PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s positivity rate for the coronavirus is trending downward.
The latest average positivity rate in Rhode Island is 5.91%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 8.12% on Dec. 12 to 5.91% on Dec. 26.
A look at coronavirus developments in New England:
More than half the cities and towns in the state are now listed as at high risk for the coronavirus.
A total of 187 municipalities are now considered high risk for transmission, according to recently released state data. The number increased by 29 over the past week, Boston.com reported. There are 351 municipalities in Massachusetts.
The municipalities with the highest average daily cases rates of coronavirus were Lawrence, Nantucket and Saugus.
A federal food box program set to end with the year is being taken over by Vermont Foodbank, which plans to fund it through February.
Foodbank spokeswoman Nicole Whalen tells the Rutland Herald the organization has allocated $1.4 million to continue the Farmers to Families Food Box program for the first two months of 2021.
“The experience will be very much the same for customers, the people participating in the program,” she said. “The only difference they’ll see is probably higher quality food and local food.”
The program started in May as an initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address both farmers losing their markets to the coronavirus pandemic and food insecurity. The USDA purchased the food from farmers to be distributed to those in need.
The program is giving out 500 boxes of food per day at distribution sites around the state.
Whalen said community support has left the Foodbank feeling like it can manage this for January and February.
Most of the most recent confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New Hampshire are in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties, the state Department of Health and Human Services said.
The department reported more than 1,000 new positive test results for the coronavirus on Saturday.
“Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties,” the department said in a statement.
“Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases are either associated with an outbreak setting or have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.”
Schools across Maine are reporting dips in academic performance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Standardized test scores in Gorham dropped by 10 percentage points or more in some subjects, and Biddeford High School reported a 9 point increase in course failure rate in year’s first quarter, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The lower scores in Maine schools reflect broader trends around the country. Maine educators are looking for strategies to help get students back on track during a difficult time for learning.
“It doesn’t come as a shock,” Biddeford High School Principal Martha Jacques said.
“Obviously we’re disappointed and we want all kids to succeed, but we’ve also had a group of students that have been out of traditional education for six-plus months by the time they came back to school this fall and the nature of a hybrid model is very different than what they’re used to with an in-classroom model,” Jacques said.