Town Employee Positive for Virus; Statewide, 277 New Cases

by | Apr 9, 2020

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Town Manager Andrew Nota said today an employee of the town has tested positive for COVID-19 after being home sick for about 10 days. No one who works with the employee has become ill. Nota said the state Dept. of Health had not contacted the town with concerns.

“Everybody seems fine,” he said of other employees in the department. The employee is not yet ready to return to work.

Nota said the town continues to deliver meals to seniors and those with disabilities but the numbers have stabilized, with between 60 and 80 meals most days. It’s just enough for town staff to handle the deliveries, he said. Employees from the Highway Department, Parks & Rec, and senior staff including Nota himself are doing the deliveries. Everyone wears face masks and gloves, he said, noting he keeps a face mask and gloves in his truck. (See related story HERE.)

If you are a senior or disabled or in quarantine and in need of meals or food delivery, contact Charlotte Markey at (401) 886-8669. 

The number of confirmed cases in East Greenwich grew by one, to eight. 

In Rhode Island, there were 277 new cases – by far the state’s largest number. “That’s a reflection of the expanded testing,” said Dept. of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott at Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Thursday press briefing. Tested has indeed increased in recent days, to more than 2,000 a day now. 

The total number of cases in Rhode Island was 1,720 Thursday; 8 people died of COVID-19 illness since Wednesday, for a total of 43 coronavirus-associated deaths in the state. The range of ages of those who died was large, including someone in their 20s with underlying conditions, someone in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s; two people in their 80s died.

As of Thursday, there were 160 people in the hospital with COVID-19; 45 people in intensive care with 38 of those on ventilators. Find all the Thursday data HERE.

Gov. Gina Raimondo holds her daily briefing on the COVID-19 situation. At back left is RI Heath Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. Pool photo: Sandor Bodo / Providence Journal

During the briefing, Raimondo said she had signed a new executive order on quarantining, including some fines for those caught flaunting the quarantine rules. As testing increases, there will be more positive tests and more people placed in isolation (positive cases) or quarantine (because of possible exposure) as a result. 

“It’s the only way we’re going to get to the other side of this crisis,” Raimondo said. “Quarantine means you cannot leave your house.” 

For those who test positive and live with others, that means staying isolated to the best of your ability from the others in your household. 

The new executive order says:

  1. If diagnosed by positive test or by doctor, you must isolate until you are no longer symptomatic (including three days fever-free, w/o medication).
  2. If you have been in contact with someone who’s tested positive, you must quarantine for 14 days.
  3. If you come to Rhode Island from outside the state (however you get here) and plan to stay, you’re ordered to quarantine for 14 days.

“We don’t want to punish anyone. Our goal is to make it easy for you to stay in quarantine, with food delivery and medicine delivery, whatever you need to stay in your house,” Raimondo said. “It’s necessary to keep everybody safe and healthy and alive.”

Raimondo also gave shoutouts to the myriad people on the front lines – not just the first responders, doctors and nurses, but hospital custodians, bus drivers, retail clerks, and construction workers, and the parents who are “trying to keep it all together” while helping their kids with distance learning, running a house and holding down a job or worried about paying the bills because of a lost job.

“You are heroes,” she said.

Here’s the text from Thursday’s RI DOH press release: 

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), made several announcements today about the state’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Governor signed an executive order today that clarifies Rhode Island’s requirements around quarantine and isolation:

– Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 – either by a laboratory test or through symptom assessment by a healthcare provider – must self-isolate. People in isolation must stay at home and stay in isolation for at least seven days. Additionally, someone needs to be fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication, and all their symptoms need to have resolved completely before they can come out of isolation.

– People in quarantine must distance themselves from others, including at home. These people should monitor themselves for symptoms.

– Anyone who has been in close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they present symptoms or not.

RIDOH is developing regulations including a series of fines to ensure compliance with quarantine and isolation requirements. The state is also working to issue guidance for local law enforcement to ensure that quarantine and isolation directives are followed.

COVID-19 Data Update

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 277 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 1,727. RIDOH also announced eight additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. These people ranged in age from their 20s to their 90s. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 43. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online. https://health.ri.gov/data/covid-19/

Key messages for the public

– Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).

– The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.

– Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1.

– When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.

– Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.

– Healthcare workers should not be going to work if they are sick (even with mild symptoms).

– People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).

– 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.

Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

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.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.


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