Weekly COVID-19 Briefings

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Below are the latest health-related news, media announcements, resources, and updates for our CTC-RI practice and community members during the COVID-19 crisis. A new briefing will be shared each month.

View the full briefing here,

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 

 

Department of Health announcements from Feb. 18 press conference:

  • Director Alexander-Scott announced to date, 173,634 vaccine doses have been administered in RI, including fully vaccinated 54,350 individuals. 
  • Starting on Monday, February 22, RI residents 65+ will be able to book vaccination appointments at www.vaccinateRI.org or by calling 844-930-1779.
    • RI Dept. of Health envisions consolidating clinics being run by the cities and towns to 5. The state wants the cities and towns to continue their local focus, while also collaborating on regional clinics, where it's more efficient as a state and cut down on redistribution delays. While the pharmacies (Walgreens and CVS) will always have their own registration systems, the state will have a single registration system (one website, one phone number) for the state-run sites.
  • Director Alexander-Scott noted Central Falls is a place where the state targeted early vaccine distribution. Roughly 20% of adults in CF have gotten at least a first dose of vaccine. Since vaccine distribution started there, case rates have decreased by 71% and test positivity has fallen from 22% to 5%.
  • New visitation guidance for hospitals and nursing homes was announced. Effective February 19, hospitals can return to Level 1 visitation guidance (the least restrictive), and visitation can resume at nursing homes if there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • The social gathering size has now been expanded to 2 households for gatherings indoors and 3 households gathering outdoors

View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 

RI Dept. of Health (RIDOH) Announcements from Jan. 8 include:

  • Following the announcement of Gov. Raimondo as the Biden administration's pick as the next U.S. commerce secretary, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee is ready to lead the effort against the virus as he ascends to the governor's office upon Raimondo's expected confirmation. During her Jan. 8 press briefing, RIDOH Director Alexander-Scott indicated that Lt. Gov. Dan McKee is committed to continuing the RIDOH COVID-response team.
  • On Monday, Jan. 11 RIDOH expects to be able to update outpatient providers on the earliest date they can receive vaccine doses. It is expected that signups could occur by the end of January 2021.
  • RIDOH provided an update on the current status of RI COVID-19 vaccine efforts, announcing 29,743 people have received one dose of vaccine. Close to 1,800 people have received two doses of vaccine and are fully immunized against COVID-19. Supply is very limited. The state is receiving approximately 14,000 doses each week - enough for just over 1% of RI's population. 
  • December 23 - RIDOH is working with municipalities to hold a series of Regional Points of Dispensing (PODs) to vaccinate prioritized populations. RIDOH is seeking licensed medical professionals with prescribing privileges to volunteer at these PODs, but also appreciate other volunteersTo volunteer, please complete this survey. Not everyone who completes the form will be contacted either because of scheduling limitations or because RIDOH may have sufficient volunteers.

View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • December 18 - Governor Raimondo announced the state's current "Pause" will end on Monday, December 21. Due to the 3-week Pause, the test-positive rate in RI is also decreasing
  • December 18 - Governor Raimondo announced that by December 28, the state expects to begin rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to nursing homes and open 5 regional clinics (locations TBD)
  • December 11 - The RI Dept. of Health released updated requirements for quarantining. A person must quarantine if they have been in close contact with COVID-19 (within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period):

View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • November 5 - With the U.S. hitting its first day of over 100,000 daily positive cases, Governor Raimondo announced 566 new confirmed cases in Rhode Island, and 8 deaths. The Governor noted data is trending in the wrong direction – see images in the full newsletter.
  • November 5 - Governor Raimondo announced new restrictions in Rhode Island that take effect on Sunday, November 8 – see images in the full newsletter.
  • November 5 - RI Dept. of Health has worked to find community immunizers willing to offer flu vaccine to homebound patients. Patients who are not able to leave their home can contact participating community immunizers serving particular communities: 
    • South County Home Health, 401-782-0500 (East Greenwich-Westerly with provider order)
    • Coastal Medical at Home Program, 401-330-2480 (Coastal at Home Program patients only)
    • Scituate Health Alliance, 401-721-6102 (Scituate residents only)
    • Cumberland EMS, 401-408-4068 (Cumberland residents only)
    • Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, 401-682-2100 ext. 1470 (Nan Heffenreffer will provide services statewide for all other residents)

