We’ll be decreasing our frequent “Your Coronavirus Updates” to once a week, the day after the Governor’s press conference.
RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY
No official response to the CDC recommendation to eliminate mask wearing among all those fully vaccinated, indoors and outdoors. Several local businesses are being cautious and maintaining mask wearing for now.
RI marked its 1 millionth vaccine and the 100,000 vaccine given at the Dunk this week.
Rhythm & Roots Festival will be held this Labor Day weekend.
In Connecticut, no masks after May 19th. Business restrictions will also end.
Trinity Repertory Company’s stage in November. The theater group announced Wednesday that five performances, including two new shows this fall.
Hartford nursing home workers continue to struggle with severe staffing shortages, a lack of protective equipment and low pay amid the pandemic – the Gov. of CT has said he would call out the National Guard if necessary.
Maine is offering free fishing licenses, baseball tickets and L.L. Bean gift cards to encourage more residents to get vaccinated before the end of May.
71% of adult Connecticut residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins can now welcome more fans. Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, which had been limited to 12% capacity, are allowed to increase capacity to 25%.
The restaurant at the Venus de Milo will reopen on Memorial Day weekend, and the banquet facilities will reopen later this year.
Fresco On The Hill returns to Providence’s Federal Hill beginning Friday, May 14.
A recent COVID-19 outbreak at the Sullivan County, New Hampshire nursing home has led some officials to consider compensation changes and mandatory vaccinations for staff. The outbreak, which started last month, has affected staff and residents, including some who were fully vaccinated.
A new vaccination hub of data has been created by the RIDOH. The CDC has made data available to states on the doses administered to their residents elsewhere, meaning that Rhode Island has received data about doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to Rhode Islanders in other states. The federal government has also provided us with data on doses administered at federal facilities in Rhode Island, such as the VA. 33,000 doses to people who either work in Rhode Island or go to school in Rhode Island, but reside in another state. Access detailed data, here: https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-vaccine-data-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com/
RI has identified its first case of the Indian coronavirus variant B.1.61 in the state.
Johnson and Wales University will require students to get a COVID-19 vaccine to return to campus in the fall.
RI Comic Con is set for Nov. 5-7 at Dunkin’ Donuts Center & RI Convention Center
In New Hampshire, state officials expect spending on summer tourism to rebound to near 2019 levels after visitation dropped 15% last summer amid the pandemic.
Vernon, Vermont is planning to hold its annual town meeting outdoors. In addition to masking and social distancing, participants will answer health-related questions upon checking in May 23.
The Newport Folk Festival will take place this year across two main stages at Fort Adams and will be configured as two, three-day events set for July 23-25 and July 26-28. This is being done because there will be a 50% reduction in capacity due to health safety concerns caused by the COVID pandemic.
Mayor Grebien announced that City Hall will be opening to the public Monday through Thursday without the need to schedule an appointment for any department starting on May 17th.
Calamari Festival is on – September 11th, 2021
Fall River has finally emerged from the COVID red zone.
Almost all Senior Centers are expected to open in the next 2 weeks for congregant meals. More details on what will be required to resume in-person participation coming, most likely that you will be required to show proof of receiving your COVID-19 shots and may be required to wear a mask.
The Providence Center’s Anchor Recovery Community Center held a vaccination clinic. Organizers are hoping that the event will draw people who are in recovery from substance or alcohol abuse
All seven mass COVID-19 vaccination sites in the state of Massachusetts are now offering walk-in vaccinations
The annual RI Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival in Pawtucket is being postponed for the second year because of COVID concerns, the organizers have announced.
Women and minorities can apply for the first 3 weeks of the Restaurant Relief Fund – before non-minority/male applicants can submit, if funds are available.
PPAC has announced that every employee – full time and part time – will be fully vaccinated when they open in the fall.
Masks are no longer mandatory at the New Hampshire State House, which remains closed to everyone but lawmakers and staff,
In Portland, Maine, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units has reached alarming levels despite progress vaccinating residents.
Data: Thursday, May 13th (past data for the week will reside on our Facebook page daily)
Governor’s Update – May 13, 2021:
RI administered its 1 millionth COVID vaccine dose.
Visits made to Scituate HS, we’ll be at the Dunk for the 100,000th shot recognition, teaming up for a Dunkin’ Donuts promotion later in May.
Hospitalizations are down. 12-15 year olds now eligible and appointments being made. Parental consent required for this age group. VaccinateRI.org
Out of state sports tournaments – safely reopening starting Monday
No long residency requirement to get vaccinated in RI. Those vactioning or visiting here can be vaccinated as of Monday.
MA and CT residents can get vaccinated here.
