Medical Center Message

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 6:15pm

The following was issued by the Block Island Medical Center on Wednesday, April 15: 

Thank you to all of you who are adhering to the guidelines in these updates and those outlined in the Emergency Ordinance. As you may be aware, the Emergency Ordinance has been extended to May 8. Your efforts are working to keep Block Island safe. Stay vigilant!

Block Island safe. Stay vigilant! There are no new suspected or confirmed Block Island COVID-19 cases at this time and we are happy to report that the patient with COVID-19 has been released from the hospital and is safely at home in New York. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in all states, including Rhode Island, and remains a threat to the health of our community.

As of April 14, Rhode Island has 3,251 confirmed cases and 80 deaths.

In anticipation of the limited return to work outlined in the updated Town Ordinance, we urge caution for all Block Islanders and rigorous adherence to the guidelines below and to the directives of the updated Town Ordinance. The updated Town Ordinance was crafted with input from the Medical Center and with focus on the health, safety and welfare of our community.


Follow the Shelter in Place Wear a mask of scarf when in public. Self-quarantine for 14 days when returning from ANY trip off island. Reach out to the Medical Center by telephone if you feel ill or if you have a known COVID-19 exposure. Follow healthy living guidelines to stay strong: Get regular exercise such as walking every day! Ensure you are getting good nutrition with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains- -decrease processed foods and sugar Get 8 hours of sleep every night Avoid or eliminate tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake Create a healthy daily routine, with a schedule to avoid boredom Connect with others by telephone or video chat regularly Reach out to the Medical Center to address any health concerns or health maintenance issues that need attention Stay home and stay safe. By protecting your own health, you are protecting everyone’s health.

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.

We are aware that the “Shelter in Place” ordinance may increase distress experienced by individuals caused by social isolation from friends and family members. For this reason, we ask every Block Islander 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 OK 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” https:// 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.

It is important that any individual who has sought treatment on the mainland and who has suspected or confirmed COVID19 contact the Medical Center to keep us apprised for the safety of the Block Island community.

COVID-19 TESTING on Block Island

The Medical Center continues to provide testing for COVID19 for symptomatic individuals. If you are ill or think you may need testing, please call the Medical Center and we will guide you on next steps. Keep in mind that COVID-19 symptoms are varied. Most people are aware that it may cause fever, flu-like symptoms, cough and chest tightness, however it may also cause sore throat, GI symptoms like nausea or diarrhea or severe fatigue. Individuals who have traveled off island for any amount of time for any reason are at higher risk. If you are experiencing symptoms, we will test you. The Medical Center recognizes the need for continued primary and urgent care of our patients and that unique health concerns arise in a time of uncertainty or crisis. We are here and continue to respond to our community’s needs.

A summary of BIHS current operations is as follows: 

The Medical Center is scheduling telephone visits with Dr. Clark. Please call (401) 466-2974 ext. 3, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to schedule an appointment.