Block Island Times

Town Council mandates mask wearing indoors – starting Sept. 3

The New Shoreham Town Council passed an emergency ordinance on Wednesday night mandating masks be worn indoors, effective at noon on September 3.“There has been almost a threefold increase (in positive Covid cases) in the past month,” Medical Center Director Dr. Tom Warcup said, explaining to the council that Rhode Island reported 205 cases per 100,000 on Wednesday, up from 85 cases per 100,000 at the beginning of August. Rhode Island remains in the “high” transmission category.“Vaccines are working,” Warcup said, pointing to the low number of breakthrough cases of Covid, with only 0.51 percent of positive cases in Rhode Island occurring in fully vaccinated people.Warcup reported 11 positive cases in the past ten days on Block Island, but noted these were only the cases he knew about. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that are sent off to the Rhode Island Department of Health from the Fire Barn are not included in the data set. DOH contacts the patients directly and does not contact the Medical Center to share results. PCR tests are the nose swab tests.Councilor Martha Ball asked, “Why can’t we get the PCR information?”
“Privacy,” Warcup answered. “I’m sure we can call and request it,

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