That means there are outbreaks of the flu in more than half the state. It also kicks into effect a state requirement that health care professionals who have NOT been vaccinated wear surgical masks whenever they’re in contact with patients. The health department reports that flu-related hospitalizations are up as well.
Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange reports that more than 9800 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health coverage with private insurance plans to date. And while you might have missed the deadline to get covered as of January 1st, enrollment remains open through March 31st.
While the flu is now widespread in Massachusetts, it’s still sporadic in Rhode Island. But 16 Rhode Islanders have already been hospitalized, and officials expect the number of cases to spike.
Health department officials say so far there have been no flu deaths, but in past years flu has killed well over a hundred people in Rhode Island. They say one of this year’s dominant strains in Rhode Island and nationally is H1N1, but that’s also one of the strains this year’s vaccine protects against.
C. Difficile is a highly contagious infection people can catch in hospitals or after taking antibiotics. It sickens many and kills about 14,000 people every year. But there’s hope for preventing these infections as a new vaccine moves into the clinical trial phase. The Miriam Hospital is participating in the trial.
Rhode Island Hospital and the entire Lifespan network have announced new guidelines for prescribing painkillers in their emergency rooms. ER doctors are trying to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction.
A bit more than 2600 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI. That's a fraction of everyone who’s eligible-- 2%, to be exact, of the estimated 125,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders who could sign up for coverage on Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange.
Rhode Islanders have just 12 days left to enroll in health insurance coverage through the state’s online marketplace, HealthSource RI, if they want to be covered as of January 1st. HealthSource RI officials say most applicants should find the process problem-free.
You’ve probably heard about the technical problems that have plagued the federal health insurance exchange – healthcare.gov. But not so in Rhode Island, says HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick.