A look at the coronavirus around New England on Saturday:
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said she has received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Washington upon the advice of her physician.
“I believe in the science and I want to demonstrate to my constituents in New Hampshire that this vaccine is safe and effective,” the Democrat said in a statement on Friday after getting the vaccine.
Kuster, 64, said she's been heartened to see thousands of frontline workers and those who are most at risk in New Hampshire get the vaccine.
“I am also pleased that Moderna’s safe, effective vaccine has now been authorized by the FDA and millions of doses will be distributed across the United States in the coming weeks.”
The union representing more than 900 nurses at a Bangor hospital wants elective procedures and most patient visits cancelled as the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center deals with an outbreak that has infected at least 30 people.
The hospital announced an outbreak of COVID-19 that had infected 27 workers and five patients as of Thursday evening, with many of those cases coming from a surgical post-operative unit known, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The hospital also had an uptick in coronavirus patients being admitted this week as cases continue to rise around the state.
EMMC representatives have said that some workers who tested positive in the new outbreak were exposed to the virus out in the community, the newspaper reported. In response to the outbreak, the hospital has increased testing, cut off visitors to the post-operative unit and quarantined patients for 14 days. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into what may have caused the outbreak, said Director Nirav Shah on Friday.
EMMC has “ongoing discussions” with the nurses union and “has implemented suggestions where possible to keep patients and staff safe,” said Suzanne Spruce, a spokesperson for parent organization Northern Light Health.
Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine says all Vermont hospitals have received their first allotments of vaccine against the virus and have been inoculating their high risk staff members.
Beginning Monday, pharmacies are due to begin vaccinating residents of the state’s long-term care facilities.
State officials are now working to decide who will be the second group to get the vaccine. Levine says in all probability it will be a combination of people over age 65 and people with chronic condition or those whose immune systems have been compromised.
If all goes well, Vermont could receive up to 34,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of the month.
While the arrival of the vaccines is a big step, Levine said it will still be several months before life begins to return to normal.
“Every time a Vermonter gets vaccinated, all of us benefit,” Levine said.
Starting Saturday, all foreign and domestic travelers entering Connecticut, except those coming from New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island, must fill out a travel health form and self-quarantine for 10 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.
The state’s previous rule required a 14-day quarantine period for both state residents and out-of-state travelers coming from states and territories with 10 cases per 100,000 population or 10% positivity rates.
Under Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s latest executive order, travelers can be exempt from the self-quarantine requirement if they have had a negative PCR or rapid antigen test within 72 hours prior to arriving in Connecticut or subsequent to their arrival. Those tests must be submitted to the state Department of Public Health via email or fax.
There are also exemptions for essential workers traveling for work-related purposes and those travelers who tested positive within 90 days prior to arriving in Connecticut and who have clinically recovered, or have not been symptomatic for 10 days since developing symptoms or testing positive if they’re symptomatic. Those test results also have to be submitted to the state’s Department of Public Health.