.


After Thanksgiving:


Beginning on Monday – RI will enter a 2-week pause. Shut down will go longer if we don’t cooperate. Reviewed rules:


Pre-K, elementary, middle – stay open for full, in-person education – child care to stay open, mfg and construction to continue; personal services and healthcare to stay open.


Limited: in-person high school moves to virtual; social gatherings limited to only your own household; indoor dining reduced to 1/3 capacity, early closure, only dine with your own household; retail – 1 person per 100 sq. ft; houses of worship to 1/4th capacity.


Closed: colleges and universities must stay virtual; offices should close whenever possible & move to remote whenever possible; bar areas will be closed, drinks can be served at tables when people are eating; recreational venues, bowling alleys, Twin River, gyms, indoor sporting, indoor fitness, organized sports – closed. We need a hard pause.


Stimulus funds – some remain, 10s of millions which we can give to help small businesses.  Goal is to have it be significant. Simple process.


“We have a 10 day ready period for those 2 weeks. We will have details about all of this at reopeningri.com. None of this will be easy. Hoped to avoid this. I know financial pain. This is only going to work if we do it – I don’t know how to say it any other way. If you are asking yourself how you can get around the rules, I’ll be back here with a full state lockdown.”


“I have been utterly ineffective to get people to follow the rules in their own homes.” 


Within 2 weeks we’ll know if we are working = test positivity should be below 5%. We’re going to look at reservation data at restaurants. Traffic data. Enforcement data. Mobility data. We’ll see if this is working or – not.


Hospitals are at 97% capacity in their COVID beds. Field hospitals are ready. Should need to be open week after Thanksgiving. 900 beds. Problem is staffing. Dozens showing up in hospitals every day. If system gets overwhelmed, our backup is to make beds available by clearing out other beds in hospital by shutting off other procedures. Preventive care, cancer screening, etc. If we have to go to crisis levels of care, there are grim results.


If this doesn’t work – We Will Get Through – somehow. There will be more disease and more mortality.


“It’s Gonna Suck – I can hear it already”




We are going to double our capacity – and new site at McCoy and Wickford.




Q: Elementary schools are showing spread – why are you not closing them?

A: There is no evidence of this. Students will suffer more


Q: High school kids – how are you going to keep them from going out on their own

A: Hope they will listen to the rules


Q: Nobody can get a test – what is your goal – people are waiting 3-5 days – maybe you should scale back on asymptomatic?

A: Acknowledges people are waiting 5 days, etc. We are trying to fix it. Next week more BiNex instant kits.


Q: Distance learning with a good teacher will have better results than in-school with less qualified staff

A:  High schoolers should do very well, education-wise with distance learning. Younger kids need more support – issues of internet, food, home life, food insecurity, mental health.


Q: When will field hospitals open?

A:  That is the hospitals’ call.


Q: RI Interscholastic League future?

A:  Winter season cannot start until Jan. In pause period, nothing – no practices of any kind, no games.

“If President Biden would do a 6 week lockdown with appropriate stimulus, I could support that.”


Dale J. Venturini, of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, said the announcement could not have come at a worse time, the start of the holiday season.


Providence College is nw at remote learning. Spokesperson said, “Students will go home for Thanksgiving,” he said, “and instead of coming back, they will take the final two weeks remotely and not come back until January.”


Governor Raimondo’s press briefing, Nov. 19th:

Watch, here: http://ritv.devosvideo.com/show?video=2dfec33dd5fa&apg=71865d99


The Coronavirus Task Force Update, Nov. 19th:



Updated: RI School List with COVID-19 cases as of 11/20/20

UPDATED: COVID-19 in RI Schools: approx. 373 new student cases; 143 new staff cases, last 7 days

November 20, 2020/RINewsToday


Note: This updated data chart is for cases reported by 11/14/20.




553+ locations


143 new student cases last 7 days


1,663 student cumulative cases since Sept.


143 new staff cases last 7 days


568 staff cumulative cases


Summary – this update – more than 553 locations – 143 new student cases – 1,663 cumulative student cases – 143 new staff cases – 568 cumulative staff cases – 54 new locations



Posted in 


Don't take it home for the holidays - New England Governors respond

Don’t take it home for the holidays – New England Governors respond

November 20, 2020/RINewsToday


Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker yesterday announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus.


Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health. These efforts will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing COVID-19 into their communities. In addition, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home state.   


“As our COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, it’s critical that we come together as a region to slow the spread and keep our constituents safe,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We all need to be more vigilant about keeping our circles small and our masks on, while at the same time we’re continuing to ramp up asymptomatic testing across-the-board. This collaborative approach among Northeastern states will help us flatten the curve and contain spread over the Thanksgiving holiday.” 


“As everyone predicted, cases are rising as temperatures drop, and New York is not immune. With the holidays approaching, we are fighting ‘living room spread’ from small gatherings in private homes — and adding college students’ interstate travel will be like pouring gasoline on a fire,” Governor Cuomo said. “We know this virus does not respect borders, which is why governors from across the region are working together to stop the spread. Colleges and universities have to do their part by testing all students before they leave, informing them about quarantine rules, and keeping classes online between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. We beat back the COVID beast in the spring, and by working together we can do it once again this winter.”


“With Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season fast approaching, we have to recognize that any large family gathering — particularly among different age groups — runs the risk of turning the dinner table into a COVID hotspot,” said Governor Murphy. “To reduce the risk of transmission across our region, we are encouraging colleges and universities to ramp up testing for students returning home, and for anyone who tests positive to adhere to their state’s quarantine restrictions. If we collectively recommit ourselves to the commonsense mitigation practices that got us through the first wave of this pandemic, we can save lives before a vaccine becomes broadly available.”  


Gov. Lamont said, “College students returning from highly infected states could accelerate the spread of COVIC in Connecticut. I appreciate the joint effort of all our regional governors to clearly state the testing/quarantine rules for returning home from college.”  


“There’s no sugarcoating it: this will be a difficult winter,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “We are seeing rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in our region and across the country as we enter the colder months. The holidays present a significant challenge. I’m thankful for the cooperation in our region, and will continue to urge Delawareans to do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with anyone outside your household. Stay vigilant.”  


“It is our collective responsibility to protect our communities and our most vulnerable from COVID-19 and to continue to work together to get through this pandemic. These targeted mitigation efforts, combined with existing ones, are paramount to decreasing the spread of COVID-19. We need everyone to be united in wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing our hands in order to save lives and help protect our economies.” “The region is experiencing a surge in COVID cases and a surge in the serious health impacts this disease brings with it. Working together on travel and higher education policies like these, states can have a bigger impact on COVID spread as students travel for the holidays,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Gathering with friends and family significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus and while testing and isolation guidelines can help slow the spread, it is up to everyone to wear a mask and avoid gathering indoors with people outside of your household.”   


