PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Twenty state employees are self-quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19, Eyewitness News has learned.

In an email obtained by Eyewitness News sent to state workers on Thursday night, R.I. Department of Administration Director Brett Smiley said officials fully expect the number of positive cases to grow within the executive branch.

“The good news is that we have implemented measures within our workforce for several weeks now to ensure that employees who are coming into work are protecting themselves and those around them, including health screenings at our facilities, flexible sick leave and teleworking options,” Smiley wrote in the email.

The majority of the cases are from the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), which had eight employees recently test positive, according to the Division of Human Resources.

The Departments of Corrections and Revenue have three cases each. The following state agencies have only one reported case each:

  • Department of Veterans Services
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Children, Youth & Families
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Administration
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services

In the email, Smiley urged all employees to social distance and to stay home if they’re feeling sick.

“We should all consider ourselves the first line of defense against the spread of COVID-19,” Smiley wrote.