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Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island surpass 100,000

PROVIDENCE (AP) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Rhode Island has surpassed 100,000 according to state Department of Health data released Monday.

There were nearly 3,000 new cases and 31 more virus-related deaths in the state over the past three days, the department said, and there have now been 1,947 fatalities. The agency does not update its data on the weekend.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The latest seven-day average positivity rate in Rhode Island is 7.08%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from almost 733 on Dec. 27 to more than 791 on Sunday, according to the project.

The state has now administered more than 30,000 first doses of coronavirus vaccine, according to Monday's statement.

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EXPENSIVE CONSULTANT

The state is paying more than three-quarters of a million dollars to help Rhode Island College deal with a $10 million deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

New York-based Alvarez & Marsal was hired by the state Council on Postsecondary Education on Dec. 14, and will earn $76,000 a week until its contract expires Feb. 28, The Boston Globe reported Monday.

“The need for this analysis stems from operational and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated structural issues at the college,” according to the contract.

The school announced last summer that the deficit would lead to executive pay cuts, layoffs and a hiring freeze.

Council Chairman Tim DelGiudice defended the contract, saying the board is “concerned about the magnitude of the deficit at RIC," and the consultant is getting paid fairly.

Democratic State Rep. William O’Brien called the contract “absolutely ridiculous” and said the legislature struggled to find an extra $600,000 for the school in the last budget. The money should have been spent on student scholarships, he said.

College President Frank Sanchez said he hopes the consultant can help the school become more efficient and the college doesn’t have the internal resources to conduct the same kind of review.

 

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