NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — While some Rhode Island communities are implementing indoor mask mandates in city-owned buildings on Monday, another is considering similar emergency action.
The New Shoreham Town Council will vote on Monday night on a resolution to encourage or request people to wear masks while inside public buildings.
Monday will be the third meeting in a week where town leaders and the community discuss possible emergency restrictions, after a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
Dr. Thomas Warcup, of the Block Island Medical Center, noted at a meeting last Monday 11 new positive cases had been linked to the island over a two-week period. While he told councilors 11 may not sound like a large number, Warcup said it was alarming when compared to this time last year.
“We had 45 total known cases last summer and we’ve reached a quarter of that in a 10 to 14 day period,” Warcup told town councilors last Monday.
During last Monday’s meeting, councilors mulled over reinstating a mask mandate on the island, which some business owners expressed concern over.
On Thursday Dr. Warcup reported, “a hopeful sign” that only three additional cases were reported since the previous 11 cases, bringing the island’s three-week total to 14 cases.
“What I was fearful of is that original 11 had exposed other people, that those individuals now would become positive,” Warcup said Thursday. “We haven’t seen that yet, which is truly remarkable.”
Warcup also reported 60 people were vaccinated on the island Thursday, an increase compared to the average vaccination rate, which he says is anywhere from 20 to 40 people per day.
“So, 60 vaccinations at this particular point is a very positive sign,” he added.