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New location data doesn’t change virus picture


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Providence gained the most confirmed cases according to new data, with Cranston a close second, but COVID-19’s presence continued an expected trend showing the virus is attacking the core of the state.

Sixty percent of Rhode Island’s cases, 99 out of 165, were located in Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket, East Providence and Johnston.

The percentage would be slightly higher with Central Falls and North Providence included but those locales are among the 18 municipalities with fewer than five cases and the R.I. Department of Health is not releasing exact numbers for communities with four or fewer positives.

Middletown has the highest per capita ratio in the state with one case per 2650 residents in the Aquidneck Island town, and a total of six confirmed. Providence was second highest per capita followed by South Kingstown and Johnston.

The Middletown School Department reported last week a visitor to the high school on March 11 tested positive for COVID-19.

Cranston gained seven new cases on Thursday and still has the second-highest number of confirmed cases with 18. A student at Cranston West High School tested positive on March 13 when the state had nine cases.

Warwick and Pawtucket have about the same population as Cranston, but both have less than half the confirmed cases; Warwick with eight and Pawtucket with seven.

The only municipality with its first confirmed case on Thursday is West Warwick which is among the locations with fewer than five.

Ten municipalities have zero confirmed cases and all of them are rural—Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton to the south, down through Exeter, West Greenwich, East Greenwich and New Shoreham. Glocester to the north, and Little Compton and Tiverton to the east complete the locations without confirmed cases.

During the Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing, state Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said: “the communities that have larger populations need to work even harder” than less-populated communities to follow the state’s protocol for containing the disease.

Massachusetts does not release town and city data. The confirmed cases in that state’s Bristol County, with a population of about 560,000, jumped by 23 on Thursday to a total of 90 of the Commonwealth’s 1,838 cases.

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.

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