Dr. Warcup provides update on allotment of vaccines

Thu, 01/07/2021 - 6:00pm

Block Island Medical Center Director Dr. Tom Warcup provided an update on the delivery of vaccines to the island during the Town Council’s virtual meeting on Monday, Jan. 4. Last week, the Block Island Medical Center, which is designated as a Covid-19 vaccination site, received its first allotment of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines: a total of 70 doses, with the vaccines distributed within 72 hours for Fire, Rescue and Medical personnel in the community.

“We went through the first round of every [Emergency Medical Service] and Fire personnel that had signed up for the vaccination. We also included individuals that are death care professionals or morticians on the island. We were fortunate, because some individuals were getting vaccinated off-island – we had 10 additional vaccines after we [vaccinated] EMS at the vaccination site. We went right ahead to try to get hold of the most vulnerable of our population – those of 90 years of age,” said Warcup.

He added, after communicating with the Rhode Island Department of Health earlier that day, “there will be an automatic vaccination allotment for those 70 individuals that received vaccines” so that they may receive their second dose.

heir second dose. “Please be patient. We are working through this. We are advocating for gaining more vaccines for the essential workers of the island. We are advocating for those vaccines as fast as we can get them,” said Warcup.

First Warden Andre Boudreau asked if Warcup had an estimated timeline as to when the “community could be fully vaccinated?”

“Given the constraints we have, [is it] looking like our community could see a vaccination for most people by the end of summer?” asked Boudreau.

“I don’t think that is unrealistic” for the end of the summer, said Warcup.

Town Manager asked to speak at RIAC meeting

“We are here tonight to give the Town Manager direction at this [Rhode Island Airport Corporation] meeting,” said Boudreau.

The council addressed RIAC’s Jan. 5 public meeting on a General Aviation Airport Strategic Business Plan for Block Island State Airport, “inviting community members and other stakeholders of outlying general aviation airports to receive an update on RIAC’s strategic business planning process and seek additional community input,” as stated in the organization’s press release dated Dec. 22.

Town Manager Maryanne Crawford announced she would attend RIAC’s meeting on behalf of the council, and asked for some direction from councilors on a statement to present at the meeting.

Second Warden Sven Risom suggested “we reaffirm and vote to reaffirm the 2019 resolution, which talks about that $4.3 million [capital improvement project]. I think we have asked that question many times, and the answer has not been acceptable. I think that this is an opportunity for us to reaffirm and to ask those questions once again,” said Risom.

In a resolution dated April 24, 2019, the Town Council stated its support of restoring RIAC capital improvement program funds related to the $4.3 million ‘Aircraft Parking Apron Refurbishment/Enlargement Project’ at the Block Island State Airport, which had been in the RIAC capital improvement program budget pipeline for many years. The project had been previously identified in 2011 by RIAC due to the need for the refurbishment and expansion of the Aircraft Parking Apron. The construction of the project never started and funds for the project are missing as well.

Chair of the Block Island State Airport Stakeholders’ Group Henry duPont joined the call to provide some insight into the discussion.

“[We need to] resolve this funding issue, and why our $4.3 million ramp improvement project was taken out of the RIAC improvement project,” said duPont.

DuPont recalled that the ramp expansion project first was identified in 2011, and since then, there has been increased deterioration in the airport’s ramp, along with the increased aircraft activity at the Block Island State Airport.

“We only have 25 parking [spaces] for 125 aircraft,” added duPont.

Since the make-up of the town council changed in November’s election Crawford recommended affirming the resolution to show that “the second council has reaffirmed what the first council has agreed on,” said Crawford.

The town council also authorized Crawford to speak on its behalf at the RIAC meeting. 

Discussion on revisions to Home Rule Charter

On Dec. 16 and Dec. 21, the council had participated in lengthy discussions on the proposed changes brought forth for the Town of New Shoreham’s Home Rule Charter by the Charter Review Commission. During the Jan. 4 meeting, the council discussed and acted on the new revisions presented by Town Solicitor Kathy Merolla, after her legal review. The next step in this process is to submit the proposed amendments for presentation to the voters at a special town meeting in March. 

“Last time, the council asked that the town solicitor and staff take a look and come back with comments regarding the amendments,” said Crawford, noting that not all the amendments were present for the Monday, Jan. 4 meeting and were continued to Wednesday, Jan. 6. The proposed revisions to New Shoreham’s Home Rule Charter can be found on ClerkBase under Town Council.

The following sections have been revised and will move forward to the electors of the town with minor language changes in the revisions: Section 301 on Date and Purpose of Financial Town Meeting; Section 302 on Town Moderator and Assistant Moderator; Section 408 on Town Council Powers and Duties; Section 409 on Ordinances; Section 506 on Town Manager Powers and Duties; and Section 907 on Police Advisory Commission. Section 304 on Publication of Financial Town Meeting Warnings was tabled to Wednesday, Jan. 6 for further revision.