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View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • October 9 - The state reminds Rhode Islanders that all state test sites will be closed on Monday, October 12 (this includes the Convention Center, Cumberland Stop & Shop, Newport Stop & Shop, and the Block Island Fire and Rescue Barn. There will be no available appointments on portal.ri.gov. All state K-12 test sites will also be closed on Monday, October 12. Sites will reopen on Tuesday, October 13. Rhode Islanders with symptoms needing to get tested should call their primary care provider, pediatrician, or local respiratory clinic.  
  • October 7 - Governor Raimondo emphasized that when an effective and approved vaccine is ready for distribution, the state will use CARES Act funds and FEMA dollars to set up and deploy a statewide distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine. The Governor will be convening a subcommittee of the state's Vaccine Advisory Committee. The subcommittee will be tasked with an independent methodology for determining the safety and efficacy of the available COVID-19 vaccines, and provide expertise and recommendations for how to most equitably and effectively distribute the vaccine(s). The subcommittee includes epidemiologists, PCPs, pharmacists, pediatricians, LTC advocates, ethicists, nonprofit leaders, school leaders, faith leaders.
  • October 1 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $20 billion in new funding for providers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation, providers that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments will be invited to apply for additional funding that considers financial losses and changes in operating expenses caused by the coronavirus. Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will also be invited to apply, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments. Applications are open now.
  • September 30 - The RI Department of Health launched an extensive campaign to vaccinate 90% of Rhode Islanders against the flu. Flu shots will become available at hundreds of community clinics, schools, COVID-19 testing sites (for asymptomatic people), pharmacies, nursing homes, doctors' offices, and other sites throughout the state. Flu vaccination will lower the chance that someone will have to deal with the serious health consequences of the flu and that Rhode Island's healthcare system will be overburdened with both flu and COVID-19 patients in the coming months. For a list of vaccination clinics and general information about the flu, visit www.health.ri.gov/flu. Evening school clinics are open to the entire community. For information about the flu in Spanish, visit health.ri.gov/gripe. People with additional questions can call RIDOH's Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.

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View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • September 10 - Governor Raimondo confirmed again every school district in Rhode Island has been cleared for full in-person learning for the first day of school on Monday, September 14, except for Providence and Central Falls. A full list of the state's 12 testing sites dedicated for the K-12 education system can be found at www.back2schoolri.com.
  • September 9 - HHS reminded communities the application has been extended for Provider Relief Funds until Sunday, September 13. There is only one portal open to all eligible providers, regardless of billing. The Portal is referred to on the HHS website as the Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distribution. All providers must make an application to the Phase 2 portal by the Sunday deadline, including providers who previously submitted an application to the Medicare portal, but who have not yet received ~2% of revenues from patient care. 
  • September 9 - Governor Raimondo emphasized the seasonal flu vaccine is more important than ever given the ongoing pandemic, stressing the previous 55% adult flu vaccination rate and 75% pediatric rate will not be good enough for this upcoming flu season. The state will be partnering with schools to bring flu shots into schools and health equity zones in urban communities, as well as nursing homes, grocery stores, and working with cities and towns to offer free flu shots. The state is ordering 150,000 additional doses of the flu vaccines for Rhode Islanders.
  • September 2 - Governor Raimondo extended her executive order continuing expanded telemedicine services to October 3.
  • August 31 - Governor Raimondo announced the launch of www.takeitoutsideri.com, a new initiative that is allowing groups and local businesses to reserve open space at RI local and state parks.

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View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
 
  • 08/26/2020 - RIDOH issued guidance that masks with exhalation valves or vents should NOT be worn by health care providers to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control). The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. However, masks with one-way valves or vents allow air to be exhaled through a hole in the material, which can result in expelled respiratory droplets that can reach others, including patients in your care. This type of mask does not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others. The CDC does not recommend using masks for source control if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
  • 08/24/2020 - While a majority of COVID-19 tests are being processed at laboratories, RIDOH is expecting that providers might consider conducting point-of-care COVID-19 tests at their own office to assist in differential diagnosis, patient flow, triage, and workflow. If you currently process COVID-19 tests in your office or plan to do so in the future, you must submit daily reports to RIDOH, electronically. To help RIDOH have a better understanding of how practices are using, or plan to use, on-site COVID-19 testing, please complete this five-minute survey.
  • 08/24/2020 - Governor Raimondo continues to emphasize the need for increasing immunizations for children as Rhode Island reopens schools, particularly with fall around the corner. Next Thursday, September 3, Governor Raimondo will be hosting a Facebook Live discussion with Education Commissioner Infante-Green, Rhode Island Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones, and Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters. 
  • 08/24/2020 - Governor Raimondo announced a new Emergency Education Operations Center (EDOC) for the anticipated reopening of schools. The EDOC will be a 24/7 operation staffed by the RI National Guard, RIDE, RIDOH, RIDOT, RIEMA, and RIPTA to support expertise and resources for local school districts when schools reopen. She has also created a Facilities Readiness Team that will do walkthroughs and inspect every school building before they are allowed to reopen for in-person learning on September 14. RIDOH has developed a 13-page document that covers a full checklist of items needed to pass the readiness inspection found at www.back2schoolri.com.
  • 08/21/2020 - RIDOH has has published more information on general guidance for testing children for COVID-19. The guidance provides information about where and how to schedule a COVID-19 test for a child. The "Testing Children for COVID-19" web page also lists information for Rhode Island families that need to schedule asymptomatic testing to comply with travel requirements.

