Updated: Sep 28
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- On Tuesday, September 22nd, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut added Rhode Island back onto the travel advisory list that is shared amongst the three states. Rhode Island, as well as Minnesota, Arizona, Nevada and Wyoming, was added to the list of “restricted states” meaning that anyone who travels to the tri-state area will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
The list is updated weekly and includes any state which is experiencing significant community spread of COVID-19. The COVID-19 Travel Advisory list characterizes community spread as any state in which the positive test rate is higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or an area with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a seven day period.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the positivity rate in Rhode Island for the week of September 19th was 1.4%, up from 1.1% the week before. However, the DOH also reports that Rhode Island averaged approximately 59 cases per 100,000 people for the week of September 19th.
Rhode Island is experiencing an increase in daily coronavirus cases which can be largely attributed to outbreaks amongst college students at Providence College and a minor outbreak at the University of Rhode Island. As of September 24th, Providence College reported 187 positive cases out of 17,370 total tests administered. Additionally, the University of Rhode Island had 55 positive cases of COVID-19 from September 17th to September 24th out of 1,782 total tests resulting in a 3% positive test rate. The university has also ordered three Greek Life Houses to quarantine due to several members testing positive.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Gina Raimondo claimed, “Without those cases, our overall case numbers were stable, actually declining slightly last week.” The Governor also stated that the outbreak at Providence College was not due to one large party but rather small parties throughout the college community.
Addressing the parties and lack of enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines the Governor states, “Behavior like that this year endangers other people’s lives, and it’s incredibly selfish.” Gov. Raimondo urged college students to be aware of their actions stating, “To all of the people of PC who played a hand in this: these are real consequences.”