This Just In: Council to vote on Providence vaccine mandate; inside RI's stressed ICUs

·4 min read

Good afternoon and welcome to This Just In. I'm Mike McDermott, managing editor of The Providence Journal and golly, it's starting to get nasty outside. It won't be getting much better this weekend either.

Later tonight the Providence City Council is voting on an ordinance that would seek to limit how many employees could lose their job as a result of Mayor Jorge Elorza's vaccine mandate; we'll have coverage of that vote later tonight on The ordinance is backed by council President John Igliozzi, who is also taking issue with Elorza's plans for spending the city's coronavirus aid money.

The Rhode Island Department of Health today reported 12 more coronavirus-related deaths and 5,805 additional cases of COVID-19, along with 25,610 negative tests, for an 18.5% positive rate. There were 499 COVID-positive patients in Rhode Island hospitals at last count, up from 484 reported yesterday. Rhode Island is averaging 5,149 cases per day over the last seven days; the seven-day case average declined slightly for the fourth straight day.

The number of COVID hospitalizations in Rhode Island has now nearly matched the all-time peak from mid-December 2020, a time when the state was operating two COVID field hospitals. The patient caseload, combined with hundreds of staff vacancies, and hundreds more staff members out sick, has put an acute strain on the doctors and nurses in Rhode Island hospitals. Our health-care reporter, G. Wayne Miller, recently spoke to some of them about their experiences. Wayne also found many different ways that health-care professionals are trying to cope with the stress from their jobs.

Nicholas Alahverdian, who was arrested at a hospital in Scotland last month, began calling reporters claiming that he was about to die just weeks after investigators in Utah started trying to find him in connection with an alleged rape.

Burying a 10-ton whale that washed up on a remote, rocky beach? It wasn't easy, but the DEM found a way to do it. Determining whether the 10-ton animal is male or female? You'd think that would be easier, but the experts got it wrong at first.

Could taxpayers be on the hook for some or all of a $46-milllon judgment against the Rhode Island Airport Corporation in a carbon-monoxide poisoning case? If the corporation's insurance company has its way, the answer would be yes.

After a three-year absence, the airshow is returning the Quonset State Airport. But this time, the formerly free event will come with a substantial price tag.

The director of the state Department of Labor and Training predicts that Rhode Island will be back to full employment by the end of this year.

The FBI is seeking the public's help as it investigates the killing of a Providence man in North Carolina.

I'm not sure I'd suggest a hike this weekend, but file away this week's Walking RI column for future reference. It's about a spot in Exeter with stunning views of two states.

Amy Russo may be fairly new to our state, but she knows more songs that mention Rhode Island than I do. And in her latest New to RI adventure, she plays one of them on her guitar.

The Patriots are 4½-point underdogs in their playoff game against the Bills in frigid Orchard Park, New York, tomorrow night. Kickoff is at 8:15. Even if you're not in the habit of watching the offensive lineman, it's hard to miss Trent Brown, the Pats' 6-8, 380-pound right tackle. Playoff stress probably isn't going to mean all that much to Brown; as Mark Daniels writes, it's nothing compared to what Brown endured when he helped save his brother's life following a horrific ATV accident.

I'm planning on watching the game from the warmth of my own living room, but if you feel like venturing out, here are some great places to catch the game and get a beer, or a bite. (And if you feel like staying home, here are some football food suggestions. We're so helpful.)

Have a great weekend. And remember, if you enjoy This Just In, you can thank me by cheering for the Eagles on Sunday. Or you could just encourage a friend to sign up.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Council to vote on Providence vaccine mandate; inside RI stressed ICUs

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