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View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • 08/13/2020 - Governor Raimondo met with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health via Facebook Live, discussing plans for school, the health benefits of in-person learning, and the precautions that need to be in place to be confident in the safety of Rhode Island schools. Their conversation is now available to be viewed via Facebook or YouTube. Governor Raimondo highlighted concerns surrounding increased child obesity rates, lower vaccination rates, and other pediatric health concerns that the state is working to address during this pandemic.
  • 08/12/2020 - Based on recommendations from the RI Department of Health and RI Department of Education, the Governor is delaying the reopening of schools by two weeks (now scheduled to reopen on Monday, September 14 with the school year concluding on June 25, 2021. The Governor is also pushing back the deadline for determining if a school district will start the school year in-person (or online) from August 16 to August 31. This deadline extension allows the state to make decisions with the best and most up-to-date testing data.
  • 08/12/2020 - Governor Raimondo announced that state is looking to outsource some of the contact tracing infrastructure to quickly ramp-up capacity to meet the needs of the RI Department of Health. Currently, RIDOH and the RI National Guard have between 100-200 people dedicated to the state's contact tracing program/capabilities.
  • 08/07/2020 - RIDOH reiterated that asymptomatic testing has been expanded to every Rhode Islander 18- to 39-years-old. This age group has a higher rate of positive test results than other age groups, and they are more likely to have the virus without having any symptoms. Rhode Islanders within this age group should visit portal.ri.gov to schedule a test.

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View the full briefing here.

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Latest Health-Related News and Media Announcements 
  • 08/05/2020 - Governor Raimondo announced Rhode Islanders must adhere to new travel restrictions for several neighboring states: MA, NJ, CT and NY. Rhode Islanders will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or provide proof of a negative test result within 72 hours. Read more about MA's travel order here.
    • Due to the new travel restrictions, the Governor and RIDOH are launching a new rapid testing program at the RI Convention Center. Starting this afternoon, folks that need a rapid test will be able to schedule a test at www.portal.ri.gov and should receive their results in 24-48 hours.
    • The Governor announced increased enforcement of the inbound travel restrictions to RI, especially since the most recent testing data revealed that 11% of new positive cases were traced back to out-of-state travelers.
    • Beginning August 9, anyone from the states below who check-in at a RI hotel or rental property will need to sign a certificate of compliance verifying that they have a negative test result or that they intend to quarantine - or they will not be able to stay.
  • 08/05/2020 - Due to recent increases in positive cases among 18- to 39-year-olds, RIDOH is urging individuals within this age group to schedule a free asymptomatic COVID-19 test through portal.ri.gov. If someone in this age group (or someone they have been in contact with) has attended a social gathering, traveled to a hot spot, or works in a high-contact setting, they are eligible to schedule an asymptomatic test. They may now select "I am part of an age group that has been asked to get tested" as a reason for requesting an appointment through the online scheduling system.
  • 08/05/2020 - EOHHS has received complaints from consumers about reopened provider practices charging patients fees for costs related to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other CDC infection control recommendations in response to COVID-19. Provider practices should not bill or collect fees from patients for increased costs associated with COVID-19. Unless otherwise stipulated, the Medicaid Program reimbursement is considered payment in full. The provider is not permitted to seek further payment from beneficiaries over the Medicaid Program rate.

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Our Mission

The mission of the Care Transformation Collaborative is to lead the transformation of primary care in Rhode Island in the context of an integrated health care system; and to improve the quality of care, the patient experience of care, the affordability of care, and the health of the populations we serve.