PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) reports a third person associated with the Saint Raphael Academy trip to Italy in mid-February, a 20-year-old woman, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Because the woman is a Massachusetts resident, the test was done by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, RIDOH reports. The woman is recovering at home. This individual is considered a presumptive positive case because the result is pending confirmation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is coordinating the contact tracing for the individual and communicating closely with RIDOH.
Also, CDC has confirmed the presumptive positive result obtained at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories for the man in his 40s, Rhode Island’s first presumptive positive case.
CDC confirmation is still pending on the second presumptive positive case (the teenage girl from Saint Raphael Academy who is recovering well).
Langevin: Avoid false info on COVID-19
“In these moments, it is also important to be cautious about false information, including that which may be spread on social media, said Congressman James Langevin, (D-RI).”
“Please turn to trusted and reliable sources like the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are striving to keep the public up to date on the latest regarding the situation,” Langevin said.
Langevin said he is working across the aisle to provide the support and resources needed to improve preparedness and response efforts to the virus.
Langevin encouraged people to reach out to his office at 401-732-9400 with any questions.
Reed talks with Vice President Pence about COVID-19 response
On Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) met with Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump Administration officials in the U.S. Capitol to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We need to work together to protect the American people. The federal government needs to step up and ensure doctors and hospitals have the resources they need to test and care for people who get sick. The Vice President didn’t provide a lot of concrete answers in the meeting. But my message remains: we need to let science and public health experts — not political considerations — guide decisions and shape the response. Transparency, coordination, and communication are key.”
School closures due to COVID-19
- Achievement First Academy Hartford (Providence) and Garfield (Cranston) campuses were closed today for cleaning but are expected to open tomorrow.
- Meadowbrook Farms School in East Greenwich was closed today. This was because the sibling of a student developed symptoms after recently returning from a trip abroad. However, the family member who is a student at Meadowbrook Farms School does not have symptoms. The school closed for cleaning out of an abundance of caution.
COVID-19 by the numbers:
- Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive: 2
- Number of tests pending at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 4
- People who had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 6
- People who have been tested at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 12
- Number of people self-quarantined: About 60 (RIDOH is sharing an approximate number because this number is subject to change regularly)
RIDOH’s Key COVID-19 Points
- There are many respiratory illnesses circulating in Rhode Island, such as the flu and the common cold. Having respiratory symptoms does not mean that you have COVID-19.
- People are at higher risk for COVID-19 if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath) AND if they were a contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 (or have traveled to country with community transmission, such as China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Japan).
- Someone is considered a contact if they have had direct, face-to-face contact with a person with COVID-19.
- Testing can only be done on individuals who have symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms or history of travel can lead to inaccurate results.
- People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
- People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public.
COVID-19 Symptoms, Illness, Severity
The novel, or new, coronavirus/COVID-19 is similar to the flu, particularly in how it is spread from person to person. COVID-19 symptoms, which may appear 2-14 days after exposure, include:
- Shortness of breath
While the illness is similar to seasonal influenza, it is currently less wide-spread than flu. However, it also causes a more serious illness and is less well-studied than influenza.
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota reports 72,000 COVID-19 cases in mainland China, with a case-fatality rate (CFR) of 2.3 percent. The report suggests most cases are mild, but hit the elderly the hardest.
By comparison, the case fatality rate with seasonal flu is about 0.1%.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Public COVID-19 tips:
- Get your flu shot. Flu shots are your best protection against the flu, and they help protect the friends and loved ones around you who may be more at risk of getting very sick because of the flu, such as pregnant women, infants, and older adults. Flu vaccine can also help people avoid flu-related hospitalizations. This allows hospitals to focus on patients with more severe illnesses.
- Wash your hands regularly. When washing your hands, use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Flu is spread through coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent others from getting sick.
- Stay home from work or school when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
- Keep surfaces clean (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.
- Don’t wear a mask unless you’re sick: You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. Face masks are generally used to prevent sick people from getting other people sick.
Business COVID-19 tips:
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay out of work until they are free of: fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines.
- Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible. If possible, maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member.
- Emphasize respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees. Employers can do this by displaying posters that encourage cough and sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene.
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
This is a test