PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island plans to close two of its mass vaccination sites by the end of June as the state shifts its focus to smaller community clinics in an effort to get coronavirus shots to the unvaccinated, Gov. Daniel McKee said Thursday.

The sites at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and at the former Benny’s store in Middletown will both close on June 26, the Democratic governor said at a news conference.

The Dunkin' Donuts Center, a sports arena/concert venue, is ready to start scheduling events in the fall, he said.

The state will also now focus its attention on getting all students age 12 and over vaccinated so schools can open fully in the fall when the state will no longer require districts to offer a remote learning option.

“Schools are safe places where our children's mental, physical and emotional health can thrive," he said.

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the state Department of Health, said children age 12 and older and college students need to get their first shot by July 4 at the latest if they want to be fully vaccinated by the start of school year.

The state's mass vaccination site in Cranston will remain open through the summer, ready to ramp up operations if needed, said Tom McCarthy, director of the state's COVID-19 response team.

“The focus is on ensuring that we can remain in a good place for the fall and winter," he said.

The number of people who have been fully vaccinated in Rhode Island is now nearly 560,000, according to state Department of Health data released Thursday.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA

Rhode Island health officials on Thursday reported more than 40 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and three additional virus-related deaths.

Of the new cases, 35 were confirmed on Wednesday and the rest were added to previous days' totals.

The deaths were the first reported by the state Department of Health in several days and bring the total number of fatalities in the state during the pandemic to 2,715.

The latest daily positivity rate was 0.3%.

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SHOTS AT THE BALLGAME

The Newport Gulls baseball team is celebrating its first game in 669 days by offering coronavirus vaccines to fans.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available to fans age 12 and older before Friday's home opener against the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, The Newport Daily News reported.

Fans who get a shot will get a free ticket to Friday's game and another free ticket for the game on June 25, when they return for their second dose.

No advance registration is required for the clinic, which will run from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Cardines Field.

The team plays in the wooden bat New England Collegiate Baseball League, a summer league for college players. The 2020 season was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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