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Some really good news on COVID-19 for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable

A patient receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in a high school in Central Falls, R.I., Feb. 20, 2021.
A patient receives a COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in a high school in Central Falls, R.I., Feb. 20, 2021.DAVID DEGNER/NYT

Happy Tuesday! I’m Dan McGowan and Rhode Map is late today because I stayed up late to watch the Friars beat Wisconsin. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Coronavirus updates

Rhode Island has a high level of transmission: 222.3 total new cases per 100K population in the past 7 days

Fully vaccinated: 751,448 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 937 (since Friday)

Test-positive rate: 4.7 percent

Currently hospitalized: 98

Total deaths: 2,896

More stats from the R.I. Department of Health. Globe Rhode Island COVID-19 news and resources. Subscribe to our Coronavirus Next newsletter

Leading off

Rhode Island leads the country with the highest vaccination rate among nursing home staff and is among the nation’s leaders in COVID-19 vaccination rates among nursing home residents, according to new data from the AARP. The organization reported last week that 96.7 percent of nursing home staffers were vaccinated as of Oct. 17, slightly ahead of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

When it comes to nursing home residents, Rhode Island ranked No. 6 in the US, at 93.4 percent.It’s no secret that COVID-19 disproportionately hit the elderly population in every state, so it’s good news that Rhode Island has emerged as a vaccine leader. It’s also a sign that the state’s vaccine mandate for employees at nursing homes and other health care facilities has been effective.


The AARP also reported that COVID-19 cases among Rhode Island nursing home residents and staffers are well below the national average of 1.6 per 100 residents.

There are two areas of concern in the latest AARP data that are worth flagging.

When it comes to staffing, 34.7 percent of nursing home facilities in Rhode Island were experiencing shortages, slightly higher than the national average. Massachusetts, Connecticut, California were the only states in the country where fewer than 10 percent of facilities were reporting a staff shortage.


There are still 5.3 percent of nursing home facilities in Rhode Island that say they have an urgent need for personal protection equipment (PPE). That’s the highest in New England, but nowhere near Alabama, which leads the country with 18.1 percent of facilities reporting an urgent need for PPE.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ My latest column: Shawn Selleck’s decision to resign as city clerk in Providence — rather than face a ridiculous impeachment hearing — should allow the City Council to focus on more important issues. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Island’s state-run Eleanor Slater hospital, which still is not in compliance with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, closed one of its units to visitors because three patients and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Read more.

⚓ A Rhode Island man raised issues with prison conditions, and got punished even more for it, according to a federal lawsuit. Read more.

⚓ Will 2022 be the year that Rhode Island lawmakers approve a tax on sugary drinks? Read more.

Here’s more Globe Rhode Island coverage.

Also in the Globe

⚓ For more than a year on the campaign trail, Michelle Wu promised transformative change for Boston. Starting Tuesday, when she is sworn in as mayor, she’ll have to start proving she can deliver it. Read more.

⚓ Vermont is the only state in the nation that has never sent a woman to Congress. US Senator Patrick Leahy’s retirement from the Senate is likely to change that. Read more.


⚓ What’s next for the Red Sox outfield? Read more.

Our journalism relies on support from readers like you. Please help us continue our mission with a subscription to the Globe. Here’s a special deal for Rhode Island.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Governor Dan McKee and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos will hold their regular press conference at 2 p.m.⚓ McKee and Matos will be at Central Falls High School at 5 p.m. for another public input session on their Rhode Island 2030 plan.⚓ The House and Senate Finance Committees are holding separate meetings on McKee’s American Rescue Plan funding proposals.

My previous column

Rhode Island is facing a math crisis, but there are ways to fix it.

If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Providence College professor Eric Hirsch about how to help the homeless in Rhode Island.Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.