The combination of rising cases across the country — including in the northeast — due to increased transmission of COVID in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread. If people proceed with celebrations in small gatherings outside of their household, they risk generating a dramatic spike in cases after Thanksgiving.


All Governors are urging their residents to stay home and celebrate small this year in an effort to help eliminate the risk of unchecked COVID-19 spread in the coming weeks.   The governors and their public health experts developed this guidance over the weekend at an emergency summit of northeastern governors. The governors also emphasized the importance of in-person education. Medical research as well as the data from northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates. In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families.


There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn.   


In order to stop college-related travel spreading COVID, colleges and universities in Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will be encouraged to make testing available to all students before they leave for Thanksgiving break and inform students and their families of states’ quarantine requirements. Any student who tests positive before they leave should be permitted to isolate on campus, or may travel safely with the approval of the local departments of health. Students who are already isolating or quarantining on campus must remain in place until completing their prescribed seclusion.   


In addition, the Governors are strongly recommending that colleges and universities finish their fall semesters by expanding remote instruction, enabling more students to learn from home for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break rather than require students to travel back to campus and then back home again in December.


Half of colleges and universities across the northeast have already indicated they will be fully remote between Thanksgiving and the end of their fall semester. Colleges and universities should prioritize on-campus programs for students who did not travel or who need in-person exams or clinical and laboratory experiences.  


If colleges and universities do reopen for in-person instruction during this period, all returning students should receive COVID-19 tests and comply with relevant isolation and quarantine protocols. These institutions should also double down on precautions including frequent health screenings and surveillance testing due the increased risk of COVID exposure from student travel.    


So far we have heard from URI, PC and Salve Regina that they will have testing programs and the ability for students to stay in their dorms for the Thanksgiving holiday season – classes will then go remote until the end of the year.


RINewsToday story on College initiatives can be found here:


Rhode Island News Today

2(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island's governor on Thursday announced an upcoming temporary "pause" which will close certain businesses in an effort to fight COVID.  Rhode Islanders are being asked not to travel for Thanksgiving because of the virus pandemic.  The state's unemployment rate is back down to single digits.

>>Citing Pandemic, Governor Announces Two-Week 'Pause' Period For Rhode Island

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island is entering a "pause" for two weeks starting November 30th to fight the late-year coronavirus wave.  Governor Gina Raimondo announced Thursday the following places must close: in-person learning at colleges and universities, offices when possible, bar areas, recreational venues, and indoor sports facilities and fitness centers.  Indoor dining must reduce capacity to one-third; houses of worship must go down to 25-percent.  Social gatherings are being limited to one household immediately.  Raimondo said without the pause, there is a risk that hospitals will become overwhelmed.

>>Raimondo Asks People Not To Travel For Thanksgiving

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo asked Rhode Islanders to stay at home on Thanksgiving, but also asked people who do travel to get tested before leaving.  Plus, the governor said you'll have to get tested when you come back and quarantine.  Rapid-testing will be offered for travelers at T.F. Green Airport over the holiday weekend.

>>Rhode Island Unemployment Rate Down To Seven Percent

(Providence, RI)  --  The state of Rhode Island's unemployment rate has dropped to seven percent, according to the Department of Labor and Training.  The October rate was down from the September rate of ten-and-a-half-percent, but is still much higher than the rate from October 2019, which was three-and-a-half-percent.  The DLT says the number of Rhode Island-based jobs rose by 17-hundred last month.

>>State Elections Board Dismisses Republican Candidates' Complaints

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Journal reports the Rhode Island Board of Elections has dismissed complaints from five Republican candidates who lost their election races this month.  One was a Congressional candidate, Robert Lancia; the other four were competing for General Assembly seats.  They asked the board to investigate mail ballots and other votes, but made no specific allegations of voter fraud.  Lancia appeared to be winning his race against incumbent Democrat James Langevin until mail ballots were added.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Retired RI Navy Pilot Pleads Guilty To Coercion, Child Porn Charges

(Providence, RI)  --  A retired U.S. Navy pilot most-recently stationed at the Naval War College in Newport is facing up to life in prison.  The U.S. Justice Department says Ronald Zenga of Middletown pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges of coercing a minor to engage in illicit sexual conduct and several child pornography charges.  Prosecutors say Zenga described graphic ongoing sexual encounters with a young child to a police agent online.  Sentencing is scheduled next February.

>>Fane Tower Providence Update

(Providence, RI)  --  An update on a proposed luxury apartment skyscraper in Providence.  The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission voted Wednesday to allow for a modified agreement with New York developer Jason Fane if he pays a quarter-million dollars in past-due fees by the end of the day Friday.  A spokesperson for Fane said he plans on making the payment and remains committed to the project known as the Hope Point Tower, which was put on hold this spring because of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

>>Patriots At Texans On Sunday

(Houston, TX)  --  The New England Patriots will continue to fight for a playoff spot on the road this weekend.  The Patriots are at the Houston Texans on Sunday.  Kickoff is at 1 p.m. Eastern time.  New England has won two in a row.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI) NY)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

11-20-2020 01:22:06


Your Coronavirus Update - Today Nov 19, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Nov. 19, 2020

November 19, 2020/RINewsToday




Vaccine Announcement: Astra-Oxford shot produces immune response in older adults – A Covid vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca Plc has produced a robust immune response in older adults and the elderly, those at highest risk of severe illness. Findings on blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July that showed the vaccine generated robust immune responses in healthy adults ages 18 to 55, Astra said Monday. Older patients have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in those over 60.


Harvey Weinstein may be close to death, in prison, with coronavirus


Pfizer has increased its effectiveness estimates from 90% to 95%


Roche Holding AG has completed early tests of its ability to produce large quantities of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s COVID-19 antibody treatment, putting it on track to begin manufacturing the drug once it is authorized by regulators, Regeneron’s president said on Tuesday. The experimental therapy was used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump in October. The companies aim to be able to make 2 million doses of the antibody cocktail next year, but are awaiting clearance from regulators. https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN27X2T5?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=377073e675-RO_COPY_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-377073e675-132813241


NORAD said the virus will not top their Santa-tracking, though staff will be limited.


Germany is having huge protests about coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.


Brazil to receive first doses of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine


The New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders put players on the NFL’s COVID-19 list on Tuesday, while Washington had its first instance of someone in the organization testing positive for the coronavirus since the season began.


Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he will participate in a Phase 3 vaccine trial being managed in Cincinnati. The more people Johnson & Johnson can line up for the trial, the sooner they complete testing and begin the FDA approval process, he said.


Small outbreak at Newton Hospital, with at least 9 cases among staff.


59% of college students plan to return to campus after the holidays, according to Generation Lab polling.


