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Massachusetts announces winners of latest vaccine lottery

August 12, 2021 GMT
Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey speaks during a news conference at City Hall, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Boston. Janey announced a coronavirus vaccine mandate for city workers. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey speaks during a news conference at City Hall, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Boston. Janey announced a coronavirus vaccine mandate for city workers. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey speaks during a news conference at City Hall, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Boston. Janey announced a coronavirus vaccine mandate for city workers. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON (AP) — The latest winner of Massachusetts’ $1 million VaxMillions Giveaway lottery plans to use the money to help his children pay for college, the governor’s office said Thursday.

The winner of the $300,000 college scholarship grant will only be in the eighth grade in the new school year, but already has her sights set on a career in medicine, according to a statement.

Leo Costinos, of Attleboro, is a controller at a financial firm who got vaccinated to protect himself, his family and his community.

Lilla Eliet, a student at Coolidge Middle School in Reading, is already thinking about her college plans and is interested in science and technology. She received the vaccine as soon as she was eligible.

The lottery is for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Fully vaccinated residents ages 18 and older are eligible to win the $1 million cash prize. Residents between 12-17 years of age who are fully vaccinated can win the scholarship.

There are two more drawings for each prize.

Since the lottery program was announced on June 15, more than 270,000 residents have received a first dose of the vaccine. More than 4.4 million state residents are now fully vaccinated.

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BOSTON VACCINE MANDATE

Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said Thursday that all 18,000 city employees will be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing.

The policy, which will be phased in over the next two months, also applies to onsite contractors and volunteers, she said.

“Our purpose is to protect our employees and the public, and our work is rooted in public health guidance and based on data and science,” Janey said in a statement. “I am grateful for the continued collaboration with our municipal unions to ensure the safety of our entire workforce and the residents we serve.”

Employees will be able to upload their vaccination verification to a secure online portal starting Aug. 30.

If an employee cannot verify they are fully vaccinated, they are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days.

The vaccine requirement comes amid an increase in confirmed cases. The city was averaging more than 119 new cases per day as of Aug. 7, according to a post on the city’s Twitter account Thursday. That was up from 82 new cases per day on July 31.

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PRISON OUTBREAK

A maximum security prison in Massachusetts is battling a coronavirus outbreak among inmates, the state Department of Correction said.

The agency said Wednesday that 29 inmates at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley have tested positive for COVID-19 this month. In addition, one inmate at the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center in Plymouth has tested positive.

One prisoner is hospitalized with COVID-19.

The department reported zero inmate cases in all of July.

Only 57% of correctional staff have been vaccinated according to the department, a lower rate than the state as a whole. Nearly 80% of inmates have been fully vaccinated.

Elizabeth Matos, executive director of Massachusetts Prisoners’ Legal Services, said the state needs to mandate vaccinations for correctional staff as it has for staff at nursing homes.

The Department of Correction said it is taking measures to protect prisoners, including an education campaign to encourage vaccinations and requiring face coverings for people entering prisons.

“Every decision aligns with the latest state and federal public health guidance and focuses on mitigating the virus’ ability to enter and transmit within facilities,” the agency said in a statement. “The department takes immediate action to respond to any new cases and minimize transmission.”