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Westerly Hospital sees an increase in COVID-19 patients

Westerly Hospital experienced a marked increase in COVID-19 cases this week, with the number of patients being treated for the disease climbing to 15 on Thursday before dropping to 13 Friday.

On Monday, the hospital had six COVID-19 patients.

No physician at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London — Westerly’s sister facility — was available to discuss the numbers Friday afternoon, though an L+M spokesman said the number of COVID-19 patients at hospitals throughout the Yale New Haven Health system have been fluctuating due to the delta variant, which now accounts for the vast majority of new coronavirus cases.

L+M reported Friday it had six COVID-19 patients, its fewest in more than two weeks. Its patient count has steadily decreased from a recent high of 15 on Aug. 25.

In each of its last two weekly reporting periods, the most recent ending Aug. 28, Ledge Light Health District, which covers nine southern New London County municipalities, has reported a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases. 

According to statewide totals released Friday, 665 new cases of the coronavirus disease had been detected since the previous day out of 24,349 test results, a one-day positivity rate of 2.73%. Hospitalizations had increased by eight to 365.

The Westerly Education Center, noting that coronavirus transmission rates in Rhode Island are high due to the prevalence of the delta variant, announced Friday it has scheduled three vaccination clinics at its 23 Friendship St. location.

The clinics, sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Health, the town of Westerly and Westerly public schools, will be from 3 to 6 p.m. next Tuesday; Tuesday, Sept. 28; and Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The vaccines are free and available to the public. Those 12 years of age and older are eligible for inoculation, as are those who are fully vaccinated and eligible for a booster dose.

Beth Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, said the clinics primarily were scheduled for the benefit of those entering the workforce or college. With federal unemployment programs ending and people returning to jobs, many may need to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, she said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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