EG Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude said Wednesday the two firefighters quarantined since last week have been cleared to return to work. In addition, COVID-19 tests on two other firefighters came back negative.

The first two firefighters thought they had been exposed after responding to a car accident in North Kingstown where one of the people involved was a woman had been in self-quarantine. It turned out her quarantine was over but there was a miscommunication. The firefighters went out on quarantine after the incident; the woman was never tested for the coronavirus. The department’s doctor cleared them to return to work Wednesday. (Editor’s Note: This paragraph has been updated since the story first posted – we learned the woman in question had finished her quarantine at the time of the accident.)

Meanwhile, two other firefighters had gone out on quarantine and had gotten tested for COVID-19 after treating and transporting a person who did test positive for the virus. Both firefighters had been self monitoring but then developed symptoms. One of the tests came back negative Tuesday; the second test came back Wednesday. Those firefighters could return to work once illness symptoms are gone.

Firefighters in several cities and towns in Rhode Island have either tested positive for COVID-19 or had to go out on quarantine because of exposure to the virus.

In other local COVID-19 news, Town Manager Andrew Nota issued a Code Red call to town residents clarifying how town fields and parks can be used. On March 28, Gov. Gina Raimondo issued a stay-at-home executive order limiting residents to travel only for work or necessities like groceries. In an interview Wednesday, Nota reiterated that message, saying residents were not to drive to places for recreation. In particular, he cited complaints about youths gathering on fields at East Greenwich High School and adults meeting at Scalloptown Park with their dogs.

“You can only travel for work and necessities. You are not allowed to just travel for recreational purposes,” Nota said. “You are prohibited now from driving to a town park…. Based on local activity, some in the community that needed a reminder.”

He said residents are still able to walk from their homes; if they can walk to a park, they may use the park. Otherwise, they may not.

Nota also outlined a change in trash pickup for the month of April. With everyone at home more these days, households are putting more trash out on pickup days than before. For now, the town’s trash hauler is unable to handle yard waste along with the extra trash and recyclables. So, if you have yard waste, you can bring it to the town’s highway garage on Bear Swamp Road off Frenchtown Road between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It will not be picked up curbside this month.

Nota said he recognized this was an inconvenience but said, “We hope the residents will work with us.” 

Find out information about all COVID-19 related town changes on the town’s website HERE.


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