RI DEM looking for lifeguards and seasonal employees – great summer jobs. HS & college students – RIParks.com/employment
Beach passes – we expect to be at 100% parking capacity – RIParks.com/beach-pass
Governor’s Press Conference – 5-13-2021
Unemployment issue – We are not going to remove the $300 extra benefit. $20Million/week coming into Rhode Island. We will have a state plan to encourage people to go back to work – our plan will maximize family income – the $300 a week is being spent on bills, expenses in Rhode Island. Imagine 50,000 people out of work with no extra benefits – all to put 10,000 back to work – that would be irresponsible. Need to make sure our small biz are fully staffed. To stay on unemployment you have to show you are looking for work.
Nightclub owners – they can make vaccination a criteria to attend. 100% open. If not, 50% open.
RI 2030 community conversation tonight at 7pm on Facebook – Housing – what does RI look like by 2030 in regards to housing?
2nd to last COVID19 press conference at VETS – going back to the state house. No event next week – one more and then back.
Weekly positive 1.5% – very stable place – not by accident – based on vaccinations and testing and treatment
Summer Camps – Owners need to register their summer programs at: reopeningRI.com.
Matthew Weldon – RIDLT
Requirement to seek work while unemployed was suspended. Now, it’s safe to go back. On May 23rd, we will need to look for work again. Claimants will have to apply for 3 jobs each week or look for new training, attend virtual career fairs, and most importantly keep a record of what they are doing. Do not provide that info to DLT – you will have to provide it if we audit claims to make sure people are looking for work. Federal programs may end Sept. 4th – if you don’t have jobs by then you won’t have benefits. Same for gig economy workers. If you own your own businesses, they should apply at worksearch as if it’s work development – customer base, etc. If you can’t provide documentation you must prove what you are doing. You can now earn up to 150% and can keep 50% of benefit rate.
We are calling those 75+ and have already vaccinated 95 Rhode Islanders.
Schools – we’re working with all districts to make sure vaccination events occur. 59 clinics for those 16+ were held – now we have more clinics planned. Still doing no appt times at Dunk, Sockanosset or other sites. National Guard shout-out for working so hard and with such grace to people.
Other sites – employee groups, recovery programs, airport, etc.
12-15 year olds: Reviewed how study was done and why she is recommending it to others. She discussed long term complications of the virus and the mental health concerns of children in isolation.
Dr. Ohnmact – pediatrician:
One of the most important things I do is vaccinate. We now have vaccines available and it’s a lifesaving thing. Most young pediatricians won’t see children die like he did at the beginning of his career. Dr. O was an original Moderna vaccine volunteer – he has “sky-high” antibodies. Side-effects of vaccines in adolescents are very minimal – swollen arm, pain in arm, that’s about it. Very safe vaccines. Hopefully we can vaccinate younger children soon.
Q: CDC will ease restrictions on indoor masks for vaccinated – also eliminate it outdoors.
A: Just coming across our notifications.
Q: Nightclub – will people have to show a vaccination card?
A: Still determining this.
Q: Commitment classrooms be fully open in Sept?
A: Yes, our kids are highest priority.
Q: Lots of independent contractors, etc. – how should they report job hunting?
A: Gig workers – should be engaging with platforms they did before. Ride-sharing should re-engage. They should be engaging in traditional job growth activities. Applying for grants, etc.
Q: Are 12-15 year old parents eager to get their kids vaccinated?
A: They do like reassurance that this is a good idea.
Q: Experience rating for low utilization of unemployment fund by employers – and tax increase rate – should they be hit with increases?
A: 75% is funded by federal government – we have not borrowed. Not charged to employers yet. Up about $70 per employee for every employer. Looking into it.
Q: How many inspectors with RIDLT employ to look into this?
A: Adjudicators – staffing was doubled and then doubled again – we will shift resources.
Q: Will state house be open to the public in 2 weeks?
A: Decision has not been made yet.
Q: Ohio governor is offering 1 million lottery prizes for vaccination – what about RI?
A: We don’t have a million dollars. We’re having success with what we’re doing now. Thank people now for stepping up. We have food and use our creativity as best we can.
Q: Is RI asking for less vaccine yet?
A: Not at that point yet. Supply has met demand. We have additional flexibility now. We can do small clinics now.
Q: Is more vaccine supply sitting on the shelves now?
A: Yes, it’s stored properly – good for months – no expiration concerns
Today’s Data – May 13, 2021
Deaths: 2 – Tests – 11,896 – Positives – 149 – Percent positive – 1.3%
Hospitalized – 96 – In ICU – 22 – Ventilated – 15
New Admissions – 11 – New Discharges – 16 – Vaccinated – 599,609 – Both shots – 478,884
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
CDC is easing mask wearing – anyone vaccinated no longer need to wear their mask in or outdoors and no need for social distancing.
Dr. Jha said: “This is real,” Jha tweeted. “And its correct[.] And its good[.] The science on this is pretty clear. Vaccinated people rarely get sick and don’t do much transmitting.” Dr. Jha tweeted: “Since we don’t know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, reasonable to keep indoor mask mandates for a few more weeks,” Jha tweeted. “Allows people to finish getting vaccinated[.] And infection numbers to drop further[.] Agree that vaccinated folks are safe. Policy response should follow in weeks ahead.”
