PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Public Health (RIDOH) has released an official press release announcing the state has its first presumptive case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The person is in their 40s and traveled to Italy in mid-February.
RIDOH is coordinating closely with the hospital where this person is being treated and all infection control protocols are being followed.
They released this official statement as part of their full release:
"The Rhode Island Department of Health has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have a structure in place to, to the best of our ability, limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. We fully anticipated having a first case of COVID-19," said Dr. Alexander-Scott. "We are not seeing widespread community transmission in Rhode Island, and the general level of risk for Rhode Islanders is still low. However, everyone in Rhode Island has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of viruses, just like the flu. It is very important that people wash their hands regularly, cover their coughs and sneezes, and stay home if they are sick."
Officials say that outreach to others who may have come in contact with the infected person has already begun.
These people will undergo a period of 14 days of self-monitoring for symptoms at home with public health supervision.
The person has had limited travel throughout Rhode Island since their return to Italy and has not been back to work since their return, either.
Even though RIDOH's State Health Laboratories confirmed the case, all presumptive positive cases must be sent to the Center for Disease Control for confirmation.
Officials ask that Rhode Islanders to take the same measures that healthcare providers recommend annually to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses.