Medical Center Information

Thu, 04/02/2020 - 6:00pm

This week’s message from the Block Island Medical Center:

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and threaten the health of our community. Our best defense is to continue to follow the guidance from the CDC, the R.I. Department of Health and reinforced by our local Town Emergency Declaration.  

At this time there has not been and there is no confirmed case of COVID-19 on Block Island. One patient from Block Island was admitted to the hospital Friday, March 27, with suspected COVID-19 infection. The patient was being monitored by the Medical Center and following the self-quarantine instructions at home since returning from travel on March 14. The patient has since had 3 NEGATIVE COVID-19 test results carried out in two separate mainland labs. That patient is still in the hospital and is recovering and the final diagnosis is still uncertain.  

The Medical Center will keep the community informed in the event of any confirmed COVID-19 cases on island.  

A shelter in place order went into effect on March 23 at 5 p.m. The Emergency Declaration is in effect through April 15 and enforces the guidance from Gov. Raimondo and the CDC, with additional precautionary measures for Block Island. The Medical Center is grateful for the swift and decisive action by the Town Council and supports the measures outlined as prudent and protective of the entire Block Island community, and especially of our cherished elderly population.

Please read the entire ordinance on the Town website:

The term "Shelter in Place" means remaining at your residence except for Essential Activities[i]; however, people may leave their homes for outside activities such as walks and exercise, but social distancing must be maintained and the CDC “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines must be followed.

Stay at Home: The Executive Order is in place until April 13. This means that all Rhode Islanders should stay home unless getting food, medicine, gas, or going to work.

Gatherings: Starting immediately, all gatherings of more than 5 people are banned. Individuals should be interacting with the same people every day to minimize the risk of spread. This order does not apply to healthcare workers in a workplace setting, public transportation or office buildings. However, people must practice social distancing at all times.

Travelers: Starting immediately, any person coming to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation after visiting another state for a non-work-related purpose must self-quarantine for 14 days. This restriction will not apply to public health, public safety or healthcare workers. 

Commuters: Those who are able to work from home should do so, and anyone commuting in and out of the state for work should remain in their home when not at work.

Businesses: Starting Monday, 3/30, all non-critical retail businesses must shut down their stores. This includes clothing stores and gift shops. This does not impact restaurants or bars, which are still allowed to open for takeout or delivery only.

Food Establishments: Through April 13th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)

All recreation and entertainment facilities as well as close-contact businesses are closed. This includes theaters, cinemas, sporting events, bowling alleys, gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors.

We ask every Block Islander to reach out by telephone every day to at least two individuals by telephone “just to check in.” We especially encourage everyone to think of our elderly or those who may live alone and reach out to them, ensure they are okay and that they have what they need. You do not need to be on Block Island right now in order to reach out to a friend, relative or colleague, or someone who may be isolated or alone.

Please have a low threshold to encourage individuals who seem to be struggling to call the Medical Center for assistance. In addition, technology allows us to “virtually visit” with friends and relatives through online applications like “ZOOM” video conferencing or Apple FaceTime. Both are surprisingly easy to use and a FaceTime visit with a grandchild can work wonders to lift someone’s spirits. Some families and friends are finding this a positive way to connect during these times.

Emergence of COVID-19 on Block Island will quickly over-run our limited island medical resources.

It is important that any individual who has sought treatment on the mainland and who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 contact the Medical Center to keep us apprised for the safety of the Block Island community. The phone number is (401) 466-2974.