By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The state Dept. of Health said Saturday there were fewer than five cases of COVID-19 in East Greenwich, the first confirmed cases in the town. (DOH does not indicate how many actual cases until the number is at least in five.) The total number of confirmed cases stood at 239 Saturday, with the understanding that only priority cases – those in the hospital, health care workers, and those living or working in congregant living centers like nursing homes – are being tested. (Data from all cities and towns as well as additional information available below.)
Meanwhile, Fire Chief Bernie Patenaude said Saturday two more firefighters had to go into quarantine. They were exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Both firefighters have symptoms and are getting tested this weekend.
The first two firefighters quarantined remain out; the woman they treated had not been tested.
“If it gets really bad,” Patenaude said about losing firefighters to quarantine and/or illness, “we can reach out to retired guys. They could work up to 75 days.”
Town Manager Andrew Nota has been raising the alarm of just such a situation for the past two weeks. He has been talking with other municipalities to come up with ways to help each other out in the event one town loses key personnel temporarily due to the coronavirus.
The R.I. Dept. of Health’s press release, 3/28/20:
Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Dr. Alexander-Scott today made several announcements about the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Stay At Home: The Governor has issued a stay-at-home order until April 13. This means that all Rhode Islanders should stay home unless getting food, medicine, gas, or going to work.
- Domestic travel: Earlier this week, the Governor ordered anyone coming to Rhode Island from New York by any mode of transportation to quarantine for 14 days. Today, the Governor expanded upon that order. Executive Order 20-12 entitled “Tenth Supplemental Emergency Declaration – Quarantine Restrictions on Travelers from New York State” is hereby repealed in its entirety.
- Starting immediately, any person coming to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation after visiting another state for a non-work-related purpose must self-quarantine for 14 days. This restriction will not apply to public health, public safety or healthcare workers.
- Realtors and hotel operators are directed to include quarantine requirements for any out-of-state renters in their rental agreements.
- Commuters: Those who are able to work from home should do so, and anyone commuting in and out of the state for work should remain in their home when not at work.
- Gatherings: Starting immediately, all gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. Individuals should be interacting with the same people every day to minimize the risk of spread. This order does not apply to healthcare workers in a workplace setting, public transportation or office buildings. However, people must practice social distancing at all times.
- Businesses: Starting Monday, all non-critical retail businesses must shut down their stores. This includes clothing stores and gift shops. A full list of businesses that must close their in-person operations can be found here. This does not impact restaurants or bars, which are still allowed to open for takeout or delivery only.
Dr. Alexander-Scott also clarified that Rhode Islanders under quarantine should not leave their homes for any reason.
Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 36 additional cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 239.
Rhode Island COVID-19 data is available online.
- Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 239
- Number of Rhode Islanders who had negative test results: 2,541
- Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,500.
Distribution of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients by city/town of residence:
- Barrington – 6
- Bristol – fewer than 5
- Burrillville – 7
- Central Falls – fewer than 5
- Charlestown – fewer than 5
- Coventry – 5
- Cranston – 27
- Cumberland – 7
- East Greenwich – fewer than 5
- East Providence – 10
- Exeter – 0
- Foster – fewer than 5
- Glocester – fewer than 5
- Hopkinton – fewer than 5
- Jamestown – fewer than 5
- Johnston – 5
- Lincoln – fewer than 5
- Little Compton – 0
- Middletown – 6
- Narragansett – fewer than 5
- New Shoreham – 0
- Newport – 5
- North Kingstown – 8
- North Providence – fewer than 5
- North Smithfield – fewer than 5
- Pawtucket – 11
- Portsmouth – fewer than 5
- Providence – 59
- Richmond – 0
- Scituate – fewer than 5
- Smithfield – 5
- South Kingstown – 8
- Tiverton – 5
- Warren – fewer than 5
- Warwick – 14
- West Greenwich – 0
- West Warwick – 5
- Westerly – 5
- Woonsocket – fewer than 5
Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients who are currently hospitalized:
- As the volume of cases increases, RIDOH may move to providing abbreviated data updates daily and more detailed data updates weekly.
- The number of COVID-19 patients in a city or town should not be used to draw any conclusions about relative risk in different cities and towns. All Rhode Islanders should continue to take all the COVID-19 precautions that have been shared by RIDOH.
Key messages for the public
- If you have traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.
- If you are ordered to quarantine, that means you are ordered to stay inside. If you need to get food or pick up medicine, you need to call a loved one or neighbor who can run that errand for you. Respecting and following quarantine rules will help Rhode Island try to ensure that there are enough hospital beds when there is a surge of patients who are ill with COVID-19.
- Avoid all crowded places, large events, and mass gatherings. This is social distancing. However, people should continue doing essential errands (such as going to the grocery store).
- Through March 30th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)
- Due to the closure of schools, free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. More information is available online.
- Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.
- People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
- People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
- Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC’s guidance for people older than 60 years of age:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
o When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.
o Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
o Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
o More information is available from CDC.
o People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to [email protected], or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public.
- Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.
o Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
o Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
o Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
o Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
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