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COVID-19 cases rise in Massachusetts; Maine football upended

September 4, 2021 GMT

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts increased by more than 1,700 on Friday while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths rose by 10.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,909 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 714,600.

There were more than 600 people reported hospitalized Friday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 160 in intensive care units.

The average age of those who have died from COVID-19 was 75.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

More than 4.5 million people in Massachusetts have been fully immunized against COVID-19.

In other pandemic-related news in the region:

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RHODE ISLAND

The Community College of Rhode Island teamed with the state Department of Health on Saturday to sponsor two drive-through vaccination clinics.

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Both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were available. The events were held at the Lincoln and Warwick campuses.

While CCRI requires all full and part-time students who will be attending class in person to be vaccinated, the clinics were open to everyone.

Nicole Salvadore, the vaccine site manager at the CCRI campus in Warwick, told WPRI-TV that she has seen more students getting the vaccine.

“I have seen it definitely increased. We still get a mix in population, however, there are more youngsters that are going back to school,” she said.

Classes began at CCRI on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

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MAINE

COVID-19 and a shortage of referees is scrambling the start of Maine’s high school football season.

Longtime Maine high school officials tell WGME there may be more Saturday afternoon and evening games this season unless more referees can be found.

The shortage comes as five high school football games scheduled this week have been canceled because of COVID-19 tests and related exposures,

While the majority of the high school football, soccer, field hockey, cross country and golf are still set to be played as scheduled, officials said teams need to vaccinate players and institute pool testing to ensure games are played, officials said.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire announced 444 cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

There has been an average of 344 cases per day over the most recent seven-day period: August 28 through September 3. Nearly 130 individuals remain hospitalized.

That’s a 21% increase over the previous seven-day period.

There have been 1,426 deaths in New Hampshire attributed to the disease.

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More than 54 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

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VERMONT

Two more Vermont groups are joining the investigation into the cause of the extended wait time for medical appointments, said Vermont Human Services Secretary Mike Smith.

The Green Mountain Care Board, which overseas health care in Vermont, and the Department of Financial Regulation will be joining the agency’s investigation into the cause of lengthy wait times for medical appointments.

“We are not trying to punish organizations,” Smith said in a statement. “We really do want to understand the challenges across the system and help identify ways to remove the barriers.”

Green Mountain Care Board Chair Kevin Mullin said that ensuring access to care is a critical component of the success of the health care system.

“The data we are seeing and the anecdotes we are hearing have generated great concern by Board members,” Mullin said. “We welcome the opportunity to work with our state colleagues and our health care providers to quantify the problem and to identify solutions.”

The investigation will be coordinated by Ena Backus, Vermont’s director of Health Care Reform.

The investigation comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.