Doctor: Rhode Islanders must keep following safety guidelines as state reopens

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Phase 2 of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to reopen Rhode Island’s economy is slated to begin in less than a week, and an emergency room doctor at Rhode Island Hospital says social distancing is more important now than ever as COVID-19 cases begin to plateau.

Dr. Megan Ranney said Rhode Islanders need to remain vigilant in order to fully flatten the curve.

“We are hopeful at this point that we are seeing that plateauing, we are not seeing widespread transmission,” Ranney said. “We have to do it responsibly because if we start seeing case counts go up again, then we have no choice than to increase distancing again and shut things down and none of us want to see that happen.”

As part of Phase 2, hair and nail salons, barbershops, churches and gyms will be allowed to reopen under new restrictions. Restaurants will also be able to reopen their dining rooms under limited capacity.

List: What’s open right now in Rhode Island and Massachusetts »

Ranney said practicing social distancing, wearing face masks and avoiding small, confined spaces are key in stemming the spread.

“We know that about 30-50% of people that are infected don’t have symptoms and some people are most infectious before they show symptoms, so maintaining that distance will help you stay safe,” she explained.

Most important of all, Ranney said, is to stay home if you’re feeling sick. She said the transition to Phase 3 relies solely on the cooperation of Rhode Islanders over the next couple of weeks.

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