RI, MA, CT officials trying to prevent second surge of coronavirus cases

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — More states added to Rhode Island’s travel advisory list indicates an uptick in coronavirus cases across the country.

On Monday, five states (Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, and South Carolina) were added to the list, while two (Hawaii and Virginia) were removed, according to Health Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken.

As of Wednesday, almost two-thirds of the country’s states make up the advisory list, which means there is a 5% or higher positivity rate there.

Rhode Island’s weekly data indicates the positivity rate increased from 1.5 to 1.6%, but hospitalization numbers are where state health officials are noting concern.

Hospital admissions climbed from 67 to 106, while new cases per 100,000 people increased from 98 to 120, according to state data released Tuesday.

“I’m paying attention to the hospitalization numbers going up. We are now in triple digits again,” Dr. James McDonald said.

“There’s still a lot of community spread, and as much as people want to be done with the pandemic, and I get it people want to be done with it, but we are not done with the pandemic,” McDonald added.

Dr. McDonald says the most COVID-19 cases are from traveling and social gatherings.

Since Rhode Island exceeded the threshold for new cases per 100,000 people per week, it’s possible there may be greater restrictions for businesses or gatherings coming. The note about exceeding thresholds is indicated at the bottom of R.I. Department of Health’s COVID-19 data tracker.

Gov. Gina Raimondo is holding her weekly briefing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

In neighboring Massachusetts, the state reported more than 630 newly confirmed cases Tuesday, pushing the state’s confirmed caseload to more than 137,500.

Gov. Charlie Baker is telling residents as the weather gets colder, he now needs their focus in a less formal setting: households.

“Household spread, inter-generational spread. Expect to hear these words this fall,” Baker said. “We all have work to do, and it doesn’t end when we come home from the supermarket.”

Connecticut reported a 2.4% positivity rate on Tuesday, its highest since June.

Gov. Ned Lamont says the state is prepared for a possible second wave with a stockpile of PPE and larger testing capacity than when the pandemic began.

“But nothing can make us more ready than have each and every one of you take this, continue to take this seriously a little bit longer,” Lamont said.

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