No COVID-19 deaths reported in RI; 110 new cases, hospitalizations tick up

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Department of Health on Thursday reported 110 new COVID-19 cases, but no new deaths.

The daily positivity rate totaled 2.5%, which was up slightly from the day before, according to data provided by the Health Department.

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As of midday Thursday, 77 people with COVID-19 were in the hospital, which is the most since June 27, when there were 78 hospitalizations, data shows. Of the patients currently in the hospital, 13 were in the intensive care unit and five were on ventilators.

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As of Thursday, 1,007 people in the state had died after contracting the disease, but health officials reported zero deaths from the day before.

During her weekly briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the state would remain in Phase 3 for another month, as the current rate of spread – a measure of how quickly the disease is transmitting in the community – exceeded a threshold health officials determined was too high to move into a new phase.

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But the rate wasn’t so high that Raimondo felt the need to move back a phase and implement new shutdowns. Instead, she reduced the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 15, saying the state’s contact-tracing team had determined many of the recent new cases were connected to large house parties and gatherings at barbecues.

“We’re partying too much,” Raimondo said.

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The recent rise in new cases – which started roughly two weeks after the state moved into Phase 3 of the governor’s reopening plan – has raised concern among members of the medical field, including Lifespan’s Chief of Emergency Medicine Dr. Jeremiah Schuur.

“We should be very concerned,” he said. “We have to be aware that how we act at these types of events, what we do as individuals, is going to determine what we can do in the fall.”

Schuur believes it was the right decision to lower the limit on social gatherings. He said even though the recent uptick in new cases in Rhode Island is nowhere near what’s happening in other states, if we don’t get a handle on the spread of the virus now, harsher restrictions could be reinstated.

“What we are seeing is the beginning of a bigger spread and so, if we can’t keep it down to what it was before, we will have to pull back even further,” he said.

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