PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Newly released COVID-19 data shows a concentration of the infection in six communities, and a few surprises about where the virus is and isn’t.
As of Wednesday, 80 of Rhode Island’s 132 cases — about 61 percent — were located in Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Pawtucket, East Providence and South Kingstown.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was not surprised to find out 42 of the cases confirmed were in his city.
“That is why we have taken aggressive action and have continued to engage all of our residents in this fight,” Elorza said. “As more people get tested, we expect to see the number of confirmed cases in Providence rise and we will be ready to take every measure necessary to keep our residents safe.”
South Kingstown was just behind the capital in cases per capita. Seven confirmed cases in the seaside town of just under 31,000 is one case per 4371, while Providence’s ratio is one case per 4270.
South Kingstown Town Manager Robert Zarnetske said he was trying to verify if the data is based on ZIP codes, pointing out homes in nearby communities sometimes have South Kingstown addresses even though they’re over the town line.
UPDATE: New Location Data
Cranston had the second highest number of confirmed cases with 11. A student at Cranston West High School tested positive on March 13 when the state had nine cases. 1,700 students and faculty members were told to self-quarantine for 14 days, a time period that ends this week.
The highest number of cases per capita in an admittedly small sample involves Middletown where five people tested positive — one per 3,168 people.
The Middletown School Department reported last week a visitor to the high school on March 11 tested positive for COVID-19. Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered a shutdown of the state’s schools two days later.
Middletown School Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger said although the visitor did “come in direct contact with students,” she knows of only that single case tied to the town’s education community.
The R.I. Department of Health is not releasing totals for communities that have less than five cases. Twenty-two of the state’s 39 cities and towns are on that list, with 52 confirmed cases in those places.
Eleven municipalities have zero cases.
Most are rural, stretching from Charleston, Richmond and Hopkinton to the south, through Exeter, West Greenwich, East Greenwich and New Shoreham, up to Glocester to the north, and east to Little Compton and Tiverton.
The 11th community without a positive test is suburban, densely populated West Warwick — a town of just under 29,000 people.
During the state’s Thursday COVID-19 briefing, state Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said “the communities that have larger populations need to work even harder” than less-populated communities to follow the state’s protocol for containing the disease.
Massachusetts is not releasing town and city data. The confirmed cases in that state’s Bristol County, with a population of about 560,000, jumped by 23 on Thursday to a total of 90 of the Commonwealth’s 1,838 cases.
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