Virus Outbreak

AP file photo

In response to Hurricane Henri, Rhode Island is closing all state-run COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites on Sunday, the state Department of Health said in a statement.

The state will continue to monitor hurricane conditions and assess whether sites will reopen or remain closed on Monday.

People who had vaccination appointments for Sunday are being contacted directly with information about new appointments.

People who had testing appointments canceled will not need to make new appointments. They can go to the site where their appointment was scheduled with a print or screenshot of their confirmation notice, and they will be tested.

There is some good news on the pandemic front in Massachusetts — the amount of coronavirus in Boston area wastewater has been on the decline recently, according to the Cambridge-based company that monitors it.

Levels of coronavirus in the wastewater coming from both the northern section of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which includes Boston, and the southern section declined for the four days ending Tuesday, The Boston Globe reported.

The pilot program tests for virus RNA copies per milliliter of wastewater at the MWRA’s Deer Island treatment plant. The tests can serve as a warning system for surges in cases, authorities say.

Biobot Analytics has found that the amount of virus in the wastewater is correlated with newly diagnosed coronavirus cases four to 10 days later.

The state Department of Public Health on Friday reported 1,459 new confirmed coronavirus cases, the largest single-day increase since April.

The number of patients in the state’s hospitals is also on the rise, at 467 as of Friday, up from 80 patients on July 4. The seven-day average of hospitalizations has more than quadrupled since early July.

Other coronavirus updates from around New England:

Vermont

Some Vermont entertainment venues are asking visitors for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to attend events.

Higher Ground in South Burlington and the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington have announced such policies, and the coffee house, bar and music venue Radio Bean and the bar Three Needs, both in Burlington, enacted similar plans earlier this month, the Burlington Free Press reported.

Higher Ground is reopening on Tuesday for the first time in nearly 18 months.

“Effective immediately, all patrons attending events at the live music venue will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test from the past 72 hours, along with a matching photo ID,” according to a statement from the night spot last week. “Proof of vaccination can be a physical vaccine card or a photo of a card.”

Higher Ground founder and co-owner Alex Crothers said the safety of patrons, staff and artists is the top priority.

“With the delta variant on the rise it’s become clear that this is an important safety measure to the touring artists who move from town to town every night. We hope this policy is short-lived,” he said.

The venue said also it has installed an indoor air purification system to treat airborne viruses, bacteria and allergens.

New Hampshire

Dartmouth College is slightly relaxing its mask policy at the same time as it deals with an increase in COVID-19 cases.

After seeing very few cases earlier in the summer, 11 students and 10 employees tested positive between Aug. 1 and Aug. 17, interim Provost David Kotz said during a community conversation Wednesday.

At least 19 of the 21 cases were in fully vaccinated individuals, he said. Some had no symptoms, while others had mild illnesses.

The college earlier this month began requiring masks in nearly all indoor settings.

Kotz said the policy is being relaxed to allow students living on campus to remove their masks anywhere in their residences if they are vaccinated and have no symptoms. Also, two people who are vaccinated and have no symptoms can remove masks for one-on-one indoor meetings if both parties agree.

“We know this policy is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and very disappointing after a month of relative freedom,” he said.

“We feel the same way. Nonetheless, we’ll be living with this virus for years to come, and we will continue to adapt as we better understand the risks and how to best balance the risks to the physical and mental health of everyone in our community,” he continued.

Maine

Maine’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases and weekly positive test rate remained on the rise according to new data released Saturday by the state Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

With more than 200 new cases of COVID-19 reported Saturday, Maine’s seven-day average for new coronavirus cases is now more than 162 up from 50 a month ago.

The positive test rate jumped up to 4.1% this week.

It was at .045% just six weeks ago, authorities noted.

The state also reported two more COVD-19 related deaths Saturday, both men in their 80s from Penobscot County. The state’s cumulative death toll is now 924.

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