British Airways said Tuesday that it will start testing passengers flying from the U.S. to London’s Heathrow Airport for the coronavirus in an effort to persuade the British government it should scrap rules requiring most international travelers to quarantine for 14 days. The airline says the pilot program will offer voluntary testing starting Nov. 25 in partnership with American Airlines for passengers flying to Heathrow from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.


Delta Airlines will once again block off their middle seats.


Rutgers in New Jersey is enrolling as many as 2,000 participants from the university community and throughout New Jersey for a test of Johnson & Johnson’s new potential vaccine.


Product limits in grocery stores on items such as cleaning products, toilet paper, paper towels, and empty shelves are beginning to be seen once again.


The NFL is placing all teams in intensive COVID19 protocol. Use of masks will be mandatory at all times at team facilities, including during practice and in weight rooms. Meetings must be held either virtually or in the largest indoor space with approval by the league. Meals have to be made available for grab-and-go to avoid players and staff congregating in cafeterias. Time spent in the locker room also has to be limited.


Chicago’s Jewish community is battered by second wave of coronavirus


New research on recovered COVID patients suggests that immunity to the novel coronavirus may last years.


Some hospitals are saying they may restrict use of Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab antibody treatment for COVID-19 due to a supply shortage.


In Minnesota, more than 900 Mayo Clinic staff members have contracted COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks.


The CDC has quietly removed guidance from its website encouraging school reopenings and downplaying the risk of COVID-19 transmission to children.


NYC school buildings will shut down November 19 as COVID-19 cases rise




High Schools – will shift to limited in-person learning. Distance learning will be for most high-school students, while in-person will be for some high-need, multi-language learnings, at-risk students and those with special needs. No organized school sports until at least January. Many are questioning why this is delayed until Nov. 30th, rather than immediately.


Colleges/Universities – The New England Governors released a joint recommendation that all travel be limited for Thanksgiving, testing be provided for all students who do travel, and increased remote learning be put in place to end the fall semester, reducing back-and-forth travel multiple times.


Governor Raimondo responds to our inquiry about making recent ZOOM meeting available to the public: “Agendas for each meeting are posted to the Secretary of State website in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. Here is the link to the page on that website for the COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee. The public can sign up on the SOS website to get automated updates whenever something is posted.  The agendas that are posted to that site include the Zoom link for attendees. We are not required to record the meetings or make those recordings available after the fact.”


Massachusetts has announced it will begin testing in public schools, charters, etc. in December.


RI Hospitality Association has suggested not closing them down, but keeping outdoor dining open and perhaps limiting numbers of people at tables – in preparation for today’s Governor’s announcement.


RIIL would recommend Dec. 11 to the state as the start date for the winter season, two weeks later than normal.


Since March, there have been 1,046 cases of COVID identified in Newport County, and 415 (or roughly 40 percent) have come in the past four weeks.


Salve Regina University has seen 14 students contract the virus in the past seven days for a total of 34 since Aug. 19. There also has been one staff member to test positive since the start of classes this semester. 


Providence Performing Arts moves to a fall 2021 season


Dr. Michael Fine said in an interview with GoLocalProv that we need to close factories, bars, and restaurants and they should be made whole economically. Must get people to stay home. “We need a new strategy — this one is clearly failed,” said Fine, the former RI Director of Health.


City of Attleboro:  10 employees test positive


Around 40% of RI’s new infections were believed to be household or family infections — someone got sick and brought it home to their spouse or roommate. The other 60% or so were believed to be the result of community spread from going to work and restaurants/bars, some from sports. (ProJo)


RI Data:


Deaths: 6
Tests Given: 18,414
Positives: 1,280
Percent positive: 7%
Hospitalized: 284
Hospitalized in ICU: 22
Hospitalized in ICU, ventilated: 13



Governor’s announcements today at 1pm – follow us on Facebook for the live link.



First COVID-19 Home Self-Test OK'd by FDA

First COVID-19 Home Self-Test OK’d by FDA

November 19, 2020/RINewsToday


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home and that provides rapid results. The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular (real-time loop mediated amplification reaction) single use test that is intended to detect the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.


“The FDA continues to demonstrate its unprecedented speed in response to the pandemic. While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home. This new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “Today’s action underscores the FDA’s ongoing commitment to expand access to COVID-19 testing.”


The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit test has been authorized for home use with self-collected nasal swab samples in individuals age 14 and older who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider. It is also authorized for use in point-of-care (POC) settings (e.g., doctor’s offices, hospitals, urgent care centers and emergency rooms) for all ages but samples must be collected by a healthcare provider when the test is used at the POC to test individuals younger than 14 years old. The test is currently authorized for prescription use only. 


The test works by swirling the self-collected sample swab in a vial that is then placed in the test unit. In 30 minutes or less, the results can be read directly from the test unit’s light-up display that shows whether a person is positive or negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Positive results indicate the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Individuals with positive results should self-isolate and seek additional care from their health care provider. Individuals who test negative and experience COVID-like symptoms should follow up with their health care provider as negative results do not preclude an individual from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


“Today’s authorization for a complete at-home test is a significant step toward FDA’s nationwide response to COVID-19. A test that can be fully administered entirely outside of a lab or healthcare setting has always been a major priority for the FDA to address the pandemic. Now, more Americans who may have COVID-19 will be able to take immediate action, based on their results, to protect themselves and those around them,” said Jeff Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “We look forward to proactively working with test developers to support the availability of more at-home test options.”


An important component to successful at-home testing is the ability to efficiently track and monitor results. As noted in this EUA, prescribing health care providers are required to report all test results they receive from individuals who use the test to their relevant public health authorities in accordance with local, state and federal requirements. Lucira Health, the test manufacturer, has also developed box labeling, quick reference instructions and health care provider instructions to assist with reporting.


Diagnostic testing remains one of the pillars of our nation’s response to COVID-19. The FDA continues its public health commitment to pursue new approaches that help make critical tests available to more Americans through EUA authority. 


About Lucira Health


Lucira Health was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Emeryville, California, near the University of California-Berkeley. Its 40 employees are reimagining infectious disease testing. Lucira developed its test kits to provide accurate, reliable and on-the-spot molecular test results anywhere, by anyone and at any time. Its robust platform with flexible hardware and multiplexed target identification capabilities is designed to enable rapid development of—-and testing for—-multiple assays.


About the FDA


The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.



Dolly Parton COVID Fund at Moderna

Dolly Parton COVID Fund at Moderna – “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine… “

November 19, 2020/RINewsToday


Dolly Parton last night spoke of her joy at helping to fund the production of a promising new coronavirus vaccine. Parton, back in April, donated $1 Million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, that was partnering with Cambridge, MA based Moderna on a COVID-19 vaccine.


Parton said: “I am a very proud girl today that I had anything at all to do with something that will help pursue this crazy pandemic.”


