Here are the latest coronavirus developments across New England:
Towns in central Connecticut and across the state have experienced a dramatic increase in car thefts and burglaries in 2020, a trend officials have blamed on the pandemic but also on laws that restrict police from engaging in pursuits related to property crimes.
The New Britain Herald reported that car burglaries in the city more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019. Berlin saw a four-fold increase in the number of stolen vehicles, and thefts from autos have more than doubled in Newington, prompting town officials to write to state legislators for help. Southington reported 93 stolen vehicles in 2020 compared to 41 in 2019; car burglaries shot up from 114 to 410, the newspaper reported.
Newington Police Chief Stephen Clark said the increase is unlike anything he’s seen in 35 years of policing. He said car break-ins often are committed by juveniles who know what they can get away with.
“They know all they have to do is get back in the car and we can’t pursue them,” Clark told the Herald. “We’re seeing it frequently, and they’re aware of that.”
Protestors gathered outside the Maine Statehouse on Saturday to criticize how Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
WABI-TV reported that the protest organized by the Swinging Gate Organization attracted a large crowd despite snowy weather.
”There’s this undercurrent of pent up energy that’s not doing well under this governor's rule, and it’s important to harness that organic energy that’s out here that needs something to do, their hands are tied,” said event organizer Dick Campbell.
More than 25,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, including nearly 350 new confirmed cases announced Sunday. One additional death was announced, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 359. Just under 33,000 people in the state have been vaccinated against the virus.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine increased over the past two weeks, going from 445 on Dec. 19 to 528 on Jan. 2.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated plans to offer a ski-through snack service on Wachusett Mountain.
The owners of Red Apple Farm have been selling coffee, cider and doughnuts inside a lodge about a third of the way up the mountain for several years. They told the Telegram & Gazette they had always wanted to open a take-out window, and the pandemic gave them the push to proceed.
Now, the lodge is open only to employees, and skiers and snowboarders order from outside to maintain social distancing. In addition to warm drinks, the menu offerings include apple dumplings, cookies and ice cream.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people get ice cream on these cold days,” said owner Al Rose. “It just shows you that New Englanders are a hearty bunch and don’t care how cold it is outside. They love their ice cream.”
Health officials on Saturday announced more than 8,500 new confirmed cases, which included those reported for the two previous days. Seventy-nine deaths were announced, for a total of 12,236.
Turkey sightings are on the rise in New Hampshire, possibly because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said results from its 2020 winter survey reflect 2,309 flocks totaling 40,476 turkeys statewide. That was more than four times as many turkeys counted in 2019 and twice as many as reported in 2018.
“With many people spending more time at home last winter, there was an increase in backyard bird feeding as well as bird watching, which may have contributed to the uptick in reports,” said Allison Keating, a state turkey biologist.
More than 46,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including more than 1,300 confirmed cases announced Sunday that include numbers for several days. Eleven additional deaths were announced, bringing the total to 780.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire decreased over the past two weeks, going from 766 new cases per day on Dec. 19 to 750 new cases per day on Jan. 2.
A Providence restaurant accused of defying the governor's curfew on New Year's Eve has been shut down indefinitely.
The Providence Journal reports that an emergency closure order was issued to Saje Kitchen on Friday and remains in effect until the city licensing board meets.
Lt. Joseph Dufault said detectives were notified late Thursday night that patrons remained inside the restaurant past the 10:30 p.m. closing time mandated by Gov. Gina Raimondo.
Police said there were about 25 people drinking and using hookahs after midnight, though the manager told officers the only people still inside were employees.
Vermont health officials announced 96 new cases of the virus Sunday. The number of deaths increased by one to 140.