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RIDOH's State Health Laboratories Identifies Two Additional Cases of COVID-19

Two additional cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been identified through testing at the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH)'s State Health Laboratories. These are Rhode Island's fourth and fifth cases. These results are considered presumptive positive cases until they are confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The first individual is a female in her 50s. Her recent travel history includes travel to Egypt. The second individual is a female in her 30s. The source of this person's infection is currently unknown. That is being investigated. This second individual is a healthcare worker at a Rhode Island hospital. Both individuals are recovering at home.

As with all COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island, extensive contact tracing is being done for these cases. All people who have had direct, face-to-face contact with these people are being instructed to self-quarantine.

Data updates These numbers are also available online (see link below).

- Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 5

- Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories: 58

- Number of people for whom tests are pending: 24

- Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island because they had direct contact with a person with COVID-19: approximately 270 (RIDOH is sharing an approximate number because this number is subject to change regularly)

Testing in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories. Confirmatory testing is being done by CDC. Positive results are considered 'presumptive' if they still need to be confirmed by the CDC.

Key messages for the public

- If you have traveled anywhere internationally (or anywhere overnight in the U.S.) in the last 14 days, monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

- For people who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan, in addition to monitoring yourself for symptoms, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.

- Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.

- Although Rhode Island has the testing capacity it needs, people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.

- People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.

- Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC's guidance for people older than 60 years of age:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

More information is available from CDC.

People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit, write to, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)

Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.

Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.

Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

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