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June 24, 2022
Rhode Island COVID-19 Partner Update
Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH is New Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health
On Thursday, June 23, Governor Dan McKee today announced the appointment of Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH as Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).
Dr. Bandy currently serves as the Director of RIDOH’s Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease, and Emergency Medical Services. She has led RIDOH’s infectious disease division since 2012. In that time, she has helped steer the State’s response to the COVID-19 and H1N1 global pandemics, and she has led efforts to prevent or control outbreaks of diseases of significant concern, including tuberculosis, measles, rabies, and meningococcal disease. She has helped guide efforts to dramatically reduce rates of new HIV infections over the last 30 years in Rhode Island, and manages the federal grants received by RIDOH to do routine infectious disease surveillance and response work.
Dr. Bandy completed a pediatric residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health. She joined RIDOH in 1993 as Rhode Island’s State Epidemiologist and the Medical Director for the division that oversaw RIDOH’s infectious disease prevention and control work. She became the Director of RIDOH’s Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 2012.
Dr. Bandy will assume the role of Interim Director on Sunday, June 26. Dr. McDonald’s last day of state service will be July 29. Click here to view the full press release.
COVID-19 Vaccination Recommended for Children Age Six Months Through Five Years
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends COVID-19 vaccination for children younger than age five.
There are two COVID-19 vaccines for children to choose from:
Rhode Island has ordered these vaccines for healthcare providers, hospitals, and independent pharmacies. We expect these vaccines to be available in state the week of June 27. Some retail pharmacies, like Walgreens, and other sites, like CVS Minute Clinics, are vaccinating children younger than five now.
- The Moderna vaccine is for children ages six months through five years. It is two doses, with 28 days between the first and second dose.
- The Pfizer vaccine is for children ages six months through four years. It is three doses, with 21 days between the first and second dose and at least eight weeks between the second and third dose.
Please speak with your healthcare provider about whether they are providing COVID-19 vaccines for these age groups. You can also find a clinic near you at Vaccines.Gov. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit C19VaccineRI.org.
Upcoming Community Vaccination Clinics
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is transitioning back to traditional partners and settings for COVID-19 vaccination, just like we do with other vaccines. This means going to a pharmacy or a healthcare provider’s office to get vaccinated for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available across the state. Beginning July 1, please reach out to a healthcare provider to make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. You can also find COVID-19 vaccines at Vaccines.Gov
Community partners who are interested in hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic may contact the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Office of Immunization at RIDOH.C19VaxClinics@health.ri.gov. RIDOH will provide a list of mass immunizers with whom you can work to host a clinic. This is similar to how we support flu vaccination clinics.
C19VaccineRI.org will continue to be a resource for COVID-19 vaccine information and guidance. *The below clinic schedule may change. For the most complete and up to date community clinic information through June 30, please click on Upcoming Community Vaccination Clinics at C19VaccineRI.org.*
Saturday, June 25
Sunday, June 26
- Blessed Sacrament Church, 239 Regent Avenue, Providence. 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna, J&J)
- CCRI Lincoln, 1762 Old Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln. 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- CCRI Newport, 1 John H Chaffee Boulevard, Newport. 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- CCRI Warwick, 400 East Avenue, Warwick. 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Rose Larisa Park, 701 Bullocks Point Avenue, Riverside. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
Monday, June 27
- Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, 177 Hanover Street, Providence. 10 a.m. – 12 pm. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Peace Dale Congregational Church, 261 Columbia Street, South Kingstown. 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, 291 High Street, Pawtucket. 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
Tuesday, June 28
- Amos House Block Party, 460 Pine Street, Providence. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Moderna, J&J)
- Bethel AME, 30 Rochambeau Avenue, Providence. 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
Wednesday, June 29
- Pemberton Place, 45 Pemberton Avenue, Jamestown. 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Conexion Latina Newport, 170 Broadway, Newport. 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
Thursday, June 30
- McCoy Stadium, 1 Columbus Avenue, Pawtucket. 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna, J&J)
- West End Community Center, 109 Bucklin Street, Providence. 3:40 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Weaver Library, 41 Grove Street, East Providence. 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- Harris Public Library, 303 Clinton Street, Woonsocket. 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna)
- West Greenwich Summer Concert Series, 270 Victory Highway, West Greenwich. 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Pfizer 12+, Pfizer 5 through 11, Moderna, J&J)
Travelers are no longer required to provide proof of a negative test result before boarding a flight to the US. Before traveling internationally, travelers should make sure they’re up to date on their recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses. For more information, visit covid.ri.gov/travel.
State Test Sites to Close on June 30
As part of its strategy to address COVID-19 as a manageable endemic disease, RIDOH recently announced its plan for the transition of State-supported testing to traditional partners and settings for providing COVID-19 services. Pending a final evaluation of public health conditions later this month, testing will transition from State-run COVID-19 test sites to multiple traditional health care channels and self-testing options on July 1, 2022.
