Your Coronavirus Update – today – Dec. 4, 2020
Photo: Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton said they will take the COVID-19 vaccine shot when it is their time and do it publicly as a way to encourage the public to take it and that it is safe.
Rhode Island and Vicinity
The Boston Globe reports that Mayor Grebien of Pawtucket said that “123 people were tested at one of Pawtucket’s testing sites on Tuesday, and a whopping 26 percent of them tested positive”. Grebien is now back to work, having recovered from his coronavirus infection. His wife is recovering as well.
According to the Newport Daily News, “Newport Hospital is not experiencing the crisis capacity issues other hospitals are facing. I think people in this area are being careful, are listening to precautions and following the rules. When patients are sick, they are able to stay at home. The number of patients in our ICU and in critical care has been very small.” The hospital has had, on average, 10 COVID patients on a daily basis in recent weeks, so a third of COVID capacity or about 10% of overall hospital capacity.” Their Surge I plan calls for use of other hospital areas, to accommodate 20 to 30 more at COVID capacity. Higher surge capacity could be accommodated by using other areas of the hospital without using field hospitals.
The Rhode Community Food Bank saw its demand for food increase by 26%.
Christmas Tree retailers are all reporting a massive boom in business as people are decorating earlier and spending more on holiday decorations.
Commerce Corporation announced 45 new grants worth $3 million to RI arts and hospitality-related businesses and organizations to help them deal with COVID19 losses.
3 ACI prisoners are in the hospital
RI DBR Compliance Orders – Maxx Fitness Clubzz – Lincoln & Warren facilities
Care New England is looking for donations of new or used books, puzzle books, ipads, tablets, Christmas cards, etc. for patients at the field hospital.
Only $3.012 million of the $13.5 million in federal rental assistance has been used. $9 million remains but must be used by Dec. 31 deadline to spend CARES Act funds.
Edge Fitness on Cranston/Warwick line has moved his equipment into his parking lot where they are now offering outdoor training.
Narragansett Cafe in Jamestown is closed and up for sale.
Gallery Z has closed its retail location and moves to online and other venue ideas
25% of the East Greenwich Fire Department firefighters who had tested positive were actually negative.
Today’s Data: Dec. 3, 2020
Deaths: 9 (Deaths in-hospital: 3)
Total tests: 16,557
Total positives: 1,330
Percent positive: 8%
Hospitalized: 409 (New admissions: 44; discharges: 53)
9 Deaths = 1 in 50s, 1 in 60s, 2 in 70s, 4 in 80s, 1 in 90s
Data is not good – we should take action, not panic. Solution is within our control – we have the power. If we do all the preventive measures, the data will turn around.
Some good news that people are following the rules – enforcement unit had no calls about large gatherings.
700 business inspections – 99% were observing rules. 96% good social distancing. Nearly 100% complying with capacity limits.
Tracking mobility data – traffic data – shows significant and steady decline since last Wed. Traffic in RI 10% less. Decrease has continued even more.
Don’t know if we can lift pause at end of 2 weeks. Would like to but data will tell us if we can.
Biggest concern is overwhelming our hospital system. Both field hospitals are open. 7 in Cranston and 20 in Providence site – by the end of the week, probably 40-50. TY to Lifespan and Care New England. Quality of field hospitals is as good as it gets. Capacity is 900 beds. But we do not have the staff to staff them. Hard to get more staff in because every state is looking to recruit staff. Calling on everyone who can help out who is a healthcare professional, to help out. Retirees, students…we can issue temporary licenses. “Asking you to suit up and help us out.” Go to: skillsforRI.com or go to lifespan.org or carenewengland.org websites. In the past when we issued a call within a day or two we’ve had hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers who are not medical people can go to RIResponse.org.
Testing – changes we made will make testing quicker and more accessible. On Monday, we opened a BinaxNow easy testing center. 500 a day capacity. By Monday we will be up to 2500 a day. McCoy is up 1/3 capacity. More sites for those who are symptomatic. We are going to exceed our goal of testing.
Central Falls pilot project going well – bringing the testing TO the community.
Vaccines – a lot of good news. Two companies – Pfizer and Moderna – on their way to approval of vaccine that is 95% effective. Miraculously effective. 3 clinical trials, 70,000 tested, FDA approval – then will come here and to other states. We have a plan to get the vaccine out to people. Both vaccines require 2 doses to be effective – 3-4 weeks apart. By mid-December we will have some vaccine in RI – very limited – ramping up over a period of weeks/months. What I think we can expect to get 10K Pfizer vaccine in next few weeks – 19K of Moderna the week after that. Prioritizing where they will be going – healthcare workers, first responders, etc. Publicly available info on this at: Hope is on the way. Vaccine is highly effective and highly safe. But it will start with a trickle.