“When the pandemic started many months ago I felt led to put some money into he program at Vanderbilt Hospital, it’s a wonderful hospital and it’s been so good to me and my family over the years.


“I donated a million dollars and they called it the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund. Out of that, it got more money and it started developing many wonderful things….


“I just felt very proud to be part of that little seed of money that will grow into something great and that will help to heal this world.


“Lord knows we need it.”


Moderna became the second company to announce a vaccine ready for emergency authorization by the FDA. It has shown nearly 95% effectiveness. In their announcement, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it notes their work was supported, in part, by the”Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund at Vanderbilt University Medical Center”.


Moderna’s president, Stephen Hoge, told Sky News that through her financial support of Vanderbilt, Parton had indeed helped fund early research and clinical trials that led to the success. Parton tweeted in April: “My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure.


“I am making a donation of 1 million dollars to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations.”


Parton inspired a fan, Ryan Cordell, to put new lyrics to one of Parton’s most-identifying songs, “Jolene”, released in 1973. While his family was sleeping he performed and recorded it for release on Twitter. It has since gone viral.


The news even prompted one Twitter user, Ryan Cordell, to record a cover of Parton’s hit single Jolene, replacing the famous lyric with the words “Vaccine, vaccine, vacci-ine”. Cordell is Associate Professor of English and Core Founding Faculty Member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently serves as the English Department’s Graduate Program Director.



The donation is Parton’s largest among many acts of charity. Her most recent is The Imagination Library, which gifts free books to children from birth until starting school in participating areas. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Newport has an Imagination Library partnership. Parton has since gone on to recording bedtime stories, from her bed, for children, during the pandemic.



Parton has released a new “Holly Dolly Christmas” album, her first in at least a decade, and her Christmas special airs on Netflix on November 22nd.



About Moderna


Every cell in the body uses mRNA to provide real-time instructions to make the proteins necessary to drive all aspects of biology, including in human health and disease.


Given its essential role, we believe mRNA could be used to create a new category of medicines with significant potential to improve the lives of patients.


We are pioneering a new class of medicines made of messenger RNA, or mRNA. The potential implications of using mRNA as a drug are significant and far-reaching and could meaningfully improve how medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured. 


Since our founding in 2010, we have worked to build the industry’s leading mRNA technology platform, the infrastructure to accelerate drug discovery and early development, a rapidly expanding pipeline, and a world-class team. Our pipeline includes development candidates for mRNA-based vaccines and therapies spanning several therapeutic areas, and we have multiple clinical trials underway with other development candidates progressing toward the clinic. In addition, we have numerous discovery programs advancing toward development.  



Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island restaurants are hoping they'll be able to continue offering in-person dining.  The state is ending "mask breaks" in schools.  A new scam warning from the Rhode Island attorney general and National Grid.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Restaurants Fearful About Dining Restrictions

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island restaurant owners are concerned about Governor Gina Raimondo possibly bringing back a ban on indoor dining during her coronavirus press briefing today.  The Providence Journal reports the RI Hospitality Association sent a letter to Raimondo on Wednesday asking for every other possible solution to be explored.  The letter says restaurants are not the culprits of the spread of the virus.

>>Coronavirus-Testing Issues Reported In Rhode Island

(Providence, RI)  --  Problems are being reported with coronavirus-testing programs in Rhode Island.  WPRI-TV reports it has received numerous complaints, including problems scheduling tests and long wait times for appointments.  A National Guard official told Channel 12 it has been extremely busy at the Rhode Island Convention Center testing site.

>>State Ending School 'Mask Breaks;' Other Education Updates

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health is asking schools to stop allowing "mask breaks" in school.  WPRI-TV reports the health department changed its guidance last week regarding scheduled breaks for students to be able to remove their masks for a brief period of time.  Meanwhile, the state's deputy education commissioner is asking school district superintendents to reduce in-person learning in Rhode Island high schools to 25-percent at the end of this month.  That will mostly limit building access to high-needs students.  And the state now says organized school sports are to be held off until January.

>>New Budget Deficit Estimates Far Below Previous Projection

(Providence, RI)  --  Different estimates of the state of Rhode Island's current-year budget deficit are being made public this week.  Governor Raimondo's budget office estimated the deficit at 114-million dollars, but the fiscal advisor for the Rhode Island House of Representatives put the number at 275-million.  Both figures are much lower than the 900-million-dollar deficit that was initially projected due to the economic impact of the coronavirus impact.

>>Attorney General, National Grid Urge Public Vigilance Against New Scams

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha [[ nair-OH-nuh ]] and National Grid are warning consumers to be on the lookout after increased reports of scam activity.  The A.G.'s office says the most recent phone scam is an automated message alleging to be from National Grid which says the customer has a past-due balance.  A service shutoff is then threatened.  Neronha says scammers are trying to take advantage of more and more people staying home and answering the phone during the virus pandemic.

>>93-Year-Old RI Man's Lost Wedding Ring Found

(Westerly, RI)  --  A man with a metal detector helps find a missing wedding ring in Rhode Island.  According to a story from WHDH-TV in Boston, 93-year-old James Crowley of Westerly lost his ring while doing yard work.  Crowley was married to his wife for 70 years.  She died in 2014.  Crowley's daughter put out the call for help, and metal detector hobbyist Ryan Ledbetter arrived and found the ring after a search.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

11-19-2020 01:30:04


Your Coronavirus Update - Today Nov 18, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Wed, Nov. 18, 2020

November 18, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Time for Contact Tracing Notebooks – with a backlog at the state level, it’s a good idea to start that notebook (or use of the Crush COVID app) so you can notify people yourself if you come down with COVID19




There has been an 82% increase in cases around the US


NEW: The FDA has authorized the first at-home COVID-19 test – it will be available by prescription for individuals, hospitals, etc. It is expected to cost approx. $50.


Dr. Fauci spoke about “uniform mandates” going forward in fighting the vaccine.


New Orleans has banned Mardi Gras celebrations for 2021


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs mask mandate after months of opposition


Sen. Grassley tests positive for COVID-19


Germany has banned protests to oppose lockdowns.


2,885 TSA screeners have tested positive, with one known death.


All employees at DBS will be granted the flexibility to work remotely up to 40% of the time


Boston is experiencing a shortage in daycare options.


Boston Mayor says the best option for college kids who travel home is to “stay there”.


Amazon has opened an online pharmacy for a limited amount of start-up work


One survey shows only 26% of workers want to continue working from home after the pandemic is over


Nearly 300 businesses that received as much as $500 million from the Paycheck Protection Program have filed for bankruptcy. Many say the aid wasn’t enough to keep the businesses going, weighed down by the coronavirus and without additional stimulus.


Months of experience and research have refined coronavirus treatment. Several doctors said they now take a two-phase approach, first combating the virus itself with antiviral drugs, then addressing the cascade of problems caused by the usually outsize immune response. 


