URI cancels spring break; nursing homes to take on testing

KINGSTON, R.I. (AP) — A look at developments related to the coronavirus in New England on Saturday.


The University of Rhode Island has joined a growing number of U.S. colleges canceling spring break to reduce travel and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

University officials announced the measure Friday evening, a week after the Faculty Senate approved the change, according to The Providence Journal. It was also supported by university President David Dooley.

Classes will continue from March 22 to 28, the period originally set aside as spring break, and the semester will end on April 27, a week earlier than initially planned.

In a statement announcing the change, officials cited “uncertainty” created by the virus, “and the need to prepare for the likely persistence of existing outbreaks and potential for a new wave of infections.”

Several large universities have announced similar measures in recent weeks, including Ohio State University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.



Nursing homes in New Hampshire will be in charge of testing their staff for the coronavirus starting next month.

The state Department of Health and Human Services has been operating a surveillance testing program in long term care facilities, but in mid-October will start transitioning that to individual facilities, Commissioner Lori Shibinette said last week.

The state is recommending facilities test all staff during the same week once a month, and then every other week test 10% of staff chosen at random. The state will reimburse them at $100 per test, she said.

Having the nursing homes run their own programs will allow the state to start similar surveillance programs elsewhere, including in assisted living communities and correctional facilities, Shibinette said.

As many as 20 nursing homes once were dealing with coronavirus outbreaks at

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PG&E prepares to cut power to nearly 100,000 homes in California

a plane flying in the air with smoke coming out of it: MailOnline logo

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Pacific Gas & Electric warned they may have to cut power to almost 100,000 homes in Northern California with strong winds and warm temperatures creating a risk of new wildfires. 

Company officials made the announcement on Friday, saying that ‘hot and dry conditions, combined with expected high wind gusts, pose an increased risk for damage to the electric system that has the potential to ignite fires in areas with dry vegetation.’ 

PG&E say power may be shut off to up to 97,000 customers in 16 counties between Sunday morning and Monday, according to The Los Angeles Times.  

PG&E fear strong winds could down power lines and spark new blazes across the weekend

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PG&E fear strong winds could down power lines and spark new blazes across the weekend

Counties which could be affected include Napa, northeast of San Francisco.  


Load Error

When heavy winds were predicted earlier this month, PG&E cut power to about 167,000 homes and businesses in central and Northern California in a more targeted approach after being criticized last year for acting too broadly when it blacked out 2 million customers to prevent fires.

PG&E equipment has sparked past large wildfires, including the 2018 fire that destroyed much of the Sierra foothills town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

This year, Northern California has been battling through the worst wildfire season on record. 

The North Complex Fire has torched more than 304,000 acres and is 78 percent contained. At least 15 people have died after being caught up in the inferno. 

The August Complex Fire has burned through a whopping 867,000 acres and is only 38 percent contained. One firefighter was killed while working to train and contain that blaze.

Wildfires aren’t the only reason why California residents have been experiencing deliberate power outages in recent months. 

Back in August, PG&E

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Nursing homes to organize their own COVID testing as state focuses on testing in jails, homeless shelters | Health

The state Department of Health and Human Services has been negotiating with COVID-19 testing labs to run the state’s regular testing of nursing home staff, but announced last week that nursing homes will soon have to organize those tests themselves.

Each facility will make its own contracts with testing labs, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette told nursing home administrators in a phone conference last week, and the state will reimburse up to $100 per test.

“It still provides the funding and the support that is needed to have a good surveillance program,” Shibinette said.

In the event of another outbreak at a nursing home, Shibinette said, the state will again organize and pay for testing. The state provided nursing home administrators with a list of labs that can process tests and contact information for each, and Shibinette expects most nursing homes to have contracts and be running their own testing programs in two weeks.

Shibinette said she hoped turning over that responsibility to nursing homes would free up the state’s capacity to organize regular testing in other congregate living settings, including homeless shelters and jails, to detect more cases early.

The state still dictates how often the tests need to be conducted, what kinds of tests are used and how many staff need to be tested.

Every fourth week, all nursing homes will have to test their entire staff. On the other weeks, nursing homes will randomly pick 10% of their staff to get tested.

But the cost of testing can vary. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center charges $102 for COVID tests, according to the hospital’s website. A review of COVID test prices by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation found wide variation in how much tests cost. Some providers charge less than $50 per

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EU Court Backs Paris Regulations on Airbnb Rentals

The European Union’s top court backed a Parisian measure that regulates renting second homes on Airbnb. (iStock)

The European Union’s top court backed a Parisian measure that regulates renting second homes on Airbnb. (iStock)

The European Union’s top court ruled against two Parisian Airbnb hosts in a decision that could impact the short-term rental business’s operations throughout the continent.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favor of a Paris measure that requires property owners to get city approval to rent a second home on Airbnb, Reuters reported.

Parisian officials had fined two apartment owners for failing to secure those approvals. Airbnb was not a party to the case.
The issue went to a French court, which requested guidance on the issue. The CJEU said the measure was consistent with EU law and justified because it was “proportionate, limited in material and geographical scope, and doesn’t cover the rental of primary homes,” according to Reuters.

“Combating the long-term rental housing shortage constitutes an overriding reason relating to the public interest justifying such legislation,” the CJEU said.

The Parisian measure was designed to combat the loss of affordable housing in the city, since landlords can ask for higher rates on short-term stays than they can for traditional leases. Other cities, including Los Angeles, have instituted similar regulations on Airbnb rentals to combat affordable housing problems.

In a statement, Airbnb said that it welcomed the ruling to “help clarify the rules for hosts who share secondary homes in Paris.” It said the ruling would have little to no impact on its business in the city because most hosts rent their primary residences, but it’s unclear how it could affect short-term rentals in other European cities. [Reuters] — Dennis Lynch

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Triangle Parade of Homes kicks off this weekend ::

— Hundreds of homes are available for viewing in the Triangle starting this weekend at the Parade of Homes.

Homes on the tour range from two bedroom to five bedrooms. The most expensive home on the map is featured at $2.8 million.

The smallest home available for viewing is at 800 square feet and the largest home on the list is at more than 9,000 square feet.

Due to the coronavirus, some homes on the tour might not be available for in-person viewing. It’s best to check with each location before you go to make sure the viewing is still open.

To plan your Parade of Homes tour, view the parade of homes map. Click the homes you would like to create your custom tour.

You can generate your parade map through Google Maps.

You can also view the homes virtually. Some presenters are showing homes through a 3D map.

The tours feature more than 200 homes and 113 builders.

The event runs Sept. 26 through the 27, and the first two weekends in October from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’re thinking buying a new home, or if you are looking at revamping your home and need inspiration, you might want to check out this event.

The Triangle Parade of Homes waived entry fee for the Habitat for Humanity of Wake County to “showcase what affordable homes look like in our community.”

Habitat Wake will also be doing a raffle onsite at their locations in Garner.

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