RHODE ISLAND: Trick-or-treating banned after dark as COVID-19 cases rise

Governor Gina M. Raimondo on Thursday announced new restrictions designed to tamp down the coronavirus in Rhode Island — and pleaded with residents to cooperate. “No Halloween parties, no trick-or-treating after dark, forget about traveling for Thanksgiving. And get used to wearing a mask around anyone you don’t live with”, as another 228 people tested positive for COVID-19 and two people in their 90s died.

The rising number of cases and increased positivity rate are “flashing warning signs,” the governor said Thursday. The new restrictions are intended to be “targeted interventions,” she said, to avoid having to close down the entire economy.

“We just have to try a little harder . . . because we’re in a bad spot right now,” Raimondo said. “We know with certainty if we don’t make adjustments that things will get worse.”

“Good news is we’re doing a lot of testing, a lot of contact tracing. This is not the spring. We have a pretty sophisticated system set up to pinpoint a lot of problems,” she said. “The problem we have are small gatherings of family and friends. That feels safe, and we let our guard down.”

Mask-wearing needs to be the rule indoors and outdoors, unless you are with people you live with, said the state’s health director, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.

“The science and the data tells us that when we’re in a comfortable zone with the people we know and love, we need to wear a mask,” Alexander-Scott said. “COVID-19 is still spreading in those situations.”

She appealed to the younger generation for help, since the virus is infecting the young and killing the old.

Those ages 19 to 29 make up the largest group of positive cases, at 21 percent, according to the latest Health Department data. They are followed by people in their 30s, with 16 percent of cases, and those in their 40s and 50s, at 14 percent each. Those in their 80s make up 32 percent of deaths, followed by people in their 90s, at 27 percent.

“We are depending on you, the young adults, 20s, 30s, 40s who feel fine and have no symptoms, you are the ones we are talking to when we say please heed this warning,” Alexander-Scott said. “Please wear your mask.”

Rhode Island was up to 27,438 confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, and the death toll had risen to 1,149. There were 129 people hospitalized, including 12 in intensive care and five on ventilators.

The state conducted 12,312 tests on Wednesday, with an overall daily test-positive rate of 1.9 percent. Next week, Raimondo said, the state wants to run 4,000 tests on asymptomatic people to get a better handle on the spread of the virus. She asked employers to encourage their workers to get tested.

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