New testing procedures for U.S. House members traveling from out of town


65 staff test positive among WHO offices in Geneva.


EU eyes Covid-19 vaccine deal with Moderna at less than $25 per dose


For people with severe COVID-19, one of the most troubling complications is abnormal blood clotting that puts them at risk of having a debilitating stroke or heart attack. A new study suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, doesn’t act alone in causing blood clots. The virus seems to unleash mysterious antibodies that mistakenly attack the body’s own cells to cause clots.


Mayor Marty Walsh is urging Bostonians to spend Thanksgiving only with members of their immediate household to curb the spread of COVID-19.


Boston University students who go home for Thanksgiving are being urged to stay away until next semester as a precaution to avoid bringing the coronavirus back to campus


UMASS men’s basketball pauses all team activities after positive COVID-19 tests


Ohio is on a 3-week curfew


Michigan’s 3-week shutdown:



Thanksgiving restrictions on size of gatherings from states around US (broadly deemed to be unconstitutional) – NJ-10; NM-5; MA-10; NY-10; Oregon-2;Colorado-10; Deleware-10; Minnesota-10; Illinois-household




RI State Police – 10 tested positive – another 10 on quarantine (there are approx. 250 state police in total)


Providence Police – 60 cases since the beginning.


The explosion of COVID-19 in the state is causing the contact tracing and testing system to be inadequate to keep up. It is important that we all keep records of who we see and where we have been – we may be asked to do our own informing and “contact tracing” if we get COVID-19 Testing times are out by a few days and results could be 4-5 days to get.


A RIDE meeting was held last night with over 200 attending – a plan to test all children K-12 was discussed. Surveillance testing for staff, students, families for Providence, Central Falls and Lincoln – this is a pilot to help develop a plan statewide – many details unknown.


170 cases at Electric Boat – Director Graney says, he “also encouraged EB employees to rethink Thanksgiving plans”. “My wife and I have changed our traditional extended family Thanksgiving,” he said. “We’ll celebrate together at home — with a much smaller turkey — and will do a brief visit with my wife’s parents, from a safe distance, later in the afternoon.”


The RI House Oversight Committee will meet this Thursday (11/19/20). It will be carried from 3 -5 pm, on Capitol TV. The agenda includes a presentation by Dr. Alexander-Scott – Review of emergency spending on the COVID-19 response at nursing homes, hospitals, and other congregate care settings – Discussion of the decision making process before the issuance of EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-95, signed on November, 5, 2020 and any future potential restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19.


Brown University is shutting down 6 days early – going to virtual learning – before Thanksgiving holiday.


Stop & Shop is preparing to offer the vaccine as well as CVS & Walgreens.


Salve Regina students were notified that they cannot return to campus or the city after the Thanksgiving break and must take their remaining classes online if they choose to leave the Newport-based campus or off-campus residences in Newport. Salve will remain open for in-person classes after Thanksgiving break, but students who live on campus or in Newport and want to take classes in person must remain local through the holiday break.


Citizens Financial Group Inc. will close 40 Stop & Shop branches and switching to self-serve kiosks. There are 14 in RI and 26 in MA. They will be replaced by ATM kiosks. No information about loss of employees was given.


“3 employees who work in the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services recently tested positive for COVID-19. The office has been deep cleaned. 4 employees in the Gov’s Office are under quarantine, per the DOH’s orders.”


Governor Baker of MA says he has “no plans” for additional COVID-19 rules for the state.


Governor Raimondo rescheduled her press conference to Thursday at 1pm. The following week will be Wed, then going to Thursdays after that.


RI chosen as one of 4 states to pilot test Pfizer vaccine


Cranston East, Western Hills, Orchard Farms, and Woodridge schools in Cranston stay closed today due to staffing issues.


Pawtucket Credit Union: Central Avenue branch in Pawtucket would be closing temporarily. The lobbies of four other branches – on Newport Avenue in East Providence, Independence Way in Cranston, Post Road in Warwick and Tower Hill Road in North Kingstown – will only be available by appointment starting Nov. 16.


After steady monthly increases since April, the state pension fund took a slight dip in September, losing $156.6 million, according to the R.I. Office of the General Treasurer.


City of Providence – Mayor Elorza press conference:


Mayor Elorza announced that earl on his mother, father, aunt and uncle all had COVID – his mother was on a ventilator for 2 weeks and recovered. He announced new requirements as of Sunday: Limit social gatherings to 5. Do everything you can to stay in your own home and not someone else’s. Must get a permit from the city if you have more than 25 people outside.




Closed or suspended until further notice:


  • Providence Municipal Court
  • netWORKri Career Center
  • All Recreation Centers
  • Entertainment license issuance
  • Providence Port and Harbor


Mayor Elorza’s press release highlights:


Additional COVID-19 guidelines to go in effect on Sunday, November 22.


“As we continue to see cases rise across our state, it is time that we do more to protect our community,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “The strategic approach we are taking today and over the course of the next few weeks is what will help save lives. We need everyone to be a part of the solution and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.”


The executive order provides targeted interventions at proven points of transmission to stop the local spread of COVID-19. It includes reducing the State’s current limit on social gatherings from 10 to five people or only those within your immediate household. Additionally, catered events will be limited to 10 people for indoor events and 25 people outdoors. Organizers will be required to submit a Special Events permit accompanied by a COVID-19 Event Control Plan for events above the City’s recommended gathering limits. The City will work closely with the organizers of previously scheduled events to accommodate where possible.


A stay-at-home advisory will remain in place on weeknights 10PM to 5AM and 10:30PM to 5AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out, delivery and pick-up options in addition to indoor dining, with table sizes limited to eight or one household. Residents are asked to practice social distancing and to wear a mask any time they leave their home or when in contact with individuals not a part of their immediate household.


City Hall will continue to offer limited in-person services aligned with the latest health and safety guidelines. Providence Municipal Court has  ceased arraignments and hearings until further notice. The City continues to offer all Providence youth free grab and go meals Monday through Thursday after school hours at tented locations outside of 11 of the city’s recreation centers.


RI Data:


Today’s Data – Nov. 17, 2020
Deaths: 8
Tests: 9,709
New cases: 605
Percent positive: 6.2%
Hospitalized: 265
ICU: 22
Ventilators: 10

Posted in 


The RI Golf scene has been big business during 2020 pandemic

The RI Golf scene has been big business during 2020 pandemic times

November 18, 2020/John Cardullo


When 2020 came ringing in on midnight January 1st, the world was looking forward to the beginning of a new decade. The anticipation of the roaring 20’s redux was what was in everyone’s mind as we all said goodbye to the teens. Perhaps the reason was when growing up we all watched movies and television shows that portrayed the 2020’s as a magical decade where space travel was a common form of transportation, we expected to see flying cars like in the movie Back to the Future. What we got instead was more of the version of Mad Max, a movie about post-apocalypse world where survival of the fittest was an everyday occurrence, keep in mind the year for Mad Max was 2021 and here we are in a worldwide pandemic with no defined end in sight.


