BOSTON (AP) — The New Hampshire Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill aimed at improving children’s mental health at a time when the number of children waiting for inpatient psychiatric care has grown dramatically during the pandemic.

A bipartisan law signed in 2019 allocated about $20 million toward creating a comprehensive system of care for children’s mental health, but the pandemic has slowed progress in implementing many of its features. The Senate voted 24-0 Thursday to advance a bill that would give the state more time.

Sen. Becky Whitley said the bill is needed to support children and families desperate to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

“The children’s mental health crisis has been building for years, and has only been exacerbated by the pandemic," the Hopkinton Democrat said.

Last spring, the state reached a milestone when no patients were waiting in emergency rooms for inpatient psychiatric beds. But that number has risen, and last month, a high of 48 children were waiting on one day.

“When I received a call from the governor when we got to zero, thanking me for our efforts, I never thought we’d get to where we are today,” said Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem.



The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will start being administered on Cape Cod.

Barnstable County officials said Thursday that they will dispense 1,200 doses of the one-shot vaccine next week during two clinics at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, the Cape Cod Times reported.

About 600 doses will be administered Tuesday and 600 more on Thursday in the college gymnasium.

Cape officials are calling the arrival of the J&J vaccine a game-changer.

Also Sunday, state health officials reported 41 new confirmed deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic to 16,085.

The state also reported nearly 1,300 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, pushing its confirmed caseload to nearly 559,000.

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

There were fewer than 700 people reported hospitalized Saturday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19.



A program created by the Vermont Legislature last fall to provide pandemic stimulus checks to residents who were denied payments because of their immigration status has been extended for another two months.

The fund’s deadline will be extended to May 1, the Burlington Free Press reported.

Those applicants may have been denied stimulus checks because they did not have proper documentation previously needed to get the initial $1,200 payments last spring.

“Mixed status” families or households in which at least one member was a U.S. citizen or permanent resident while others were undocumented without legal immigration status were denied stimulus checks before last December. Congress passed a bill late last year that retroactively allowed those families to receive payments, the newspaper reported.

The Vermont program has provided funding to 500 applicants so far and 1,000 or so more are waiting to be verified, said Indra Acharya, project manager for the Vermont Economic Stimulus Equity Fund, which is being run through the nonprofit Vermont Community Foundation.



Rhode Island’s newly installed Gov. Daniel McKee is promising that his team will rise to the challenge of defeating COVID-19.

“There is no playbook for this extraordinary moment in Rhode Island’s history. There is no playbook for defeating this virus or for a lieutenant governor becoming governor during a global pandemic,” McKee said Sunday during a ceremonial inauguration.

McKee said that with every decision he makes in the coming months he’s going to be thinking about how best to get through the challenges facing the state’s 39 cities and towns.

“I want Rhode Islanders to know: My team is prepared to lead and beat COVID-19,” the Democrat added. “And I ask all of you to join us in the huddle and help us make the right calls to keep Rhode Island safe and move us forward, together.



Maine reported 159 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and two new deaths, according to the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the deaths was a resident of Cumberland County. The other was a resident of York County. One was a man and one was a woman. One was between 70 and 79 years old, and one was age 80 or older.

The 159 additional cases bring the total since the beginning of the outbreak to nearly 45,800.



Not all Connecticut businesses are planning to rush back into their offices following Gov. Ned Lamont’s decision to lift restrictions on offices.

Many business leaders say they expect a slower re-entry now that many office workers have spent nearly a year working remotely.

David Griggs, president and chief executive of the MetroHartford Alliance, an economic development group, told the Hartford Courant that he sees more companies opting for a hybrid working life with some time in the office and some time spent working remotely.

"You’re going to see it trickle back in, and it’s going to be slow,” Griggs told the paper.