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Update – Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled amid coronavirus disease concerns

Update – City Of Newport: Council expected to vote to cancel Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Governor Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health plans on offering guidance on upcoming large, organized events to municipalities and organizers this afternoon.

That update from the state comes a day after Newport City Council voted 4 to 3 in an Emergency Meeting to not revoke the parade permit for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

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The Council met in Emergency Session for the “purposes of discussing the possible revocation of the parade permit for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in light of the coronavirus outbreak and based on the recommendation of the Rhode Island Department of Health”.

During the meeting, some members of City Council and the City Manager stated that they hadn’t received much guidance from the Governor or RIDOH about the parade or mass gatherings.

In follow up with the Governor’s office this morning, Josh Block, Press Secretary and Office of Governor Gina M. Raimondo, told What’s Up Newp; “The Governor’s top priority is containing the spread of coronavirus, and she is recommending that Newport postpone or cancel the parade in the interest of safety. We’ll have additional guidance for municipalities this afternoon”.

Governor Gina Raimondo and Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH are scheduled to provide updates to reporters about Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response today at 4 pm. That meeting was originally scheduled for 12 pm.

In further follow up, Block tells us “the Governor and members of her team have been in contact with officials in Newport. There will be additional guidance this afternoon concerning large, organized events statewide”.

“We are going to be issuing guidance later today,” Joseph Wendelken, Public Information Officer for Rhode Island Department of Health told What’s Up Newp.

Update: Video of Press Conference

This story is developing and will be updated.

Related – Newport parade moves ahead, in spite of state recommendation

The Latest From RIDOH

On Tuesday night, RIDOH announced two additional cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had been identified through testing at the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH)’s State Health Laboratories. These are Rhode Island’s fourth and fifth cases. These results are considered presumptive positive cases until they are confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The first individual is a female in her 50s. Her recent travel history includes travel to Egypt. The second individual is a female in her 30s. The source of this person’s infection is currently unknown. That is being investigated. This second individual is a healthcare worker at a Rhode Island hospital. Both individuals are recovering at home.

As with all COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island, extensive contact tracing is being done for these cases. All people who have had direct, face-to-face contact with these people are being instructed to self-quarantine.

Data updates via RIDOH

These numbers are also available online.

  • Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 5
  • Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 58
  • Number of people for whom tests are pending: 24
  • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island because they had direct contact with a person with COVID-19: approximately 270 (RIDOH is sharing an approximate number because this number is subject to change regularly)

Testing in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories. Confirmatory testing is being done by CDC. Positive results are considered ‘presumptive’ if they still need to be confirmed by the CDC.

Key messages for the public via RIDOH

  • If you have traveled anywhere internationally (or anywhere overnight in the U.S.) in the last 14 days, monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • For people who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan, in addition to monitoring yourself for symptoms, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.
  • Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.
  • Although Rhode Island has the testing capacity it needs, people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
  • Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC’s guidance for people older than 60 years of age:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • More information is available from CDC.
  • People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)
  • Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.
  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.