Maine Nursing Home To Close; Vermont Courts Extend Protocols

A Maine nursing home on Deer Isle will close at the end of October, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the recent struggle to find qualified workers.

At one point, Island Nursing Home dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that lasted about six weeks and resulted in 100 cases and 14 resident deaths, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I don’t have any idea what we’re going to do,” Jess Maurer, executive director of Maine Council on Aging, told News Center Maine.

A statement written by the Island Nursing Home board of directors said there’s simply not enough qualified workers.

“We have spent months exhausting every staffing resource at our disposal and beginning this fall, we will no longer be able to meet our minimum staffing requirements,” the statement said.

In other pandemic-related news in the region:

___

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Jake Auchincloss is joining with other Democratic members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, to push for the manufacturing, production, and distribution of vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.

The group launched the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus, which they say will advocate for the one solution that has proven to work and that a majority of Americans and scientists agree is crucial to ending the pandemic: vaccines.

“The world needs America to lead. The fight against COVID-19 is a transnational challenge that calls for vision and boldness,” Auchincloss, who represents the state’s 4th Congressional District, said Friday in a written statement. “The United States can reclaim moral leadership with vaccine diplomacy.”

Auchincloss said the goal is to encourage a U.S.-led program to increase the vaccinated populations of poor countries to protect those populations but also to block the spread of dangerous COVID-19 variants to the United States.

Other members of the caucus include representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.

___

NEW HAMPSHIRE

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats doubleheader game scheduled for Sunday was canceled to allow for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, WMUR-TV reported.

The Fisher Cats were scheduled to play a doubleheader against the Portland Sea Dogs.

“The Fisher Cats are adhering to Minor League Baseball’s health and safety protocols and will practice caution as we follow the guidance of expert,” the team said in a press release.

The team said the games would not be made up and those with tickets can redeem them at the box office for remaining 2021 home games.

___

VERMONT

The Vermont Supreme Court extended the state of emergency through Nov. 1 that has allowed it to implement measures to combat COVID-19 in the state’s courthouses.

State Court Administrator Patricia Gabel says the move allows her to designate certain courthouses as “limited-entry courthouses” that are not suitable for unrestricted hearings due to limitations in the building’s air flow systems.

Gabel says that with some exceptions, all hearings to be held in those buildings must be done remotely.

___

RHODE ISLAND

The Westerly Education Center scheduled three COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The first clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, followed by clinics on Sept. 28 and Oct. 19.

All will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The vaccines are free and available to the public. Anyone aged 12 and older may be vaccinated as well as inoculated people who are eligible for a booster.

Currently in Rhode Island, community transmission rates are high as the delta variant spreads much more easily and quickly, according to health officials. Unvaccinated people are most at risk of getting and spreading the delta variant.

Additional information about vaccination, COVID-19, testing and prevention can be found at the state's COVID-19 website.