Raimondo blasts Providence College, says Covid outbreak impacts entire state
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Gina Raimondo called out Providence College in her Wednesday afternoon coronavirus press briefing, saying student’s behavior has resulted in a large outbreak that is now impacting the entire state.
In the past week, there have been 150 new positive cases of Covid-19 reported at Providence College and 40 new positive cases at the University of Rhode Island.
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have now put Rhode Island back on their travel advisory lists.
“We’re all feeling the consequences of thee outbreaks at Providence College and to a lesser extend URI,” Raimondo told reporters Wednesday.
“Without those cases, our overall case numbers were stable — actually declining,” Raimondo elaborated.
The governor did admit, that New York and Connecticut rely on incident rates, not just positivity rates for the virus, which makes things difficult for Rhode Island, who does more testing than either state and thus has a higher number of cases.
“Here’s an important point,” Raimondo said about the Providence College outbreaks. “There was no big party.”
“People were in small groups, but those groups were not consistent and they weren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing,” the governor explained.
Raimondo pointed to triple-decker student houses on Eaton Street near Providence College, saying students were getting together on front lawns, backyards, and balconies, but weren’t social distancing or wearing masks.
Now all students at Providence College are under a stay-at-home order and 120 students have been moved to isolated housing.
The governor also addressed the first week of school for K-12 students, noting that more remote learners tested positive for Covid-19 than in-person learners.
“At this point, we are not seeing transmission within schools,” she said.
She also addressed ventilation issues in schools, pointing to new research which indicates that windows and box fans provide adequate airflow needed to keep kids safe in the classroom.
As of Wednesday, Rhode Island’s positivity rate for Covid-19 was 1.5%, which Raimondo says is among the lowest rates in the country.