PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A steady increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Rhode Island has led the CDC to raise the alert level for much of the state on Thursday.
Bristol, Kent, Providence and Washington counties are now at the “high” community level, while Newport County remains in the “medium” category.
The community levels, updated weekly, are based on case rates, hospital admissions and hospital capacity.
The CDC recommends that people in counties designated as “high” wear masks in indoor public settings, as well as follow standard safety precautions like getting tested when experiencing symptoms and staying up to date with vaccinations.
The R.I. Department of Health said despite the recent increases, it doesn’t expect cases and hospitalizations to reach levels seen during the January surge.
“With COVID-19 now an endemic disease in Rhode Island, we should expect moderate increases and decreases in our COVID-19 levels over the coming months,” interim director Dr. James McDonald said in a statement. “However, serious illness from COVID-19 is now largely a preventable, treatable disease because of the tools and resources we have.”
“Taking a few simple prevention steps when more COVID-19 is circulating, such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings and getting a booster dose, can help keep you and your loved ones safe,” he added.
Following the CDC’s update, the Health Department released its 7 Tools for Protection Against COVID-19:
- Vaccination: Stay up to date with your vaccines and recommended boosters.
- Ventilation: Outdoor or well-ventilated areas are safest.
- Masking: Wear a high-quality mask in crowded indoor settings.
- Symptom screening: Watch for symptoms after travel or large gatherings.
- Testing: Get tested if you have symptoms or were exposed.
- Isolation: Stay away from others if you test positive.
- Treatment: Ask a healthcare provider about treatment if you test positive.
On Thursday, the Health Department reported 665 new positive cases and no additional deaths, while hospitalizations declined slightly to 103.