RI travel still restricted in Mass., despite meeting criteria for removal


BOSTON (WPRI) — Rhode Island is the only state in the Northeast that remains on Massachusetts’ travel advisory list.

During Gov. Charlie Baker’s Wednesday briefing, he said the decision has less to do with him and more to do with the numbers.

“The best we can do is rely on the publicly reported data that we get,” he said. “It’s an every week review, we make decisions on it based on the data as it’s developed each week.”

The Massachusetts Department of Health reported 182 new positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and four newly reported tests, for a total of 8,937 deaths.

Full breakdown of today’s COVID-19 data (Mass.gov) »

Anyone coming from a place the state deems high risk must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative test result within three days prior to the visit.

Massachusetts has two metrics for making it off the list. A state must have a daily positivity rate less than a 5% and no more than six positive tests per 100,000.

“Rhode Island is clearly doing better it’s been heading in the right direction for the past few weeks,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who has become a preeminent voice in the national coronavirus conversation and Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, said. “Percent positive are down, number of cases are down and I do think Massachusetts really needs to look at the data more carefully and hopefully decide that it’s time to take Rhode Island off the list.”

Data released by Rhode Island Department of Health Wednesday meets both of these marks, but Massachusetts uses data from covidexitstrategy.org.

“I’d be interested to see at where Rhode Island is today, they bounced around a lot over the past few days,” Baker said.

Right now, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia do not meet the requirements to be taken off the list, but have been cleared of all travel restrictions, according to the state’s website.

Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said during the state’s Wednesday briefing they are in active discussions with Massachusetts health officials to get off of the list.

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