PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island may be starting to see the effects of Fourth of July events and travel when it comes to the spread of the coronavirus.
The R.I. Department of Health provided new weekly data on Tuesday, which for the first time in months showed upticks in all three key metrics being tracked: the rate of new cases per 100,000 persons by week increased from 11 last week to 15 this week, while new hospital admissions by week went from 18 to 19 and percent positive by week climbed from 0.4% to 0.5%.
Health officials also reported two new cases of the highly contagious Delta variant, bringing the total to 14.
Dr. Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown University who’s become a nationally recognized expert on the virus, says that while the Delta variant is causing cases and hospitalizations to surge in other parts of the country, Rhode Island is doing well enough in terms of vaccinations.
“We’re in a much better space than the rest of the country, but we cannot let our guard drop because we do have such a large percentage of our population, especially, of course, our kids, who have not been vaccinated yet,” Ranney said.
As of Tuesday, the state was just short of 700,000 people at least partially vaccinated, according to the Health Department, and 60% of the population is now fully vaccinated. But Ranney noted the Delta variant is having a noticeable impact on the country’s younger population, and here in Rhode Island, people between the ages of 12 and 40 have the lowest rate of vaccination.
The CDC and FDA have said people who are fully vaccinated don’t need a booster shot at this time, but according to Ranney, that will likely change at least for certain people, such as those who are immunocompromised, had an organ transplant, or are undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
“For the rest of us, for now, we can still breathe easy,” she added. “The two shots of Moderna or Pfizer or that one shot of J&J still protect us really well against COVID, even against this novel Delta variant.”
With 32 new positive cases reported overall on Tuesday and roughly 3,500 tests administered the previous day, the daily positivity rate came out to 0.9%.
No additional fatalities were disclosed Tuesday in Rhode Island. Over the past two weeks, the state has only reported one COVID-19-related death.
Hospitalizations remained at 23, with three patients in the intensive care unit and four on ventilators.