RI doctor says proposed mask mandate is ‘a good idea’ for Block Island & entire state

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WLNE) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise again regionally, another popular tourist destination is considering bringing back a mask mandate.

Block Island could soon be joining Provincetown, Mass. with an indoor mask mandate.

The island’s medical advisor is drafting one up that will be discussed and voted on by the New Shoreham town council at their meeting on Thursday. 

This comes after 11 new cases of covid-19 were traced back to the island in just the past 2 weeks.

While that may not sound like a lot, it’s a significant number considering the island had 44 cases total in the previous 16 months. 

“It’s a huge concern,” said Dr. Laura Forman, the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Kent Hospital.

“Eleven cases on Block Island might not sound like a lot, but remember that’s how this thing started — with just one case in Rhode Island and that can explode pretty rapidly.”

Dr. Forman tells ABC6 that case numbers have increased across the state, however most hospitalizations occurred to patients who were not vaccinated.

“It pains me to say it, but I think it is a good idea to go back to mask mandates for a lot of places indoors,” Dr. Forman said.

“Outdoors it doesn’t really make sense to have a mask mandate unless you’re in a crowd of people for a sustained period of time,” Dr. Forman continued, “but indoors, it makes a lot of sense.”

While case numbers on Block Island are rising, Dr. Forman says it’s still safe to visit if you’re fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island