Cape Cod sees virus surge; Gov urges patience with website

·5 min read

A look at coronavirus developments around New England:

MASSACHUSETTS

Officials on Cape Cod are pleading with the state for more help as the vacation destination deals with another surge of COVID-19 cases, including multiple cases of new variants that are considered more contagious.

Yarmouth Health Director Bruce Murphy told The Cape Cod Times on Saturday that the region needs fast tracked, emergency vaccination sites.

He said about 20 cases of a variant of the virus first identified in Brazil have been reported on the cape, and a variant first discovered in the United Kingdom has also been detected in the region.

Cape Cod officials say they're dealing with a third surge in virus cases since the pandemic emerged last year.

Seven communities— Barnstable, Yarmouth, Sandwich, Mashpee, Dennis, Harwich, and Brewster — are now considered by the state high risk for the virus.

School officials in Barnstable switched to fully remote learning late last week after more than 100 students and employees tested positive for coronavirus over the past two weeks.

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CONNECTICUT

Connecticut residents are expected to receive more information Monday as the state prepares for its biggest expansion yet this week amid questions over accessibility for people with medical conditions.

Gov. Ned Lamont was expected provide details Monday on the expansion that makes vaccinations open to all adults beginning Thursday.

The plan has received some criticism and raised questions about how adults with high-risk medical conditions will be prioritized when the expansion is based on age only. State officials have said the age-based approach will streamline the rollout.

State Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said previously the state is planning “dedicated clinics” for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are considered more at risk, the New Haven Register reported.

The state expects to receive an increase of first doses to 200,000 per week.

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MAINE

State health officials on Sunday reported nearly 200 additional cases but no new deaths from COVID-19.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 736 total deaths and nearly 50,000 total cases of the virus.

The state's seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks, to nearly 195 new cases per day on March 26, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Gov. Chris Sununu urged New Hampshire residents to exercise patience as the state's COVID-19 vaccine appointment website opens up to people ages 40 and over on Monday.

The Republican warned Sunday that during high volume times in the morning people may have to wait to book appointments through the Vaccine and Immunization Network Interface, or VINI.

A new online waiting room feature will give users an estimated wait time, he said. And people should only attempt to sign in using one device.

“We have made upgrades to the system which will allow more than 1,000 people per minute to register with plenty of appointments for everyone,” Sununu said in a statement.

The University of New Hampshire, meanwhile is pushing back its commencement ceremonies from May 15 to May 23.

University President James Dean said in a message Friday that the change allows the ceremony at Wildcat Stadium to be held on a weekend day, which graduates had requested.

Dean said graduates need to register to attend and will have to submit a proof of a negative COVID-19 test. No decision has been made yet on whether guests will be allowed to attend, he added.

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RHODE ISLAND

The state's congressional delegation is highlighting the important role community health centres will play in getting more vaccines to people in underserved communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed said he'll join Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline at the Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston on Monday.

The Democrats will discuss more than $33 million in federal funds that community health centres in the state are set to receive to expand vaccine access, conduct outreach and support essential workers. The money comes from the nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus bill recently signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The eight health centres receiving the money are located in Cranston, Pawtucket, Newport, Burrillville, Providence, Woonsocket, Johnston and Hopkinton.

The congressional members will also be joined by Jim Vincent, executive director of the NAACP Providence Branch, and other community leaders.

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VERMONT

A popular jazz fest in Vermont is returning in the latest sign that pandemic-related restrictions are easing.

The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival will be back on the streets in June with in-person performances.

Jay Wahl, executive director of The Flynn, told WPTZ-TV that the majority of the performances will be free. The event takes place June 4-13 and announcements are expected in the future on musical acts.

The annual festival was cancelled last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person events are also planned in the city for for Juneteenth and Burlington's annual July 3 celebration, said Mayor Miro Weinberger.

Meanwhile, state health officials on Sunday reported nearly 200 additional cases but no new deaths from COVID-19.

The Vermont Department of Health has reported 225 total deaths and nearly 19,000 total cases of the virus.

The state's seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks, to 347 new cases per day on March 26., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press