The State is fully prepared to reopen certain mass testing sites for symptomatic individuals if COVID-19 Community Levels are high. If most of the State moves to the "high" Community Level at the end of the month, sites will remain open until Community Levels return to medium. For information about other COVID-19 testing options, like pharmacies and self-test kits, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.
RIDOH Highlights HIV Testing Events and Services in Observance of National HIV Testing Day
On June 27 each year, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) observe National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), a day to emphasize and encourage HIV testing. This year’s theme is “HIV Testing is Self-care.” Self-care is defined by the World Health Organization as “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
Some of RIDOH’s funded community partner agencies are holding testing events for National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
In addition, RIDOH’s Testing 1-2-3 program is available to Rhode Islanders who wish to get tested for HIV and other STIs without a trip to a doctor’s office. With the TESTING 1-2-3 program, RIDOH has made HIV and STI testing as easy as possible in three steps:
- AIDS Care Ocean State will be at Walgreens at 533 Elmwood Ave., Providence, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. offering testing, free condom distribution, and informational pamphlets. Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS, a public information initiative of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), are teaming up with health departments and community organizations in more than 250 cities, including Providence, to host the largest coordinated National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) event in the nation.
- Project Weber/RENEW will be offering free HIV testing at its drop-in centers, located at 124 Broad Street, Pawtucket and 640 Broad Street, Providence, as well as at the Amos House Block Party, 460 Pine Street, Providence from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. $10 gift cards are available for people getting tested.
- (On June 25,) AIDS Care Ocean State will be offering free, rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing, free condom distribution and informational pamphlets at the first West Warwick Pride event at the West Warwick Civic Center from 12 noon-4 p.m.
- Complete the online form.
- Go to the clinical laboratory you have chosen (note: this is not a free service).
- Results of the tests will be sent to you via e-mail.
The physician’s order is automatically generated and sent to the clinical lab that the person requests on the form. For more information about Testing 1-2-3, visit https://www.testing123ri.com. Rhode Islanders interested in at-home HIV testing may request an in-home HIV test kit online through AIDS Project Rhode Island at https://aidsprojectri.org/get-tested/at-home/.
As required under the Affordable Care Act, HIV screening is covered by health insurance. For uninsured people, free testing is available at many community health centers and other locations. Visit health.ri.gov/hiv and health.ri.gov/sti to learn more.
New Web Page for Ukrainian Newcomers
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supporting the arrival of displaced Ukrainians, working closely with partners in federal, state, and local government; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector. Ukrainian newcomers may be admitted to the United States on several different categories, including humanitarian parole through the Uniting for Ukraine program, or may have refugee status. The Rhode Island Department of Health has created a web page to help raise awareness of required and recommended health screenings and to provide resources to clinicians and others working with refugees, including Ukrainian newcomers.
Drug Overdose and Substance Use Prevention News
RIDOH Issues Public Health Alert For Increased Non-Fatal Overdose Activity
On June 22, RIDOH and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH) issued a Public Health Alert due to increased non-fatal opioid activity in Burrillville, Foster, Glocester, and Scituate. This Alert is prompted by an exceedance of the region’s opioid threshold for a seven-day period, from June 12, 2022 to June 18, 2022. For more information, click here to see the full alert.
RIDOH’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program to Offer Mini-grants
RIDOH’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program is offering mini-grants of $4,950 or less to qualified community-based organizations to support projects that address the overdose epidemic in Rhode Island. Eligible applicants are nonprofit organizations or government entities with demonstrated experience providing services, support, and engagement to populations affected by overdose in our state. Project proposals are due Friday, July 8 by 5 p.m. Visit health.ri.gov/rfp to learn more and apply.
Governor McKee’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Newsletter
Read the latest Task Force newsletter and get caught up on this month’s meeting highlights, including a detailed look at Rhode Island’s 2021 fatal overdose data, a community discussion on Opioid Settlement funding, and a link to the Governor’s feedback survey on the opioid settlement. The newsletter also connects you to Task Force work group happenings, upcoming events, and local resources. If someone you know would like to sign up to receive this newsletter, please share this link.
Download RIDOH’s Latest Podcast
This week’s guest expert on the Public Health Out Loud podcast is Dr. Natasha Rybak, the director of the RISE Clinic for Tuberculosis in Rhode Island. She describes how tuberculosis spreads, how it’s treated, and who’s most at risk. She also talks about her work with the Brown University Ukraine Collaboration, which works with Ukrainian health providers to address the challenges of the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis epidemics for children, women, and their family members in Ukraine. How has the war impacted tuberculosis research in Ukraine? Download this week’s episode to find out.