Issued Monday, April 6

Medical Center message

No new confirmed or suspected cases
Mon, 04/06/2020 - 12:45pm

We are all in this together!

Thank you to all of you who are adhering to the guidelines in these updates and outlined in the Emergency Ordinance. Your efforts are working to keep Block Island safe and it is important not to let up our guard but rather to stay vigilant and careful as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

It is understandable to be upset or angry if you see a fellow Block Islander not following the rules; however, if everyone takes personal responsibility for themselves and their family, they will remain safe even if someone else fails to comply. It is equally important to show compassion and respect for anyone who contracts this virus. This can happen to any of us. Blaming and judging deters others from seeking care and testing and this failure to seek care would be counterproductive to the safety of all islanders. 

We are happy to report the continued recovery of our confirmed COVID-19 patient. He was transferred out of the ICU and continues to improve. We anticipate a full recovery. We traced and tested known contacts of this patient and their results are negative for COVID.

There are no new suspected or confirmed Block Island COVID-19 cases at this time. However, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in all states and in Rhode Island and continues to threaten the health of our community. Our best defense is to continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the R.I. Department of Health and reinforced by our local Town Emergency Declaration. 

We urge all Block Islanders to rigorously adhere to the directives outlined below and in the Town of New Shoreham Emergency Ordinance. The Town of New Shoreham updated the Emergency Ordinance to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the community from COVID-19. A shelter in place order went into effect on March 23, at 5 p.m.


  • Follow the Shelter in Place rule
  • 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.

Stay home and stay safe. By protecting your own health, you are protecting everyone’s health.

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.

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” 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 COVID-19 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’s efforts to secure more tests has been successful with help from the Governor’s Office and from Senator Sosnowski. We’re grateful for their assistance. We are increasing the number of tests we are able to perform and while we still don’t have enough for widespread screening, we are able to ramp up testing individuals on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out if you are ill or have a suspected contact with COVID.
  • Anyone with specific questions or concerns about testing should contact Dr. Clark. at the Medical Center (401) 466-2974 ext. 3

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.

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.