State, colleges partner to get students, staff vaccinated

Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Department of Health is partnering with nine colleges and universities across the state to make getting a coronavirus vaccine as easy as possible for all students, faculty and staff before the end of the spring semester.

Under the program announced Thursday, schools will either hold on-campus vaccination clinics, or will provide free shuttle service from campus to vaccination sites.

“Now that vaccine eligibility is open to all people 16 and older who live, work, or go to school in Rhode Island, it’s important that we get our young people who live in congregate settings vaccinated,” Gov. Daniel McKee said in a statement.

For example, Brown University is participating at a designated day at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence by providing shuttle service to the clinic. Roger Williams University is partnering with the town of Bristol to host an on-campus clinic.

Bryant University, the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, Community College of Rhode Island, New England Institute of Technology, Rhode Island College, and the Rhode Island School of Design are also participating in the program.

Many colleges are requiring students to be vaccinated before returning to campus for the fall.

There is no cost to get vaccinated, and participants do not need health insurance.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA

The total number of known coronavirus cases in Rhode Island has surpassed 148,000, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

The agency reported almost 300 new known cases and two more virus-related deaths from the previous day, for a total of 2,671 fatalities.

The true number of cases is likely higher because studies suggest some people can be infected and not feel sick.

The number of people in the state’s hospitals with the disease was 143 as of Wednesday, the latest day for which the information is available, down from 151 the previous day.

Almost 382,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the state, about 35% of the total population, although people who work or go to school in the state are also eligible, the department said.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has now plummeted over the past two weeks, from 458 on April 14 to 267 on Wednesday, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins.