NH hospitals losing millions; fall sports on in Vermont

BOSTON (AP) — A look at coronavirus news from around New England:

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VERMONT

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says high school sports will happen this fall, but things will look different.

"This won’t be a normal season, but our goal is to offer a path forward for each of these sports to give some sense of normalcy in abnormal times,” the governor said.

The state's governing body of athletics is expected to release guidance this week. Practices can begin on the first day of in-school learning, which is Sept. 8.

Julie Moore, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, said there will be changes to minimize contact and allow for social distancing.

“The higher contact the activity, the more interested we are at looking at potential modifications to insure physical distancing to the point that’s possible and minimize contact,” Moore said.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire's hospitals are hurting financially and bracing for cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state's hospitals collectively lost $575 million in revenue between March and July, said Kathy Bizarro-Thunberg, executive vice president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. The group estimates hospitals will lose $700 million by the end of the year, The Concord Monitor reported.

Hospitals were forced to pause lucrative nonessential surgeries and services due to the virus crisis.

Alex Walker, chief operating officer at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, said the hospital laid off more than 70 employees last week, reduced hours for dozens of positions and froze hiring for all nonessential workers. The hospital expects to lose $40 million by the end of next month.

“COVID has had a devastating effect on our finances,” Walker said. “It’s had an impact on hospitals in New Hampshire but for us in particular, we’ve been at ground zero.”

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MASSACHUSETTS

Officials in a Boston suburb hard hit by the coronavirus are stepping up efforts to contain the disease.

Free coronavirus testing in Revere is being extended through September 12 and a second testing site is expected to be announced on Monday.

Officials this weekend were handing out masks at the beach, where crowds have been gathering in the heat, and encouraging people to keep their distance. The city is also broadcasting messages about the virus in English and Spanish.

“Our goal is to rollback some things and prevent a massive, drastic closure,” Mayor Brian Arrigo said.

Revere's daily positive testing rate is three times that of the average in Massachusetts, NBC Boston reported.

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RHODE ISLAND

Neighboring states' new quarantine requirements on visitors from Rhode Island is frustrating business owners and forcing some to change their vacation plans.

Gary Algiere, of the Bayview Fun Park tells WJAR-TV “we thought, 'Oh everything’s almost back to normal.' Then this happened. The motels, tons of cancellations.” Algiere says most visitors to the Westerly Beaches are from out of state.

Massachusetts and Connecticut recently added Rhode Island to the list of states whose travelers are directed to quarantine for 14 days.

Austin Turkis, of Columbia, Connecticut, told the TV station he was planning to stay in Rhode Island for less than 24 hours so he wouldn't have to quarantine back home, where their power was still knocked out from Tropical Storm Isaias. Connecticut allows people to travel to neighboring states without having to quarantine as long as the trip is less than 24 hours.

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MAINE

Many Maine businesses are struggling to get by after reopening their doors as fears of the virus keep customers away.

About a third of 85 members of a merchant trade group that promotes local commerce that were recently surveyed reported that their revenue was 20% or less of what it was at this time last year, The Portland Press Herald reported. Many said they were considering closing permanently.

“It all comes down to the fact that the virus itself is still spreading in the country in a way that it is hard to do business and makes it hard for people to consider that anything could possibly be normal,” said Mary Alice Scott, executive director of the group, Portland Buy Local, told the newspaper.

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CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont criticized President Trump’s executive order that seeks state money to help extend unemployment benefits. Trump’s plan to provide an extra $400 a week in benefits requires states to kick in $100 a week.

Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Lamont said the plan would cost Connecticut about $500 million through the end of the year. He says he could take that money from coronavirus testing or disinfecting schools, but doesn’t think that would be a good idea.

Lamont also said Sunday that the state is helping out-of-work residents with an ongoing eviction moratorium.