Sen. Collins tests negative for virus; Cluster grows at jail
Coronavirus-related developments in New England on Sunday:
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said Sunday that she has tested negative for COVID-19.
“Although I had almost no contact with my three colleagues who have tested positive, I thought it prudent to get tested,” Collins, a Republican, said on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the President, FLOTUS, my colleagues & all who are infected.”
President Donald Trump announced last week that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. The president was admitted into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for treatment.
Republican Sens. Thom Tillis, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson also tested positive.
The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Maine since the start of the pandemic has grown by 36, the Maine CDC said Sunday. The total number of confirmed cases is more than 5,500. The number of deaths is 142.
A virus cluster at a jail in Middleton, Massachusetts, is growing, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Saturday.
Twenty-five inmates, 21 employees and two contractors have tested positive. Each case showed mild symptoms; none have required hospitalization, the sheriff’s department said. All inmates and staff are now being tested.
Also on Saturday, 28 male patients at the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center in Plymouth tested positive for the virus, the state correction department said. Eleven employees with Wellpath, which handles inmate health care for the department, also tested positive.
State public health officials on Saturday reported 600 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Officials also reported 17 new deaths, pushing the death toll in Massachusetts to at least 9,292. Total cases surged past 131,800.
Cloth face coverings in lodges, lifts and other public spaces is part of the state guidance released for New Hampshire ski areas during the pandemic.
Guests and staff won’t be required to wear a face covering if they are skiing on a trail, physically distanced, eating or drinking. This includes waiting in lines and on chair lifts.
Guests and visitors will be screened for COVID-19 when they access their daily lift ticket or trail pass and before checking in for overnight stays. Putting strangers together on lifts is discouraged.
As of Saturday, more than 8,500 people had tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire since the pandemic started. The number of deaths stood at 442.
A New Hampshire summer camp that stayed open during the coronavirus pandemic is acting as a boarding school for 30 students.
The Windsor Mountain International Summer Camp is running through Oct. 12. Students are participating in virtual schooling during mornings and early afternoons before enjoying the 365-acre camp later in the day.
The group tested negative prior to and upon arrival at camp on Sept. 12. Most were campers were there this summer.
The camp hosted 300 students ages 7-16 over the summer and adhered to screening, testing, social distancing and mask-wearing. With the exception of two false positive tests, everyone tested negative, camp organizers said.
A federally funded food distribution program to help people in need and farmers during the coronavirus pandemic will resume Monday in Vermont.
Food distributions will take place throughout the state with the first event on Monday in Vergennes. People who make reservations will get one box with about 30 pounds of food, including fresh produce, dairy products, and meat, WCAX-TV reported.
The Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed tens of thousands of food boxes at airports around the state during the pandemic, with much of the food sourced locally. Two out-of-state companies have been awarded the latest contract.
Vermont’s congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last month raising concerns that the latest phase of the program won’t meet the same standards as previous rounds, the Times Argus reported.
“We are also concerned that the number of families reached will decline based on this new contract and that Vermont farms will not be able to participate in the program as they have before,” the delegation wrote.
The USDA said in a statement that it contracted with 50 entities and had contracts to buy $1 billion in food for the third phase nationally. It also said it allocated boxes based on the state’s need.
“Fewer boxes will be delivered under this round due to the shift in combination boxes; however, the number of pounds of food being delivered is on par with previous rounds,” it stated.
Vermont reported six new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, for a statewide total to date of more than 1,700. No one was hospitalized and no new deaths have been reported for over two months.
Providence College hopes to resume in-person classes for all students on Oct. 12, the school’s president said.
Before that, the week of Oct. 5 is focused on further extensive testing of the student body, the Rev. Kenneth Sicard said. He said students who left on-campus or off-campus residences during a stay-at-home period that started on Sept. 17 will be tested prior to returning and again be tested once they are back on campus.
Students will self-quarantine in their residence hall room or off-campus apartment until receiving documentation of a negative test. The college will provide meals to students while they are in self-quarantine, Sicard said.
He said students returning from states or territories on Rhode Island’s hotspot list must self-quarantine for 14 days.
The college had put a remote-learning plan in place after a coronavirus outbreak affected more than 200 students.
The Rhode Island Department of Health on Friday reported one new coronavirus death and 133 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The death toll is 1,118, and the number of known cases surpasses 25,000.
New Haven is offering learning hubs for public school students who aren’t fully engaged in online learning.
The hubs are opening Monday at the Barnard Environmental Center, Coogan Pavilion, and Trowbridge Environmental Center for students in the first through ninth grades. They will need to bring their own learning device.
The city says 1,500 students in New Haven aren’t logging onto remote learning.
Students need to take a survey and apply before they can go to the hubs at nhvlearninghubs.net.
As of Friday, there were 110 people hospitalized in Connecticut with the virus and two more coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday, bringing the state’s total to 4,513.