New COVID-19 Response Measures in Rhode Island
A conference discussing the new protocols was held at the Department of Administration
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – A set of broad measures to help limit the spread and infection of coronavirus were announced on Friday in a press conference held by Governor Raimondo and the Department of Health (DOH).
“All of the COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island at this point are associated with one trip to Italy. However, because this is an evolving global public health situation, we are putting in place a number of additional preparedness and response initiatives,” Governor Raimondo said.
“We are taking extensive measures to ensure the health and Saftey of all Rhode Islanders,” said Raimondo.
- Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 3
- Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 30
- Number of people for whom tests are pending: 12
- Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island because they had direct contact with a person with COVID-19: approximately 250 (Numbers are subject to frequently change)
Testing in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories. Confirmatory testing is being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Positive results are considered ‘presumptive’ if they still need to be confirmed by the CDC.
The governor was joined the RI Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, who said that any of the approximately 200 people in quarantine that want to visit loved ones at a health care facility should not.
They said COVID-19 hits vulnerable populations the hardest.
“If you’re on quarantine do not visit a hospital or a nursing home. I know that’s hard,” Raimondo said.
On top of that, state employees who recently traveled to Italy, China, South Korea, Iran, or Japan in the last two weeks are being required to stay home for 14 days without any symptoms.
Dr. Alexander-Scott is encouraging other employers in the state to follow suit.
“This is something we are asking all employers to consider because it is an effective public health tool that we can activate,” Dr. Alexander-Scott said.
As for planned events, Raimondo said that’s a call that comes down to the decision by the Department of Health.
“People are frequently asking me should we cancel this should we postpone that, the answer is you should call the Department of Health,” Raimondo said.
The governor also requesting schools in the state to refrain from any international travel.
“I’m also calling on all high schools and colleges and other large organizations to cancel organized trips abroad,” she said.
Despite the recent fears, the health department says the risk for the public remains low.
“Just knowing someone or having spoken to someone in the recent past who is now self-quarantining does not put you at risk,” Alexander-Scott said.
The Rhode Island Department of Public health said that although the state has the testing capacity it needs, people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19.
Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by the CDC.
The department also said if residents are with someone who does not have symptoms, the risk of transmission is very low and having respiratory symptoms does not mean it is COVID-19.
If you are feeling any symptoms, health officials said you should not rush over to a health care provider, but rather call your primary care doctor.
If it is after hours, or you are a person who has any questions about covid-19, the Department of Health set up a 24-hour hotline for the virus. That number is: 401-222-8022.
You can also write to the department with any inquires at RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov or visit www.health.ri.gov/covid
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