Clarification on Recent COVID-19 Cases on BI

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 10:45am

Clarification on Recent COVID-19 Cases on Block Island

Many of you have expressed concern that there was no public notice from the Medical Center regarding 2 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and had connections to the Island.

Both of the individuals were tested on the mainland and never visited the Block Island Medical Center. It was while conducting contact tracing that the Department of Health (DOH) discovered their travel to the island. The DOH did not find any associated positive cases with either of the individuals.

Typically, a person’s primary care physician and the DOH are the only entities (other than the individual) that would be notified of a positive test result, and for this reason the Medical Center was not made aware of the results initially.

The DOH alerted Dr. Warcup to the results late in the day on Wednesday, July 1st. Because of the unique circumstances and crowded nature of Block Island in the summer, the DOH will alert Dr. Warcup immediately if any Covid-19 positive individuals are found to have travelled to Block Island. In turn, the Medical Center will inform the public through the Town Council, Block Island Times, the Block Island Bulletin Board, on our website.

It is fortunate that these two cases did not result in any additional spread of the virus. It is also a reminder that it is inevitable that new cases will arise on the island. It is important to remain vigilant in wearing a face covering in public, practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently and avoidance of touching your face and monitoring your health.

Dr. Warcup is in close communication with the Governor’s Office, the DOH, and RI Emergency Management to ensure we are as prepared as possible for an outbreak and for taking care of our patients here on the island. He has also engaged the DOH and the Disaster Medical Team to begin asymptomatic testing on the island as soon as July 7th. The tests will be prioritized for high contact workers, beginning with first responders, and will include restaurant workers, individuals living in communal housing, contacts of exposed individuals, and will radiate out to residents. The testing will continue on a weekly basis so that the DOH can perform contact tracing and we can mitigate the spread of the virus when it is detected. There will be no cost for the testing and there will be a public announcement as soon as the details are confirmed.

As always, do not hesitate to call the Medical Center if you are concerned about your health or have questions. Our providers are prepared to perform a COVID-19 test and provide you with the best, most appropriate care. The front desk can be reached Mon-Fri from 9-5 by dialing (401) 466-2974 ext. 3.

Stay well,

The Block Island Medical Center