CDC recommends indoor masks for most of Rhode Island

Mirroring increases being seen throughout the region and country, the COVID-19 community levels in four Rhode Island counties are now designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “high” – Bristol County, Kent County, Providence County, and Washington County. Newport County is at “medium.”

Each week the CDC identifies the COVID-19 community level in every county in the country as “low,” “medium,” or “high” using case rates and data on hospital admissions and percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. In counties designated as “high,” the CDC recommends people wear high-quality masks while in indoor public settings. 

Rhode Island has seen increases in cases and hospitalizations over the last several weeks. However, these data are still considerably lower than they have been at prior points in the pandemic. Given the availability of COVID-19 tools and resources in Rhode Island, such as vaccines and treatment, these numbers are not expected to reach the levels of Rhode Island’s January surge.

“With COVID-19 now an endemic disease in Rhode Island, we should expect moderate increases and decreases in our COVID-19 levels over the coming months. However, serious illness from COVID-19 is now largely a preventable, treatable disease because of the tools and resources we have,” said James McDonald, MD, MPH, the Interim Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). “Taking a few simple prevention steps when more COVID-19 is circulating, such as wearing a mask in public indoor settings and getting a booster dose, can help keep you and your loved ones safe.”

When you wear a mask you protect the people around you, and a high-quality mask also provides the wearer with protection. Booster doses significantly increase your protection against COVID-19. If you are boosted, you are 55 times less likely to be hospitalized because of COVID-19.

In addition to these recommendations from CDC by community level, RIDOH has unveiled “7 Tools for Protection Against COVID-19.” Using a Prevent, Detect, Treat framework, this simple guide will help all Rhode Islanders limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19 at home and in the community.

7 Tools for Protection Against COVID-19

Prevent • Vaccination – Stay up to date with your vaccines and recommended boosters. • Ventilation – Outdoor or well-ventilated areas are safest. • Masking – Wear a high-quality mask in crowded indoor settings.

Detect • Symptom screening – Watch for symptoms after travel or large gatherings. • Testing – Get tested if you have symptoms or were exposed.

Treat • Isolation – Stay away from others if you test positive. • Treatment – Ask a healthcare provider about treatment if you test positive.


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