Dr. Eleanor J. Murray, Boston Univ: “Feel like I have whiplash from how quickly certain people switched from pushing hard for official recognition of airborne covid to pushing hard for removal of mask mandates…Like, can we please take a breath & make sure our indoor workplace safety regulations are up to standard in light of covid? Because they are not.”
99% of hospital admissions for Covid-19 were among people who were not fully vaccinated, preliminary data from Cleveland Clinic shows.
Demand is falling as the country is at about 58% vaccinated. We need to move to 78% to avoid any more surges.
Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and South Carolina will pull out of the national unemployment program.
More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin in late July, to be canceled. Among concerns: Only 1% of the country’s 126 million people have been fully vaccinated. Officials blame a lack of supplies imported from Europe, but staff shortages have been a problem. About 7.6 million doses, or more than half of the doses delivered, remain unused in freezers.
The New Mexico Republican Party is moving its three-day convention this weekend to Amarillo, Texas, citing concerns over New Mexico’s restrictions.
Pfizer is moving forward with full approval which will allow it to market direct to physicians.
People who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine will be seated separately from those who have in two major baseball stadiums in New York, officials announced this week. The segregation will be enforced at Fans at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, home to Major League Baseball’s New York Mets and New York Yankees.
Raimondo said her team was “monitoring” whether the extra unemployment relief was negatively affecting the job market, but at this point, “there’s nothing in the data which would suggest that that’s the reason people are out of work.”
Vaccine hesitancy: Recently, a national poll found that nearly half of men who identified as Republican were hesitant to get COVID vaccines. This may be even more pronounced in rural areas. And in polls of Black communities, 45 percent of Black men have expressed that they want to “wait and see” before they get the vaccine. Meanwhile, recent data suggest that vaccine hesitancy in the military, which is predominantly male, is quite high, with as much as 40 percent refusing vaccination in some military branches. (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/05/the-disparity-no-one-talks-about-covid-vaccines-and-men.html)
Chipolte increases pay to average $15 an hour to attract workers.
Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to vaccination sites from May 24 until July 4.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments now available for adolescents ages 12 to 15 at select CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide
Canadians fly south for shot as U.S. demand falls
Moderna lifts COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast to $19.2 billion
First 50 freezers for COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Venezuela
The Atlanta Braves gave COVID-19 vaccinations at their stadium this weekend – they are also at nearly 100% capacity at their games.
Transplant patients who take immune-suppressant medications to prohibit organ rejection showed a less than optimal antibody reaction from the first vaccine, with nearly ½ not showing the desired reaction after the second vaccine. Doctors are recommending vaccination anyway, while researchers work on a better solution for transplant patients taking rejection medications.
COVID-19 vaccines in primary care could reduce hesitancy
COVID has reached Everest base camp.
71 bodies have been recovered that were floating on the Ganges River in India
Schools open for 1 day in San Francisco so they can qualify for $12M of state funding
The Secret Service has confiscated and returned to states about $2 billion in stolen Covid unemployment relief funds.
Offering vaccines going forward at primary care practices could help to reduce hesitancy.
A study of more than 78,000 hospitalized COVID patients in Great Britain found that use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen was not associated with higher mortality or increased disease severity.
Flu: A year full of social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and staying at home to prevent coronavirus spread rendered the 2020-2021 influenza season practically nonexistent.
Dr. Susannah Hills speaking on CBSN on kids getting vaccinated: “I think this is a fantastic idea. I don’t want to have to put another surgical breathing tube in another child with this disease … This is a really important, meaningful step forward in getting everybody back … to normal life”.
Demand for vacation home purchases and rentals soar, even as people plan to return to offices and work.
A COVID-19 vaccination center has been set up on the periphery of Romania’s Bran Castle, which is purported to be the inspiration behind Dracula’s home in Bram Stoker’s 19th-century gothic novel “Dracula.”.
Only 1 in 10 new truck driver jobs are being filled.
State University of New York and the City University of New York will require Covid-19 vaccinations for students returning this fall.
Anyone who gets a shot at one of six NY subway stations from Wednesday through Sunday will receive a free seven-day MetroCard,
The Long Island Railroad and Metro-North are also offering vaccines at stations in Ossining and Hempstead, in exchange for two free one-way trips.
The number of variant cases of the coronavirus is rising in Southwest Florida, heightening concern among some medical officials about a summer spike.
America’s commercial casinos matched their best quarter ever in the first three months of this year, as customers continued returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic and internet and sports betting money helped boost revenue numbers.
A webinar will be held to address FAQs about COVID-19 Vaccines for people with disabilities. It will be held on Wed, May 26th, 3-4pm – more info, here: Registration Link [eventbrite.com]