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NH House member has virus; Connecticut readies for vaccine

December 13, 2020 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A high-ranking Republican in the New Hampshire House of Representatives said she contracted COVID-19, less than a week after the House speaker died of the disease.

Kimberly Rice, of Hudson, said on Facebook that she is “feeling horrible” and struggling to breathe but vowed to beat the virus. “This has been one of the toughest weeks I think I’ve ever had,” she wrote in a post on Saturday.

Rice was recently appointed to one of the leading positions in the House.

Her announcement follows the unexpected death of Dick Hinch, who was sworn in Dec. 2 as leader of the state’s 400-member, Republican-led Legislature. A medical examiner ruled that he died of COVID-19.

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More than a quarter of House members, most of them Democrats, skipped the swearing-in ceremony after learning the day before that several Republican lawmakers had tested positive for the virus after attending a Nov. 20 indoor meeting.

Rice did not say where she may have been exposed to the virus.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu extended New Hampshire’s state of emergency declaration for another three weeks on Friday, citing an increase in infections across the state in recent weeks.

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CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Gov. Net Lamont said Sunday that thousands of doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be delivered to hospitals in the state as soon as Monday.

“This is a significant moment for our state and our country,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. He added, “Here in Connecticut, we are incredibly proud to be able to say that the Pfizer team in Groton helped to develop this first vaccine to fight the coronavirus which we know will help to get our communities back to normal.”

Connecticut placed its first order for 31,200 doses of vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on Dec. 4, and Lamont said the state anticipates delivery to hospitals as soon as Monday. Long-term care facilities across Connecticut have agreements with either Walgreens or CVS for vaccine administration, and distribution is expected to begin Dec. 21.

Lamont said the science subcommittee of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group voted to recommend the vaccine for individuals over 16 after reviewing data from clinical trials.

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MASSACHUSETTS

Restaurants across Massachusetts face tighter restrictions and indoor theaters are again closed under reinstated public health measures that took effect Sunday as the state experiences a second surge in COVID-19 cases.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced the rollbacks Tuesday, saying the state “cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here.”

Baker’s move allows restaurants to remain open but requires diners to wear masks at all times except while eating or drinking. No more than six people are allowed at a table instead of 10, and there is a 90-minute limit for meals.

The maximum number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings has been reduced from 100 to 50, and anyone hosting outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people must provide advance notice to their local board of health.

Indoor theaters and performance venues are again closed, and outdoor venues will be limited to 25% capacity with no more than 50 people.

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RHODE ISLAND

Gov. Gina Raimondo said Sunday she has tested negative for COVID-19 a second time but is continuing to quarantine at home after the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health tested positive for the virus.

In a message on Twitter, Raimondo thanked those who reached out to wish her well. “I tested negative again today. I am fortunate to be feeling great and will continue working from home during my self-quarantine,” the Democrat wrote.

Raimondo’s office announced Saturday that Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott tested positive but was not showing symptoms. She and Raimondo both attended the state’s weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday.

Raimondo also tested negative Saturday and will continue to be tested throughout her seven-day quarantine, according to her spokesman, Josh Block.

Alexander-Scott is the second member of Raimondo’s cabinet to test positive. Director of Administration Brett Smiley tested positive Thursday.