RI finds 4 new cases of UK coronavirus variant; McKee gets vaccinated

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Four new cases of the U.K. coronavirus variant were found in Rhode Island Tuesday, R.I. Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken confirmed.

These new cases bring the total number of the U.K. variant cases in the state to seven, with the first one being identified in mid-February.

The new COVID-19 data provided by the R.I. Department of Health Tuesday showed increases in two of the three weekly metrics being closely tracked.

Percent positivity by week ticked up from 2% last week to 2.1% this week, while new cases per 100,000 residents increased from 214 to 241.

Meanwhile, new hospital admissions by week continued to decline, going from 176 last week to 125 this week.

On Tuesday, the Health Department reported 264 new coronavirus cases and a daily positivity rate of 2.7%, with roughly 9,600 tests administered the previous day.

Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Rhode Island’s first announced case of COVID-19, and the state also surpassed 3 million coronavirus tests since the start of the pandemic.

Another eight people in the state have died after contracting the virus, health officials said, bringing the reported death toll to 2,525.

Current hospitalizations dropped to 157 patients, of which 25 are in the intensive care unit and 17 are on ventilators.

The data also showed nearly 194,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to date and roughly 78,000 people are now fully vaccinated.

Wendelken said the state received an increase in the Pfizer vaccine from 12,870 first doses last week to 14,040. He added there was no increase in Moderna.

“Any additional amount of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Rhode Island is good news,” Wendelken said. “It will mean that we can vaccinate more Rhode Islanders quickly.”

Wendelken said the state has not yet determined which channels will receive the additional vaccine, but they plan to figure it out soon so they can, “get this additional vaccine into the arms of Rhode Islanders as quickly as possible.”

Hours before he was sworn in as the 76th governor of Rhode Island, Dan McKee and his wife received their first dose of the vaccine.

“We all know the fastest way to defeat this enemy called COVID-19 is through getting shots,” he said. “I just went through the vaccination site there and it was quick and simple.”

The city of Providence expanded their eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at its clinics to residents 50 and older for residents who live in some of the city’s high-density communities.

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