coronavirus in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) held a briefing via Zoom this morning to update the press on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 vaccination effort.

Tricia Washburn Chief, Center for Preventive Services, RIDOH Co-Lead, COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Workgroup, reported that as of 9 am this morning that 51,220 doses of the vaccine have been administered (41,997 first doses administered and 9,243 second doses has been administered).

As of January 12, the state has received 72,175 doses of the vaccine and continues to order the maximum doses that they can from the government.

Those representing RIDOH on the call say that they have been working to get the following vaccinated this week, January 11, 2021;

Here is a look at who RIDOH says is getting vaccinated during the week of January 18, 2021.

In response to a reporters question, RIDOH reports that they are actively discussing “who goes next” in the process of vaccinating Rhode Islanders.

If Rhode Island was suddenly to receive a large supply of vaccinations, RIDOH says they have 75 different sites across the state that they could possibly activate.

On Thursday, RIDOH reported 789 new positive cases of COVID-19 (total positive cases now 103,386), 375 hospitalizations, and 9 new fatalities (total now 1,996).

Update: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott provided the followint vaccine update to newsletter subscribers on Friday evening;

Hello friend,

This is Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health. I’m reaching out to provide an update on the state of our COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Right now, the biggest challenge facing Rhode Island’s vaccine program – like most other states throughout the country – is that we are not receiving a lot of vaccine. Still, we are doing the best we can with what we have. To date, we have administered more than 51,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That puts Rhode Island near the top of the CDC’s rankings of states by the number of doses administered per capita. Our systems are working, and I’m proud of the job we’re doing. Getting those doses administered is very operationally complex. From beginning to end, it involves ordering, shipping, receiving, redistribution, and more. We’re grateful to everyone throughout the state who is working to make that happen.
I want to provide a little more detail on who has been vaccinated this week:

Almost all of the nursing homes in the state were visited once.

Many hospital workers are receiving their second doses now. Urgent care staff and respiratory clinic staff are getting vaccinated, and we are continuing to hold clinics for EMS personnel, school nurses, and others.

The Rhode Island National Guard is operating a clinic at Sockanosset for people who are doing COVID-19 testing, some pharmacy staff, and staff from our two Alternate Hospital Sites.

Some limited vaccinating is still happening in Central Falls.
There was a lot of news this week about the federal government urging states to vaccinate people who are 65 years of age and older. We want to get vaccine to people older than 65 too. The limiting factor is not federal rules, or our approach in Rhode Island. The limiting factor is the amount of vaccine we are getting. We are getting 14,000 first doses of vaccine a week. There are close to 190,000 people in Rhode Island who are 65 years of age and older. It would not be honest or fair of us to say that all Rhode Islanders older than 65 can get vaccinated tomorrow, because we just don’t have the vaccine.

We’ve seen the confusion and frustration that has resulted in states that have opened eligibility to groups that they did not have enough vaccine for. In Rhode Island, we are vaccinating older adults incrementally and thoughtfully. That means that when we tell you you can get vaccinated, you know that there is a real, physical vaccine waiting for you – not just that you fall into a broad category that is eligible to get a vaccine when we eventually have one. Please know that if we could, we would make sure that everyone got vaccinated immediately. But we’re just not getting enough vaccine right now, so we’re doing the best we can with what we have.

I know that there is tremendous demand for vaccine, and I understand why. Frankly, this high demand gives me hope. This has been an enormously trying 10 months for so many Rhode Islanders. There will come a time when vaccine will be available for every person who wants to get vaccinated in Rhode Island. Until that time comes, we’re asking for you to be patient, and to take all the other steps we know can help keep you and the people you love safe. That means wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands regularly.

Nicole-Alexander Scott, MD, MPHDirector, Rhode Island Department of Health