Religious observances disrupted, prison staff test positive

Governor Gina Raimondo at one of her daily briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic. Pool / file photo by Sandor Bodo / The Providence Journal

The Associated Press

Gov. Gina Raimondo directed churches not to make palm branches available for pick-up for Palm Sunday, the Christian holiday that falls on the Sunday before Easter.

Catholic churches in the state had been planning a “grab and go” palm pickup. Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin in a tweet urged parishes to comply with the governor’s order.

Meanwhile, three staff members at the state prison complex in Cranston have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state Department of Corrections.

More than 900 have tested positive for the virus and 25 have died in Rhode Island since the pandemic started, Raimondo said Sunday.

Around New England on Sunday:

A drive-thru coronavirus testing site opened Sunday in the parking lot of Gillette Stadium, the home stadium of the New England Patriots.

The Foxborough site is designated specifically for police officers, firefighters and other first responders and will be able to test up to 200 people a day for free.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Sunday called for a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew citywide for everyone except for essential workers, starting Monday.

Massachusetts prisons have been placed lockdown after a third inmate died Saturday of COVID-19 at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater.

Connecticut is wrestling with unrest at one of its jails and some Maine hospitals are cutting salaries despite the pandemic.

More than 100 inmates at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution have been transferred to other state prisons following unrest at the medium security facility in Enfield.

Two hospitals in northern Maine are cutting pay for hospital staff amid the pandemic.

Doctors, registered nurse anesthetists and administrative staff at Houlton Regional Hospital in Houlton will see a 10% salary cut, as will regular staff — except for nurses and respiratory therapists — at Cary Medical Center in Caribou, the Bangor Daily News reports.

State officials in New Hampshire are closing state-run highway rest stops and welcome centers Sunday at 4 p.m. in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The privately run Hooksett welcome center on I-93 will remain open, however.

A temporary, 400-bed medical facility built by the Vermont National Guard is opening at a fairgrounds.

The first 150-beds at the converted Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction are expected to be ready by Sunday, according to Lt. Col. Chris Gookin, of the state National Guard, which is building the site.