A look at pandemic-related developments around New England on Saturday:
The city that hosted the Salem witch trials more than three centuries ago will require a negative COVID-19 test for people to attend some large Halloween events, officials said as they brace for the typical influx of visitors in the weeks ahead of the holiday.
The Salem Board of Health voted Friday to require people to have a negative test taken within 72 hours to attend indoor events with more than 100 people at a public space.
The requirement goes into effect on Oct. 1 and lasts through Nov. 1. Masks are required inside all public businesses through mid-November.
“The delta variant is so transmissible. We are seeing an increase in COVID case counts in Salem,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Thankfully, more people are vaccinated, so we’re not seeing the crush of hospitalizations. But those numbers are up, too.”
Details about rapid testing in the area will be announced soon.
Vaccine mandates are in place for some events like the Horror Fest, which includes 50 indoor movies throughout October.
“We’ll do whatever it takes to keep our audience safe,” said Kay Lynch, of Horror Fest. “We’ve capped our audience. We’ve required vaccination. Masks are required indoors.”
New Hampshire House Speaker Sherm Packard is drafting legislation that would prohibit state or local enforcement of federal vaccine mandates.
President Joe Biden recently announced a sweeping vaccine mandate last week that covers more than 100 million Americans, including executive branch employees and workers at businesses with more than 100 people on the payroll.
Packard, R-Londonderry, said that while it is unclear how the order will be implemented and enforced, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature will fight what he called the latest overreach from Washington.
“We have made it clear that government mandates are not the path to successful vaccination rates and will only cause further division in this country,” said Packard, R-Londonderry, who filed the bill title this week.
Packard became speaker of the House after former Speaker Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, died of COVID-19 a week after taking office in December 2020.
An information technology glitch with an outside vendor led to a delay in reporting COVID-19 cases causing Vermont’s daily cases on Thursday to be artificially inflated, state officials said.
Vermont had reported a new, single-day record of 314 new cases that day. The number was inflated by 109, the state said on Friday.
The glitch has been resolved, officials said. After further analysis, state agencies also found that nearly 11,300 Vermonters experienced delays in receiving test results, officials said.