Free COVID-19 tests can be taken in the Memorial Union. Photo by Siobhan Richards.

In this week’s update, The Good Five-Cent Cigar will discuss the state of Rhode Island hitting a record number of COVID-19 cases and the University of Rhode Island’s plan to remain on campus for the spring semester. 

New daily record of coronavirus cases in Rhode Island reported 

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) reported 919 total new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, Nov. 9, exceeding the previous record set just one day prior. 

According to the RIDOH’s COVID-19 response data, the state reported a 6.7 percent positivity rate with 12,629 new tests administered on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The state has distributed 1,281,145 tests since the start of the pandemic and has seen a total 39,776 positive coronavirus cases, as of Wednesday, Nov. 11.

According to a database from The New York Times, there have been 1,243 COVID-19-related deaths in Rhode Island. 

On Nov. 10, the RIDOH Twitter page shared a post advising Rhode Islanders to limit social gatherings. RIDOH warned residents that parties with more than the state-mandated 10-person capacity will be shut down in an effort to keep citizens safe and help prevent economic downfall. 

Gov. Gina Raimondo has recently and repeatedly said Rhode Island is in a “bad place” these recent weeks, urging people to adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines by keeping groups small and continuously wearing a face mask. 

A statewide stay-at-home advisory took effect starting Sunday, Nov. 8. Residents have been asked to adhere to the curfews 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays on Saturdays for at least two weeks. Other regulations ordered by Gov. Raimondo include various recreational facilities being closed by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. Also, indoor capacity at entertainment and recreational facilities are now limited to 50 percent with a maximum of 125 people.  

A look into the spring semester 

URI will continue to plan for a safe return to in-person and hybrid classes in the Spring 2021 semester. 

According to Director of Health Services Ellen Reynolds, the University hopes that students who plan to come back to campus are those students who need to be in Rhode Island, and consider the University their “safe space.”

Reynolds also said there is a possibility that the move-in process for students living on campus will start earlier than planned, to allot enough time to conduct mandatory testing for students and community members returning from places throughout the country. 

 Reynolds hopes students on and off campus will continue keeping the coronavirus transmission low by social distancing and sticking to the same small groups. She said because the entire URI community has worked together to keep campus open until Thanksgiving, it is likely that students will return to campus for the spring semester in 2021. 

Resources

Health Services can be reached at 401-873-2246. Students can call the Counseling Center at 401-874-2288. The Center’s normal business hours are Monday, Thursday and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Outside of operating hours, students will be connected to ProtoCall, which provides behavioral health services over the phone.  The Psychological Consultation Center can be reached at 401-874-4264, and the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic can be reached at 401-874-5956. For more information and stories in the coming days, check our website and Twitter @rhodycigar.