Two test positive back in May and June, no other cases announced
UPDATE: The Block Island Medical Center shared updated information on the positive tests. The tests on these two individuals were not conducted on Block Island and the information about the test results was received yesterday, July 1. The information was shared upon its receipt at the Medical Center.
During the virtual Town Council meeting last night, Thursday, July 1, Block Island Medical Director Dr. Tom Warcup noted that two people on the island had tested positive for COVID-19, and that contact tracing had been completed and led to no other cases. Dr. Warcup received the information about the test results yesterday, July 1.
“There was one person that worked on the island that tested positive on May 29, 2020. All of the contact tracing was done and nothing more came from that. There was one person that visited the island and stayed at one of our hotels that tested in the middle of June. Again, all contact tracing has been done and nothing further has come out of that. Those two individuals over the months have been identified but nothing has come about it after the contract tracing,” said Warcup. He also noted “we had 18 residents tested that are negative”. Warcup also mentioned the one positive case of an island resident back in April.
Second Warden André Boudreau addressed the concern from business owners, in having their employees be tested and the costs tied to the COVID-19 testing.
“The other day on our meeting, some businesses had concerns and had sent employees to be tested [through the Block Island Medical Center] and there were costs. [Dr. Warcup], can you give an update on costs of tests for employers for employees to be tested?” asked Boudreau.
“It’s a real challenge for small businesses for sure... The state of Rhode Island is considering reimbursing offices to do asymptomatic testing. Right now, if you are symptomatic with upper respiratory issues, most insurance companies will pay for the entire testing process and the visit. The testing has always been free — the testing for both the Abott testing and the state testing is always free, but there’s a small charge for us to do all the work, to gather all the testing and transport it out, and to do infrastructure within the office. We have had multiple conversations with Dr. Seema Dixit of the R.I. Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Emergency Management on when would we refer them to come out and do large scale asymptomatic testing. I think we are getting close, we are starting to see a fair amount of numbers for testing on a weekly basis — we are seeing seven to 10 requests per day from both people that are residents, residents that are leaving, people that are travelling to the island. We are reaching out to the state, to have them come out on a weekly basis and do largescale, free, asymptomatic testing. They would take care of the infrastructure on their own and have a facility offsite, maybe at the fire barn. Unfortunately, there is a cost with an office visit, but the testing itself is free,” said Warcup.
Warcup went on to note the protocol for testing, for businesses wishing to test their employees or for anyone who feels they have symptoms.
“The protocol for testing: you call the front desk and can request COVID-19 testing if any employer would like to do more than five individuals. We will set aside a specific time for these employees. We send them out documents that preregister the patients. If you have symptoms, call the front office and we will arrange for you to come through the ambulance doors directly into our segregated room dedicated to COVID testing only,” said Warcup.