When things looked their bleakest back in April, a beacon of light emerged, and hope came from a simple game. A game where social distancing was part of the game without even trying, so in June the first Pro sport that returned and sent a signal to us all if we could make adjustments and abide by a few simple adjustments we can get back outside and play again. The PGA showed us all that golf could be a safe sport and a healthy distraction during these uncertain times. So as the weather became warmer more of us ventured out to out local golf courses and began playing like we never played before, playing not one but two, three and even four rounds a week.


“We had one of the busiest, if not the busiest years that we have ever had.” Said Ron Lombardi, the owner of the Midville Golf course in West Warwick. “The play on our course was up significantly. It was non-stop, tee times became a premium, waits to tee off became the norm. Given the additional fact that we had one of the warmest and driest seasons in our recorded history helped out a lot.”


The golfing boom gave players a safe place to go and get away for a few hours, walking a golf course is relaxing and take your mind off the events that are happening around us, plus it allows you to get out in the sun and fresh air. Exceptions of altering the usual rules such as not raking the sand traps, pulling the flag pin out or even having those players who needed to ride in a golf cart ride alone. The game itself was a model for social distancing on its own, but by putting safety protocols in place, courses took the better-to-be-safe-than-sorry approach and they did not hear a single complaint. “People were simply happy to get out even if it was for a short bit, get some normalcy and get away from the pandemic.” Lombardi added.


How big was the boom to the game? “We haven’t seen this much interest in golf since the mid 1990’s when Tiger Woods inspired golfers of all ages, sexes and races to at least try the game.” said Lombardi. “This season was when those of all ages decided to jump into the game, we saw a lot of first-time players give the sport a try, and they kept coming back!”


In September alone golf saw a 25.5% increase in the number or rounds played year-over-year, being the fifth straight month to surpass the previous years totals. Not just locally but nationally. In the 3rd quarter alone golf sales across the country exceeded $1 billion dollars, which was the industry’s second best! Call it cabin fever or pandemic fatigue, but people wanted to get out of the house and play a sport where they felt safe while following the rules that were put in place to help keep them safe and people were playing golf.


For better or worse the boom was good for the golf industry, coming at a time where there was so much uncertainty for business, where many businesses failed and were forced to shut down or are barely able to survive and are hanging on. The hope is that when we get on the other side and past the pandemic, those who started playing golf as a means to escape, will stay and continue to play the game they turned to, and play well into their golden years.



John Cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter
Posted in 


RI Lt. Gov. McKee and RI Small Business Coalition urge relief

RI Lt. Gov. McKee & RI Small Business Coalition urge more relief to small businesses

November 18, 2020/RINewsToday


Lt. Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Small Business Coalition today sent letters to Governor Gina Raimondo and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly urging a collaborative effort to provide additional relief to small businesses before the state’s CARES Act funds expire on December 30, 2020.


Requests include immediately allocating an additional $75M in CARES Act funds to the Restore RI grant program and adding another $75M if small businesses are ordered to shut down to stop the spread of the virus. These proposals follow outstanding requests from the Lt. Governor to simplify the Restore RI grant application, open the program to all small businesses regardless of industry, increase the minimum and maximum grant amounts and allow newly opened businesses to qualify.  “If we truly want to help small businesses in a meaningful way, we must quickly disburse remaining grant dollars and provide additional relief before the CARES Act funds expire on December 30,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee. “With new projections showing a significant reduction in the state budget deficit from $900M down to just $114M, allocating additional funds to small businesses is a reasonable and responsible thing to do.” 


“Our requests are simple — let’s provide some checks and balance when it comes to allocating what is left of the state’s $1.25B in CARES Act funds, and let’s ensure that money is going to our small businesses sufficiently,” said Chris Parisi, Co-founder of the Rhode Island Small Business Coalition.




Letter from State of Rhode Island Office of Lieutenant Governor Daniel J. McKee to Governor Raimondo:


Enclosed is a letter from the Rhode Island Small Business Coalition to members of the Rhode Island General Assembly requesting support and collaboration with your administration on behalf of the small business community. My office has worked closely with the coalition to advocate for small businesses throughout this pandemic and I would like to bring their latest requests to your attention.


As Chair of Rhode Island’s Small Business Advocacy Council, I strongly support the proposals outlined in the coalition’s letter, including immediately allocating an additional $75M in CARES Act funds to the Restore RI grant program and adding another $75M if small businesses are ordered to shut down to stop the spread of the virus. If we truly want to help small businesses in a meaningful way, we must act quickly to disburse remaining grant dollars and provide additional relief before the CARES Act funds expire on December 30, 2020.


With new projections showing a significant reduction in the state budget deficit from $900M down to just $114M, allocating additional funds to small businesses is a reasonable and responsible thing to do. I urge your administration to help small businesses survive and deal with the prospect of more challenging times ahead. Should your team need support from my office, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Lieutenant Governor Daniel J. McKee



Letter from the RI Small Business Coalition to the RI General Assembly:


The Rhode Island Small Business Coalition urges you to step up and represent the small businesses in the communities you have been elected to serve. The General Assembly can and should start playing a significant role in helping small businesses navigate this pandemic and providing much-needed checks and balances with the Governor regarding a transparent allocation of the state’s $1.25B in CARES Act Funds.


As a grassroots coalition of thousands of local businesses from dozens of different industries, we strongly believe that our voices should be heard. The General Assembly must act swiftly and decisively to keep our small business community alive as the pandemic rages on. This second wave of the virus may result in a lockdown, which our small businesses do not have the cash flow to survive. Together, we are putting forth a list of urgent requests for you, our elected leaders in the legislative branch:


Hold Governor Raimondo’s administration accountable and promote transparency.


  • Call for a weekly report on where the COVID-19 cases are coming from (specific business industries, schools, social gatherings, etc.).
  • Call for a weekly report on CARES Act fund allocation (allocated and real spend)


Support the immediate allocation of $75M in CARES Act funds to the Restore RI Grant Program.


  • This should be used to provide additional rounds of grants to previous recipients through a simplified application and to provide grants those who have not applied.


Support the allocation of an additional $75M in CARES Act Funds to the Restore RI grant program if business lockdown goes into effect.


  • Increase the individual grant amount by basing the amount on fixed expenses (rent, insurance, utilities, etc.) in addition to number of employees.
  • The grant should be open to all businesses under 100 employees, regardless of industry


These actions must be taken by the end of November as time is running out to spend the CARES Act funds before the December 30, 2020 deadline. Our economy will be forever changed if small businesses do not survive this pandemic. We need our elected leaders to do their part and ensure this does not happen. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.


