UNH steps up virus regulations; Vermont marathon scaled back
BOSTON (AP) — A look at coronavirus-related developments around New England:
Teenagers in some of the state’s hardest hit communities in the coronavirus pandemic are among the least vaccinated.
The Boston Globe reports that an analysis by Alan Geller, a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health, found that nearly all of the 42 cities and towns with the state’s highest infection rates have teen vaccination rates far lower than the state average for teens.
In New Bedford, Holyoke and Springfield, for example, less than 40% of 12 to 15-year-olds received their first COVID-19 shot by Sept. 2. In Boston, less than half of teens aged 16 to 19 received at least one dose.
Geller said the numbers suggest it will be challenging to vaccinate even younger children, who are not yet authorized to receive the shots.
“Unfortunately, this may be a barometer of where we will go,” he told the Globe.
The University of New Hampshire is increasing restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus as COVID-19 cases rise on campus.
Starting Friday, students, faculty and staff were required to wear masks in all indoor campus locations except when eating, in private offices or in dorm rooms. The new requirement applies to everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The university is also increasing ventilation and air exchange in campus buildings and adding plastic barriers in dining halls.
Additional restrictions are being implemented in Stokes Hall, the residence hall with the highest number of cases.
Burlington’s annual marathon has been shortened so that fewer health care professionals will be needed at the race next month amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, organizers said.
The People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon & Relay will be a half marathon and modified relay event on Oct. 24, RunVermont said this week.
“After extensive review and discussions with professionals associated with the health care field, RunVermont believes it would be insensitive to ask those professionals to step aside from their duties to attend to the needs of the race at a time when the medical community is under some significant strain,” the organization said in a statement.
Marathon runners can switch to a half marathon, select a virtual marathon option or defer the race until May 2022, organizers said.
They can also chose to enter one of three races on a complimentary basis if space is available: the Mad Marathon in Vermont on Sept. 12; the Adirondack Marathon in upstate New York on Oct. 3; or the Eversource Hartford Marathon in Connecticut, on Oct. 9.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported two additional deaths and nearly 600 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
The state is averaging 336 new cases of the virus a day, up from about 216 per day two weeks ago. Maine has reported 961 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Meanwhile, state officials Friday said they’re tracking 14 separate outbreaks in schools.
They say the schools don’t appear to be the sources of transmission and that students were likely exposed to the virus in their communities.