Block Island considers reinstating indoor mask mandate amid uptick in COVID cases

South County

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Block Island is currently the second-worst place in Rhode Island when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, according to New Shoreham Medical Director Dr. Thomas Warcup.

Warcup said within the past two weeks, there have been 11 positive cases linked back to Block Island.

While that may not sound like a large number, Warcup said it’s alarming when compared to this time last year.

“It’s clearly starting to rise in our community,” he told the New Shoreham Town Council Monday evening. “We had 45 total known cases last summer and we’ve reached a quarter of that in a 10 to 14 day period.”

Block Island isn’t the only vacation community dealing with an uptick in cases. Provincetown recently opted to reinstate its emergency indoor mask mandate after hundreds of cases were traced back to the popular vacation destination.

To stop the spread, Warcup is recommending Block Island follow suit.

“As distasteful as it may be that we’re back at that point, I think it’s something to consider,” he said.

André Boudreau, the first warden of the New Shoreham Town Council said they will have an emergency ordinance drafted by Thursday addressing the uptick in cases.

“I want to throw a message out there that we’re serious,” Boudreau said. “Block Island is not safer than any place else on the main land.”

Councilors also requested Town Manager Maryanne Crawford work with the Block Island Chamber of Commerce to draft a COVID action plan with businesses and those living in congregated care settings.

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