Chris Parisi, Co-Founder, RI Small Business Coalition


Posted in 


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The woman injured in a crash in Charlestown on Monday is the face of a well-known mural in Providence.  Coronavirus cases are increasing at Electric Boat facilities.  Asymptomatic students will be tested for COVID in Rhode Island schools.
>>Woman Injured In Charlestown Crash Is Subject Of Providence Mural
(Undated)  --  The woman who suffered serious injuries in a fiery crash in Charlestown on Monday is the subject of a large mural in Providence.  That's the mural called "Still Here" highlighting the Narragansett Indian Tribe, featuring Lynsea Montanari.  The mural is at 32 Custom Street in downtown Prov.  Montanari's condition at Rhode Island Hospital has reportedly stabilized.
>>CVS Among Future Coronavirus Vaccine Providers
(Undated)  --  CVS has announced this week it will be one of the providers of COVID-19 vaccinations.  CVS says the vaccine will be offered at ten-thousand locations nationwide.  That offering will come after government approval.
>>COVID-19 Cases Increasing At Electric Boat Facilities
(North Kingstown, RI)  --  Coronavirus cases are increasing among General Dynamics Electric Boat employees.  The Providence Journal reports the submarine builder counted one-hundred-seventy cases from October 25th to November 13th at its facilities in Rhode Island and Connecticut, representing over 40 percent of all its cases since the pandemic started.  According to the ProJo report, the numbers suggest the Quonset Point shipyard has become more of a hotspot compared to the other EB locations this month.
>>Brown University Going Remote For Rest Of Fall Semester
(Providence, RI)  --  Brown University is shifting to remote learning one week earlier than planned this semester.  The school says the decision was driven by COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island and at Brown.  Students cannot return to campus if they leave for Thanksgiving, according to the university.
>>Surveillance COVID-Testing Pilot Planned At RI Schools
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green [[ ahn-HELL-ick-uh in-FAHN-tay ]] announced a new coronavirus-testing pilot program for asymptomatic students on Tuesday.  Infante-Green said at a Council on Elementary and Secondary Education meeting the surveillance-testing will be tried out in Providence, Central Falls and Lincoln schools.  The education commissioner said she hoped to run the pilot as soon as next week, but the RI Department of Health says it might not happen that soon.
>>Governor's Coronavirus Briefing Schedule Has Changed
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo's weekly coronavirus press briefing will not be held today.  The press conferences are being moved to Thursdays.  Tomorrow's briefing will be held at 1 p.m.  Next week, the presser will be moved back to Wednesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
>>Man Punished Again For Importing Cigarettes To Avoid Taxes
(Providence, RI)  --  A Cranston man is being ordered to repay over 13-thousand dollars to the state for selling contraband cigarettes.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says the penalty was issued to Xi Chen after he imported the cigarettes from China to Rhode Island in an attempt to avoid paying state taxes.  The A.G.'s office says Chen was fined almost twenty-grand for a similar scheme in 2018.
Jim McCabe/Rick Schremp/djc           RI) CT)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
11-18-2020 01:10:11


Your Coronavirus Update - Today October 17, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Tues, Nov. 17, 2020

November 17, 2020/RINewsToday




Moderna became the 2nd company to announce a vaccine is in phase 3 development and has asked for emergency authorization. 20 million doses are expected for use in December, if all goes well. Moderna is based in Cambridge, MA.


Lonza Biologics in Portsmouth, NH has ramped up its production of the vaccine in anticipation of final approval for worldwide distribution. 70 dedicated employees are in place, with a plan to scale to 100 employees.


Vaccinations could begin in December, with prioritized groups, doing about 20-30 million – and following with an equal amount each month after.


ActivMed research clinic in Portsmouth said Monday they have 200 volunteers of the 1,500 it would like to enroll as part of a Phase 3 clinical trial of the vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University.


Trump administration has announced a relationship with CVS and Walgreens to deliver the vaccine to seniors in nursing homes as early as December.


Vaccine distributions may roll out like this, as suggested by the National Association of Medicine – Phase 1: High Risk – healthcare workers, 1st responders, those with underlying medical conditions, seniors in congregate settings. Phase 2 – food supply, teachers, over 65m critical care workers. Phase 3 – most young adults and children. Phase 4 – everyone else (expected in 2nd quarter of 2021).


Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University, involved in the Moderna development.


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown shut down bars, restaurants and other businesses and limited gatherings today.


The World Health Organization has recorded 65 cases of the coronavirus among staff based at its headquarters.


Casinos nationwide had regained 81% of their business, but that is expected to be impacted by this new phase of virus.


Vermont continues a strong effort to get hold of the spread of the virus, and will start testing K-12 teachers and staff this week as a strategy.


The Governor in North Dakota reversed his position of not issuing a mask mandate, and issued one, saying ‘the time is now’ – the mandate comes with a $1,000 fine.


FedEx and UPS are hiring a combined 170,000 workers – DHL is adding 2,300 – Amazon and Walmart have hired several hundred thousands since March.


Kohl’s and Target have doubled parking spaces for customers taking advantage of curbside pickup


Travelers from Massachusetts will no longer be exempted from Maine’s COVID-19 rules, requiring a 14-day quarantine or a negative coronavirus test taken within 72-hours after arrival.


Eating in a bubble? Restaurant tents or “bubbles” may not be an ideal solution. Dr. Baruch Fertel of the center for emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic says that although tents and bubbles provide extra space to allow for physical distancing, “in terms of ventilation and airflow, eating in these outdoors structures is similar to eating indoors. “You should use the same rules for dining inside apply to dining in outdoor bubbles. If you are eating with people you do not live with, inside or outside, your risk of spreading the virus is higher. Carry-out and delivery are the lowest-risk options for eating restaurant food. Eating indoors represents the highest risk.


California Governor Newsome has apologized for attending a large dinner party. Meanwhile, shuttering gyms, indoor dining and churches.


Philadelphia mayor Mayor Jim Kenney closed indoor restaurant dining, gyms, and museums, required office employees to work remotely and banned indoor gatherings through Jan. 1.


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 30-day stay-at-home advisory took effect early today, with the mayor asking residents only to leave their homes for work, school or essential outings for medical care or the grocery store. The city also limited gatherings to 10 people.


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person learning. The governor also closed restaurants to indoor dining, halted organized sports and restricted indoor and outdoor gatherings.


Pfizer will be shipping its vaccine in containers packed with dry ice that can last for two weeks or so if the dry ice is replenished.


Sweden has reduced gathering limit from 300 to 8. Their advice: “Don’t go to dinner; don’t go to the gym; cancel.”


Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the oldest sitting member of Congress, at 87, is recovering from COVID-19, saying he’s been shot, and had many other things happen to him in his long life, but nothing as bad as the virus.


