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Rhode Island prison medical director resigns; gyms ordered closed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The state Department of Corrections medical director is stepping down as Rhode Island’s prison system deals with a spike in coronavirus cases.

The Providence Journal reports Dr. Jennifer Clarke’s last day is Friday after working for the department since 1998.

Corrections Director Patricia Coyne-Fague acknowledged Clarke’s departure comes at a challenging time for the department, but thanked her for improvements she made to inmate health care.

Coyne-Fague highlighted Clark’s work implementing the department’s medication-assisted opioid treatment program, which has garnered national attention.

The corrections department reported on Monday that 488 prisoners and 112 staffers had tested positive for the coronavirus in November.

The prison’s maximum security unit is among the hardest hit, the Journal reports. Nearly all of the roughly 350 inmates in the unit have tested positive for the virus.



A gym chain in Rhode Island has been cited for failing to follow Gov. Gina Raimondo’s executive order closing fitness and recreational facilities for two weeks starting Monday.

WPRI-TV reports an inspector with the state’s COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force visited the Lincoln and Warren locations of Maxx Fitness Clubzz on Tuesday and issued a $500 citation to each and ordered them to close.

Owner Matt D’Amico told WJAR-TV he decided to keep his Rhode Island gyms open because he believes the governor’s order is arbitrary. The company also operates gyms in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where D’Amico said the facilities have not been ordered closed.

“We cannot handle another devastating financial impact to our business,” he told the station. “We’ll close. This order will put us out of business.”

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