Outbreak At Vermont Day Camp, Masks Return To Nh Campuses

Coronavirus developments across New England:

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut has become the the latest state to mandate that workers in nursing homes be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday directed an executive order that requires all employees of long-term care facilities to receive at least the first dose of a vaccine by Sept. 7.

In a statement, he said it would “absolutely irresponsible” for staffers not to be vaccinated, given the vulnerability of the people in their care.

According to Lamont’s release, more than half of all nursing homes in Connecticut have a staff vaccination rate lower than 75%. Connecticut joins at least five other states that have issued similar mandates.

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MASSACHUSETTS

Cyclists from 47 states and 11 countries are hoping to raise $52 million to fund cancer research and patient care as the annual Pan-Mass Challenge returns after a year off due to the pandemic.

The two-day 192-mile charity ride is expected to include 4,600 bicyclists across Massachusetts plus another 1,500 participants outside the weekend event.

Riders are facing a different experience than in years past, executive director Billy Starr told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Volunteers will be masked, there will be no mass gatherings and the finish lines will be configured for “outdoor lunches and a quick hook-up with your ride out of town,” he said.

“We have planned since September for a health scenario that has turned out to be pretty spot-on,” Starr said. “A month ago, people were saying, ‘Why aren’t you opening up wider, wider?’ and no one is saying that anymore.”

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MAINE

More than 71,000 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, including 165 cases announced Saturday. One new death was announced, bringing the total to 901.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 60 new cases a day on July 22 to 110 new cases a day on Thursday.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, both Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire are implementing new mask requirements.

Dartmouth now requires masks be worn indoors in nearly all circumstances. Exceptions include private, non-shared spaces, such as a dorm room or office.

The University of New Hampshire is requiring masks in classrooms, labs and offices where people are close for than a few minutes, crowded spaces and events and elevators.

Neither institution is requiring mask use outdoors.

Dartmouth is requiring students and staff to get vaccinated. State law prohibits UNH from requiring vaccines. Unvaccinated students will be tested more frequently than vaccinated staff and students.

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RHODE ISLAND

Gov. Dan McKee’s administration is considering a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for state workers, according to state officials.

No specific mandate has been proposed, but state officials recently informed union representatives that a vaccine mandate is under consideration, a spokesperson for the Department of Administration told the Providence Journal.

“They are discussing it,” Robert Dulski said Thursday. “They had a conversation with union leadership. There are many options on the table and no negotiations at this time.”

McKee was initially resistant to the idea of a vaccine mandate for state workers.

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VERMONT

The Vermont Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 at a Waterbury Parks and Recreation day camp.

Officials said 13 campers, most of whom are under the age of 12 and therefore unvaccinated, have tested positive. None have become severely ill.

Nearly 130 children attend the camp, and contact tracing is in progress. Anyone who has had contact with someone associated with the camp is being asked to monitor themselves and their children for symptoms and to get tested.

Testing was being offered at the Waterbury EMS station Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Burlington is working on a plan to require city staff to be either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regular testing.

Mayor Miro Weinberger said Friday he has met twice with union leaders and presented them with a draft policy he intends to finalize soon. It will require staff to be vaccinated by the end of September or undergo to regular testing.

Weinberger also is recommending the wearing of masks in public indoor spaces regardless of one’s vaccination status until Chittenden County returns to a moderate risk of transmission.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.