CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Coronavirus developments across New England:
Elderly Massachusetts residents who can’t leave their homes are struggling to get vaccinated, and disability advocates say the state isn’t doing enough to address the problem.
“We have been told that the state is planning to work with home health agencies to administer vaccinations to people who are stuck in their homes,” Colin Killick, executive director of Disability Policy Consortium, told The Boston Globe.“What we’ve heard (from the state) is short on details, and it’s alarming at this point.”
Dr. Asif Merchant, a geriatrician who serves on Gov. Charlie Baker’s Vaccine Advisory Group, said he first raised concerns about vaccinating homebound residents to state health officials in November.
“They have no mechanism set up, and they are finally talking about it now, and they should have been talking about it in November,” Merchant said.
A Baker administration spokeswoman said getting vaccines to residents across Massachusetts is not a “one-size-fits-all” endeavor, so the state is working with communities, health insurance companies, and other groups to set up transportation to sites for those who can get out, as well as home delivery systems for those who can’t.
More than 42,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, including 150 cases announced Monday. No new deaths were reported, leaving the statewide death toll at 649.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Maine has decreased over the past two weeks, going from about 390 per day on Jan. 31 to nearly 190 per day on Sunday.
New Hampshire’s state-run COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing clinics will be closed Tuesday because of a storm that was expected to begin as snow Monday night before changing to sleet and freezing rain. State officials were reaching out by phone Monday to reschedule everyone for appointments later in the week.
More than 70,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including nearly 260 cases announced Monday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 1,135.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has decreased over the past two weeks, going from 480 new cases per day on Jan. 31 to more than 340 new cases per day on Sunday.
The Rhode Island House of Representatives COVID-19 vaccine task force is meeting this week to get an update on the state’s vaccine distribution process from top health officials.
State Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Dr. Philip Chan, Consultant Medical Director with the department, and Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health are scheduled to speak at the meeting, which is set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. It will be livestreamed and aired on Capitol Television. No public testimony will be accepted.
The state’s vaccine rollout has come under fire from some, but officials say the rollout is hampered only because of a limited supply. Two mass vaccination sites are scheduled to open Thursday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and the former Citizens Bank headquarters in Cranston, which combined can administer about 1,200 shots per day at first.
Vermonters aged 70 and older can start registering Tuesday for appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the state’s third phase of vaccine distribution.
Appointments can be made starting at 8:15 a.m. on the Health Department’s website, which is encouraged, or by calling 855-722-7878.
It’s the smallest age group that the state has identified for priority vaccinations with approximately 33,200 Vermonters, said Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.
“We should be able to register and schedule and ultimately vaccinate this age group relatively quickly,” he said Friday during the governor’s twice-weekly virus briefing.
Gov. Phil Scott said he knows many residents are wondering why other states have opened the vaccine to broader populations than Vermont has. Some neighboring states have opened eligibility to people aged 65 and older and in certain job categories, Scott said.
“But again, just saying people are eligible doesn’t mean they actually have the doses to cover them,” he said.
More than 270,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Connecticut, including more than 2,900 cases reported Monday that included the weekend’s totals. Sixty-six additional deaths were announced, bringing the total to 7,447.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has decreased over the past two weeks, going from about 1,745 new cases per day on Jan. 31 to almost 1,140 new cases per day on Sunday.