By the time we get to summer, we should have a fantastic one to look forward to. Feel confident that we’re going to be back on track.
(Spoke to rumor about her potential to go to DC – “I am not going to be Pres. Biden’s nominee”)
Watching geographic areas of outbreak. We are now seeing case increases throughout the entire state, not just in dense areas. It no longer matters where you live in RI. Early on we were focused on nursing homes, now we are seeing deaths of people not in congregate settings.
Testing – please take advantage of asymptomatic testing. Dr. Scott demonstrated a BiNex self-swab test, showing the steps and pieces of the test.
Monoclonal antibody therapeutic coming soon to RI. It is an infusion for those who are sick (see CVS story today in RINewsToday).
Q: Contact tracing –
A: Widespread community transmission. Congregate settings can be the result of community spread – not originating there.
Q: How do we stand next to our neighboring states on contact tracing?
A: We’ve reduced the backlog, better technology, encouraging patients to tell their contacts, etc. – shared responsibility is helpful.
Q: Is state going to fine gyms and restaurants?
A: (Stefan Pryor) – We have a system to progressively leaning in to companies that are either unknowingly or intentionally violating protocols. Most commonly businesses didn’t know what they should be doing. After repeated non-compliance, there are legal remedies.
Q: Ex-parte hearing with Maxx Fitness right now? How far is the state willing to go?
A: We have a set of rules, then are sensible, we compensate for revenue lost.
Q: If leader of free world asks you to step up, don’t you feel some obligation to step up?
A: I feel a massive obligation to people of RI – I have nothing more to say about this.
Q: Funerals? What about outdoor funerals? The response is laughable to restrict this.
A: These stories are truly heartbreaking, and my inbox is full of cases like this. There are some exceptions that can be made.
Q: 720 members of wedding groups and others are demonstrating- will you get together with them?
A: Yes, I hve a program to help them.
Q: Sigificant outbreak at ACI and Medical Director has resigned.
A: Yes, 600 cases at maximum. Serious situation. We’re doing everything we know how to do. That facility was not built with good public health situations in mind. Difficult environment to control outbreak. We are “all over it” – every inmate is testing, full medical evaluation if you get sick, 2 or 3 in the hospital. Dr. Clark resigned. She’s fantastic – sad to see her go. Early release: I don’t have power to do that. For a few dozen people we did that early on. For non-violent criminals – this situation is in maximum security – they are not appropriate for release of any kind.
Q: Plan for ACI vaccines?
A: Dr. Scott – they are considered a high risk population, so they will get it in order.
Q: What is being done differently to help nursing homes as we begin to uptick?
A: Fatality rate is significantly less. We are aggressive with cyclical testing.
Reinitiating weekly regular cyclical testing a well. Staff is more familiar, better treatments.
Q: Concerns about mental health issues in this lockdown?
A: Always has been a priority. We are leveraging our HHS agencies; and other agencies to continue to build a response to this problem.
Cases in RI, by community
National and International
Presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush have all agreed to publicly take the vaccine, to put the public’s concern at ease.
Dr. Fauci says he will be staying on at NIH after talking with Biden “landing team”.
Saying, “If we saw an end in sight to the pandemic, we might have a different strategy. But we don’t see that at this moment.” Warner Bros. executives announced all new films will be streamed on HBO at the same time they are released to theaters. HBO will run them for 30 days.
The Mayor of Austin, Texas recorded a video encouraging people to stay at home – until it was revealed that the video was shot in Cabo San Lucas, in Mexico, after his daughter’s wedding. This incident can be added to 4 or 5 others from Governors/Mayors who have done mixed messages like this.
Walmart says for the fourth time during the pandemic it will be giving its 1.5 million U.S. part-time and full-time employees additional cash bonuses.
The San Francisco 49ers have relocated to Arizona for three weeks after strict new COVID-19 protocols in their home county prohibited contact sports and practices
The UN Chief said it is foolish to think that a vaccine can undue the economic devastation of the pandemic.
IBM is reporting cyberattacks on vaccine delivery processes.
Italy has told its residents to plan on celebrating Christmas in their own homes.
Carnival Cruises are canceled through at least February.
Fairhaven, MA Town Hall closed for deep cleaning after a staff member tested positive.
Homeland Security warns hackers not to disrupt the vaccine chain – there have been attempts noted all along the chain, including in the storage and shipment lines.
CVS has been chosen by HHS to administer therapeutic infusions in patient’s home and in long term care facilities.