General visitation at all Massachusetts Department of Correction facilities will be temporarily suspended as the DOC undergoes a second round of universal COVID-19 testing for inmates.The department’s 16 facilities went into a two-week period of modified operations starting Saturday, which will also give the DOC time to provide universal testing for staff.


Washington state has banned all social gatherings unless you quarantine for 14 days and have a negative test (this is seen to be unenforceable).


CT Gov. Lamont is in quarantine after a staff member tested positive.


Two members of the House in MA tested positive.


Denmark has had 9 days of protests over a new law that would define groups of people who must be vaccinated. Those who refuse can be detained and forcibly vaccinated.


Navajo Nation to reinstate reservation lockdown for three weeks amid coronavirus surge


Connecticut is reinstituting visitation restrictions in hospitals.


Mask mandates are now in 35 states.


Catholic protesters held scattered demonstrations around France on Sunday to demand that authorities relax virus lockdown measures to allow religious services


In Cohasset, MA, 40 young people held a party, one attendee tested positive – those who attended were told to quarantine.


WCVB-Ch. 5 in Boston reports: “Despite painstaking efforts to keep election sites across the country safe, some poll workers who came in contact with voters on Election Day have tested positive for the coronavirus”.


Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim tests positive for coronavirus


British PM Boris Johnson is quarantining – having been exposed to at least 2 people who were positive.


Cornell is urging students to stay on campus and not travel home – for those who must, exit testing is being provided.


Univ. of Arizona is offering testing but also training students in how to do more – how to create a safe bubble when they go home.


Oklahoma is shipping test kits to all colleges.


Biden team transition team is meeting with Pfizer in preparation for what their delivery/distribution system needs are.


Michigan has announced more restrictions as virus surges. No indoor dining at bars, restaurants, virtual learning, etc.


Westport, MA has closed all town buildings.


Multiple members of the Kelly Clarkson show have tested positive – they are being retested


COSTCO now requires all customers, employees to wear a mask – if medical conditions prohibit mask wearing, they must wear a face shield.


VOX says 40% of us will attend Thanksgiving with more than 10 people.


Florida added 10,000 new cases over the weekend


The pandemic has put more than vaccine development on super-drive. Retail patterns and office work patterns have changed dramatically, nearly overnight, and show no signs of returning.


“Boston coronavirus numbers continue to rise with workplaces, gatherings and carpools adding cases,”


More Colleges Plan to Hunker Down After Thanksgiving and go virtual


Mexico City will close all restaurants and bars for 2 weeks


Marriott Copley terminates half its staff, adding to the thousands of hotel workers unemployed around Boston


COVID-19 hospitalizations double at Baystate Health in western MA in past week


“Gov. Charlie Baker skipped an emergency meeting with governors from the Northeast this weekend as states clamp down in an effort to get a lid on the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus


Washington State Governor shutting down restaurants, churches, grocery stores, etc.


El Paso, Texas is using prisoners to move bodies and paying them $2 an hour.


The annual Massachusetts Beanpot hockey tournament will not be played in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic


A third MA House lawmaker in as many days has tested positive for COVID-19 and three more legislative employees contracted the virus, including two who were at the State House last week.


ZOOM is lifting 40 minute limit for ZOOM calls on Thanksgiving.


Over 1 million US children have now had COVID-19


Expedia is predicting tourism will “roar back” by summer, in light of all the new vaccine development.





Testing: anyone in RI can now sign up on the portal – no need to call your doctor first – extended hours at the Wickford Train Station


Central Falls limits bars and restaurants to take out only.


Barrington school officials plan to focus on quarantining classrooms or clusters rather than closing down entire schools.


RIDE will hold a virtual meeting tonight at 5:30pm


At least a half-dozen people have tested positive for the virus in the last two weeks or so at WJAR studios. The union has been encouraging management to “fog”, or disinfect, the studios – this waw finally done on Saturday.


The Providence Art Club has closed for the time being due to precautions with coronavirus..


Eleanor Slater Hospital – 12 staff members and 6 patients test positive. Testing of patients twice a week if they are in a unit where there has been a COVID case (staff or patient); surveillance testing of all staff at least once a week and twice during this outbreak if they are in buildings with COVID cases are in place.


Orlo Ave. School placed on distance learning due to Covid


No March Madness will be hosted in Providence this year


Two teacher unions called for a holiday pause in schools/teaching


Bristol County, MA has rolled back to Phase 1.


Hendricken High School switches to virtual.


Only doctor on Block Island tests positive for coronavirus and health center has closed for 2 days to clean – NP has stepped in to see patients.


Fall River restauranteurs can access 30 free heaters being provided by the government.


Emerald Square Mall has gone into receivership, looking for buyer


RI Superior Court has moved most proceedings and activities online.


RI Municipal Court has been closed for hearing, but in-person payments are open – check w/them for hours.


Brown University has complied with other Ivy League schools and canceled winter sports, including hockey and basketball.


Lt. Gov. McKee’s Weekly Small Business Virtual Town Hall Today w/ RI Society of CPAs, Electeds, & Business Owners – Facebook Live (watch, listen, & comment in real time) https://www.facebook.com/LGDanMcKee/ [facebook.com]


Ocean State Job Lot hiring 50 full-time and part-time warehouse associates at North Kingstown Distribution Center


Powerful Tools for Caregivers – the Department of Health and the Rhode Island Parent Information Network are starting a series of new, free virtual workshops to support Rhode Islanders who serve as caregivers for older adults and people with chronic conditions. These workshops, called Powerful Tools for Caregivers, feature six weeks of group sessions aimed at giving caretakers the tools they need to succeed in these challenging times in areas like stress management and communication. These courses are offered through weekly 90-minute virtual sessions and will help caretakers and their loved ones thrive during this difficult time. These free workshops are starting throughout the next week on November 17, November 21, November 24, and November 25. If you or someone you know is serving as a caregiver for an older adult and person with chronic conditions, encourage them to learn more or sign up by calling the Community Health Network at 401-432-7217 or visiting www.ripin.org/chn.


New companies in COVID-19 violation:


A&D Fitness 1145 Atwood Ave.,
Immediate Compliance Order 11/12/2020
Riccotti’s Subs 250 Cowesett Ave.,
West Warwick
Notice of Compliance with CO
Compliance Order

Broad Street Liquors 1032 Broad St.,
Compliance Order 11/9/2020
Woonsocket Motor Inn 333 Clinton St.,
Compliance Order 11/9/2020


RI Data:


Today’s Data – Nov. 16, 2020
Deaths: 5 (16 since Friday)
Tests: 6,195
Positives: 481 (over past 3 days: 2,394 total)
Percent positive: 7.8% – this is tentative
Hospitalized: 256
In ICU: 21 (of the 256)
On ventilators: 12 (of 21)



Governor’s address: Wed. at 1pm



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