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More cases of delta variant confirmed in Rhode Island

July 9, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Department of Health has identified three more cases of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, for a total of 12 in the state, authorities said.

The fast-spreading strain is blamed for a surge in new cases and hospitalizations in some parts of the country with lower vaccination rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines work against the variant, scientists say.

Gov. Daniel McKee on Thursday signed an executive order extending the state of emergency through Aug. 6.

The order that first went into effect March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was signed by former Gov. Gina Raimondo, was supposed to expire Thursday. McKee had extended it last month.

He has said the order is necessary to keep certain pandemic-related regulations in place to help businesses.

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The health department on Thursday reported a total of 24 new confirmed cases of the disease and a daily positivity rate of 0.3%. The state reported no additional virus-related deaths for the eighth consecutive day.

The number of people who have been fully vaccinated in the state is now more than 639,000.