2 more in RI test ‘presumptive’ positive for coronavirus; total now 5


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two more Rhode Islanders have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the number of known cases in the state to five, state health officials announced late Tuesday afternoon.

One of the patients is a woman in her 30s who is a health care worker at an unspecified hospital in Rhode Island, according to the R.I. Department of Health. The source of her infection remains unknown and continues to be investigated, as officials seek to determine whether community transmission of the disease is taking place in the state.

The second patient is a woman in her 50s who recently traveled to Egypt, officials said. Egypt had 59 confirmed coronavirus cases of Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

Both women were said to be recovering at home. As in all cases, people who had face-to-face contact with the two patients are being instructed to self-quarantine.

The newly announced COVID-19 test results are considered “presumptive” positive until they are confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronavirus: Latest Headlines, Map, Resources » | Track the number of cases in RI »

The news from Rhode Island came shortly after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced the number of coronavirus cases there had risen to 92, with the majority still connected to a recent meeting of employees at the biotech company Biogen, and no cases in Bristol County.

Gov. Gina Raimondo on Monday declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island over COVID-19, and Baker followed suit on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Rhode Island’s State Health Laboratories have tested 87 people for COVID-19: five tested positive, 58 tested negative, and 24 are awaiting test results. Roughly 270 people are currently supposed to be on self-quarantine due to direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. (People who aren’t showing symptoms are not being tested, based on CDC guidance.)

Local health officials said Tuesday their main messages remain the same:

• Individuals who have traveled internationally or taken an overnight trip domestically should monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Those who have traveled to affected countries (China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan) should self-quarantine for two weeks.

• All individuals should avoid close contact with others, including handshakes and hugs, and wash their hands frequently. Individuals 60 and older should be particularly careful. Contact your health provider if you think you may have COVID-19, but do not go to the hospital unless you are having an immediate medical emergency.

• People with COVID-19 questions for the R.I. Department of Health can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, email RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov or call (401) 222-8022.

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