PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Coronavirus developments across New England:
Newly vaccinated Massachusetts residents were treated to a mini concert Saturday when famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought out his instrument after getting his second shot.
Ma took a seat along the wall of the observation area Saturday at Berkshire Community College and played for about 15 minutes, saying that he “wanted to give something back,” Richard Hall of the Berkshire COVID-19 Vaccine Collaborative told the The Berkshire Eagle.
“What a way to end the clinic,” Hall said.
The quick concert came a year after Ma started posting recordings of himself using the hashtag #SongsOfComfort on social media.
“In these days of anxiety,” he wrote on Twitter on March 13, 2020, “I wanted to find a way to continue to share some of the music that gives me comfort.”
Since then, he also has played surprise pop-up concerts for essential workers.
The New Hampshire House has scheduled three more session days at a sports complex in Bedford to allow for social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, the 400-member House has met several times at the University of New Hampshire ice arena, outside on a UNH athletic field, and — after former Speaker Dick Hinch died of COVID-19 — from their cars in a parking lot. They met last month in Bedford and will return to the athletic complex April 7, 8, 9, Speaker Sherm Packard said in his weekly calendar message.
In the meantime, Packard urged members to maintain “decorum and reverence” while attending committee hearings and meetings remotely.
“There have been too many cases of remote members talking over one another, remote members talking out of turn, and remote members not allowing the chair to run the meeting in an orderly fashion,” he wrote. “Whether you are in-person or remote, out of respect for our great institution, please allow your chairs to run the meetings. Seek guidance from your chairs when you’d like to speak or ask a question. The chairs are the referees of your meetings, and without your cooperation with them, meetings can devolve into disorder.”
Vermont will return to grouping segments of the population eligible for vaccines by age after the current group — people with preexisting conditions — is vaccinated.
Gov. Phil Scott said at his twice-weekly virus briefing on Friday that he expects to be able to announce this coming week a timeline for the remaining age bands, depending on what the state learns from the federal government about vaccine supplies. He said he hopes to outline the state’s exit strategy from the pandemic by the first week of April.
The last age group eligible for vaccines was Vermonters 65 and older.
“I appreciate everyone’s patience and I know all of us want to get to normal,” he said. He added that state Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine and others have said that March is a critical month as the state completes vaccinations for the most vulnerable.
“So we must continue to all we can to help ourselves by wearing a mask, keeping our distance, washing our hands and avoiding crowds when possible," he said.
More than 47,00 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, including 170 cases reported Sunday. No new deaths were announced, keeping the total at 724.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 161 new cases per day on Feb. 26 to 175 new cases per day on Friday.
Rhode Island’s vaccination sign-up portal continues to be slammed, with another batch of appointments scheduled to be released on Tuesday.
Registration opened Friday night for people at least 60 years old and adults with underlying medical conditions. The 1,570 available appointments were quickly snatched up, as were a few more slots that became available Saturday, the Providence Journal reported.
Meanwhile, vaccinations for newly eligible teachers and school staff ramped up smoothly.
Another batch of appointments will be released at 9 a.m. Tuesday and again next Friday.