RIDOH: 19 positive coronavirus cases across 18 schools since reopening

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Gina Raimondo held her first press conference Wednesday since reopening most schools to in-person learning on Monday.

“By and large we’re having a great week and we had an excellent return to school,” said Raimondo, flanked by Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott and Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green.

The three discussed the positive cases among schools in the last two days.

“Over 100,000 Rhode Island children chose in-person learning, and, faced with these unprecedented obstacles, most schools across the state stepped up and delivered for these kids.”

RIDOH reports that there have been 19 positive cases of coronavirus since Monday. Of those 19 cases, 12 were among students and seven were among teachers and staff.

“These first 19 cases have occurred across just 18 schools which means we haven’t had large clusters of cases occur,” said Dr. Alexander-Scott.

Dr. Alexander-Scott said of the 19 positive cases, 8 were identified through the state’s K-12 rapid testing system. The other 11 positive cases were identified through other testing sites. The 14 K-12 testing sites set up specifically for public and private school students, families and staff members tested around 300 people in the last two days.

“Listen, we will continue to see cases in schools. Just as we’ve seen cases all summer long. But based on what we’re seeing, I’m confident we have the systems in place to handle it,” said Raimondo.

One of the positive cases was at Carnevale Elementary School in Providence. A staff member started feeling sick while in school, Dr. Alexander-Scott said. She used that case as an example of just how rapid the K-12 testing system is.

“That person was scheduled for a test, got swabbed and tested, and the results back all in the same day.”

She said the state’s team of contact tracers and contact investigators got ahold of all close contacts by that evening.

That’s the kind of speediness that Raimondo said is key to living with this virus.

“We want to get to a place where someone can test positive, we do our system to keep a lid on the virus, and school continues.”

To schedule a COVID-19 test in the K-12 testing system, call 844-857-1814 to set up an appointment.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island