PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A top Rhode Island doctor who helped coordinate the COVID-19 vaccine distribution wasn’t able to be there in person when the first shot was administered Monday because of his quarantine orders.
Dr. Philip Chan, a consultant medical director with the R.I. Department of Health, and Gov. Gina Raimondo are among those who had to quarantine after being a close contact to Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.
Dr. Alexander-Scott tested positive on Saturday, but she is in good health and not experiencing symptoms, according to a spokesperson for the health department.
Dr. Chan said he will work from home in the meantime and get tested again on Tuesday, after testing negative on Sunday.
“If this is the worst thing that happens to me during the pandemic, then I think I’m doing pretty well,” Dr. Chan added.
This comes as the logistical challenge of distributing a vaccine is underway while the state’s top doctor is forced to stay home.
From a parked car outside the State House, Raimondo virtually joined a meeting with the Electoral College Monday morning.
Audrey Lucas, a spokesperson for Raimondo, said there is a statutory requirement that says the governor must be on State House grounds during the Electoral College meeting.
“At the recommendation of the Department of Health, she was driven by a member of her State Police detail who recently had COVID-19 and recovered. This means that he is considered COVID-19 immune,” Lucas explained. “This was an exceptional circumstance due to the statutory requirement that the Governor be on State House grounds during the ceremony. As a precaution, both wore masks and the trooper left the vehicle while the Governor was speaking.”
R.I. Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken went on to say there is an exemption to state’s quarantine order for a member of critical infrastructure fields.
“If a member of a critical infrastructure field must be at work during their quarantine period, they can work, in consultation with RIDOH,” Wendelken said. “However, they must take certain measures. For example, they must go home and quarantine at home immediately after their work shift. They must monitor for symptoms, and they must get tested if they develop symptoms.”
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