The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH)’s announced Sunday morning the first case of coronavirus in Rhode Island.

Late last night, RIDOH announced they have identifieda second presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 and confirmed a separate person was tested for COVID-19 yesterday.

All three individuals participated in a recent trip to Europe in mid-February with Saint Raphael Academy (Pawtucket).

Saint Raphael Academy provided the following updates on Sunday, March 1st regarding the coronavirus cases.

Virtual Days Extended March 2-6, 2020 – Updated

UPDATED,: Saint Raphael Academy has been informed that a second member of our school community has tested presumptive positive for coronavirus. This individual recently returned from the school trip to Europe. Although this individual’s symptoms do not warrant hospitalization at this time, they are closely following the directive of the RI Department of Health (RIDOH). In accordance with RIDOH’s request and in an effort to ensure the well-being of our community, the Academy will be closed for the remainder of the week. Students will be instructed at home through virtual learning. During this time period we are asking our students to continue to follow good health practices and avoid gathering in large groups. Saint Raphael Academy will provide updates as they become available and will continue to keep all members of our community in our prayers.

Saint Raphael Academy is saddened to confirm that a member of our community has had a “presumptive positive” test result to the coronavirus. It is important to note that this member of the community has not been at the Academy since returning from Europe, and none of his immediate family members are symptomatic at this time. The administration has been in close contact with the RI Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At their directive, the students and chaperones who were on the recent trip to Europe will be out of school until March 9. They are on self-quarantine and will be self-monitoring with RIDOH supervision. Although not directed by the CDC or RIDOH, out of an abundance of caution, the SRA Administration has decided that all students, faculty and staff will have Virtual Days at home on Monday and Tuesday (March 2 and 3) while ongoing campus sanitation continues. All after-school activities and practices (including sports) are also cancelled. Classes will resume on campus as usual on Wednesday, March 4.

We would like to reiterate that Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director of the RI Department of Health, has said the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is low. In this situation, the risk is low even for those who have travelled with the infected person. Only travelers who were on the Europe trip are required to be on self-quarantine by the RIDOH, and they have been contacted.

Please keep the SRA community in your prayers.

For more information, please refer to these websites:

Coronavirus FAQ

Who was infected?

Please refer to the RI Department of Health (RIDOH).

Where and when were they infected?

The member of the community was on the recent trip to Europe on Feb. 14-22.

When did your school find out about the possible case of this illness?

Our school was notified on Feb. 26 and we immediately contacted the RIDOH and have followed their guidance since then. We have taken immediate and appropriate action at all times throughout this process, based on close coordination with authorities including the RI Department of Health.

Who else was exposed to this person?

Please refer to RIDOH.

Was this person present in the school since showing symptoms?

No, the affected person demonstrating these types of symptoms has not been on the actual campus of Saint Raphael Academy.

Why did the school go on the February trip?

At the time of the trip, which took place on February 14-22, there were no cases of community-spread coronavirus in Italy and no CDC travel warning in effect. In fact, the CDC Level 3 travel warning to avoid nonessential travel was issued on February 28.

What about the other participants on the trip? Why weren’t they quarantined as soon as the individual reported symptoms?

As soon as we found out about the affected individual’s symptoms, we immediately contacted the RI Department of Health and have followed their guidance since then. Please refer to the RI Department of Health for more information. 

Will the other participants on the trip be quarantined now?

According to the RIDOH, trip participants are on self-quarantine until March 7, with monitoring from RIDOH.

Will the other participants on the trip be tested before returning to campus?

Please refer to RIDOH.

Has the person been in contact since the trip with anyone from the school?

Yes, we are aware of the affected individual being in contact with at least one other person from the school. We are working closely with RIDOH. And it’s important to remember that the general risk to the community is very low.

Why did the school put something out on Saturday about the information in the news being misleading?

At the time of the news report that came out on Saturday, there were no facts available indicating that this was a case of coronavirus. RIDOH notified the SRA administration on Sunday, March 1 that the person had a “presumptive positive” test result for coronavirus. As soon as the RIDOH announced that the affected individual tested positive for coronavirus, we immediately notified parents, students, teachers and staff. In addition, the school proactively shared information with parents and students on Friday, February 27, regarding coronavirus in general and tips for staying healthy.

How is testing going to be available to students, teachers, staff and families?

Please refer to RIDOH.

How long will the students have to work remotely?

Out of an abundance of caution, students will have virtual days on Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3, and will be given assignments online. Students will return to school on Wednesday, March 4.

What precautions is the school taking to ensure the campus is sanitized?

The school has hired an outside company to disinfect all surfaces with bleach. We are committed to the health and safety of all of our students, parents, teachers, and staff.

What do I do if I think I may have symptoms?

Please refer to RIDOH. 

More from What'sUpNewp

Fiona rushes at Atlantic Canada with strong rains and wind

Strong rains and winds lashed the Atlantic Canada region as Fiona closed in early Saturday as a big, powerful post-tropical cyclone, and Canadian forecasters warned it could be one of the most severe storms in the country’s history.

Judge stuck at 60 home runs, Yankees beat Red Sox 5-4

Judge was held without a home run for the third straight game, keeping him at 60 for the season and one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record, but the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Friday night.


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.