PROVIDEN – Dozens of vaccinated health care workers get a free trip to the Super Bowl on Sunday, with permission from the New England Patriots and the Kraft family.
The 76 workers come from the six New England states and work in a variety of health care jobs that put them at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They fly to Tampa on a Patriots team plane on Sundays to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All travel expenses, including two nights of hotel lodging, were borne by Patriots and team owner Robert Kraft and his family, who said they wanted to show their appreciation for the toughness and sacrifice shown by health workers during the pandemic.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker praised Sunday health workers at Logan Airport before they took off.
“To be honest when you think about some of those great Patriot slogans – ‘do your job,’ ‘no day off’ – perhaps no group during this pandemic has shown it more day after day than our health care workers,” said Baker. .
Here’s a glimpse at the development of other coronaviruses throughout New England:
The cold weather prompted Rhode Island to close all state-run COVID-19 testing facilities on Sunday.
The test site is expected to reopen on Monday. State officials said people who had scheduled tests on Sunday would not need to make new appointments but had to show up at the scheduled test site when it reopened.
Rhode Island’s seven-day average of new cases continued to decline, from 748 on January 23 to 393 on Saturday. No new data were announced on Sunday.
Health officials’ warnings to Connecticut residents to avoid gathering in groups outside their own homes for the Super Bowl Sunday night included news that four more cases of the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus had been detected in the state.
Connecticut now has 20 confirmed cases of B117, a mutation that was first reported in the UK and thought to be easier to transmit.
“Connecticut’s figures are pointing in the right direction,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford in a statement. “We don’t want the spike in cases we see after the holidays, so enjoy playing with only members of your household. Vaccines are administered at a steady rate so that if we can all minimize the spread a little longer, we will be in a much safer and healthier place in the near future. “
The B117 variant has been found in more than 30 states. Officials in Germany said last week that it now accounts for 6% of cases there.
The other two variants, which come from South Africa and Brazil, have not yet been reported in Connecticut, the New Haven Register reported.
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen reintroduced a bill to provide emergency assistance to rural communities to improve water systems after the pandemic created major budget shortfalls.
More than 80% of small water systems in New Hampshire have reported a decline in income since the pandemic, according to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. That hinders their ability to maintain and repair water system equipment and infrastructure.
The Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act will provide $ 1 billion in emergency grants, low and zero interest loans, and loan forgiveness for struggling rural and small wastewater and water systems across the country.
“With local governments struggling under the economic burden of COVID, we have seen massive budget shortages threatening their ability to maintain critical infrastructure such as water systems,” Shaheen said in a statement on Friday.
Shaheen, a Democrat, reintroduced the bill with US Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina. A similar bill is pending in the US House of Representatives.
New Hampshire’s seven-day average for new cases has decreased over the past two weeks from 804 on January 23 to around 386 on Saturday. An additional eight deaths were announced on Saturday, bringing the state total to 1,098.
Vermont is continuing to search for potential variants of the coronavirus through genetic sequencing of specimens taken from different parts of the state, said Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine.
He said on Friday that the state expects its first results early this coming week.
The variant first identified in Britain has now been detected in 33 states and is expected to emerge in Vermont, he said.
“It’s normal for the virus to mutate but some of the recently discovered variants may require us to strengthen our preventive measures,” said Levine.
Vermont reported nearly 130 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, for a statewide total since the pandemic started of 12,900. One additional death was reported, bringing the state total to 183.
Vermont’s seven-day average of new cases has fallen slightly in the past two weeks, from about 142 on January 23 to just under 134 on Saturday.
Nearly 150,000 Maine residents have now received the initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
That’s according to the latest figures from the state announced Sunday. On top of at least 140,180 people who have received the first injection, nearly 51,630 others in Maine have received the second dose.
Maine’s seven-day average for new cases fell to about 270 on Saturday, down from more than 480 on January 23.
On Sunday, the Maine Centers for Disease Control reported one additional death from COVID-19, bringing the total in the state to 635.