With cases of COVID-19 continuing to increase in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is recommending that all hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living communities restrict visitation for the next two weeks.

These recommendations are being made for two weeks as RIDOH continues to work with facilities to develop plans and other measures to ensure safe visitation for more vulnerable populations during this period with increased community spread of COVID-19.

In hospitals, RIDOH recommends no visitation, except for people who are essential to a patient’s care. Examples of visitors who are essential to a patient’s care are a support partner for someone in labor, and a family caregiver for someone with dementia or a developmental disability. Visitors who are essential to a patient’s care must be free of symptoms of COVID-19. Visits should only happen during specified blocks of time. A full guidance document is posted online.

In nursing homes and assisted living communities, RIDOH recommends only allowing compassionate care visits for the next two weeks. Examples of compassionate care visits are an end-of-life visit, a visit with a loved one who is experiencing emotional distress, or who is experiencing weight loss or dehydration. A full guidance document is posted online.

The guidance documents provide recommendations for alternatives to in-person visits, such as remote visits using phones, tablets, and computers. If facilities have technology available, they should make it available to patients and residents.

The nursing home and assisted living recommendations are effective as of tomorrow. The hospital recommendations are effective as of today.

Testing

State-run COVID-19 testing sites will be open tomorrow, Election Day. These sites are the 15 K-12 sites throughout the state, Rhode Island Convention Center site, the Stop & Shop locations in Newport and Cumberland, and the Block Island Fire and Rescue. However, these sites will be closed on Veterans Day (November 11th).

Key messages for the public about test results

If you are positive for COVID-19, RIDOH will call you within a few days. However, if you learn that you are positive for COVID-19 before RIDOH calls you, you should take action right away. Do not wait for RIDOH to call you to start making changes in your life.

What you need to do if you test positive:

– Stay home for at least 10 days from the day you were tested. – Do not go to work or school for at least 10 days after testing positive. – Call your employer or school to inform them that you have tested positive and will be out for at least 10 days. – Call your primary care provider (if you have one) and inform them that you have tested positive. – Get help if you feel sick. Call your primary care provider or an urgent care to get medical advice. Call 911 or the nearest hospital if you think you are having a medical emergency (e.g., trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.) Tell them you have COVID-19. – Do your best to keep your distance from those you live with. If you can, use a separate bathroom and bedroom from others. Stay out of the kitchen and rooms where people in the house gather. – Protect the people you live with from catching COVID-19 from you. Try to stay in a different room and wear a mask if you must be in the same room with others. – Have things you need delivered. Ask friends and family to drop off items at your door that you need, like food and other necessities. – Write a list of people you have been in close contact with. Make a list of everyone you were around starting 2 days before you got tested or started having COVID-19 symptoms until the time you got your test result and started isolating at home. – Let your close contacts know you have COVID-19. – Answer the phone when RIDOH calls.

What people you live with need to do if you test positive:

– Everyone you live with needs to stay home too. People you live with cannot go to work or school while you are infected (10 days) and for an additional 14 days. – Call the employers and schools of everyone in the house to let them know people will not be at work or school. Plan on 24 days home for everyone living in the house. (This is because symptoms can develop up to 14 days after your last exposure.) RIDOH will give you the exact dates when they call. – Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 in everyone living with you. Watch for all the symptoms of COVID-19. Check a temperature twice a day (fever is greater than 100.4 degrees F). – Get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present. Call your healthcare provider for help getting tested or look online for a testing site. – Help you stay in a separate room. If you are able to stay in your own room without help, people in the house can bring you your food and check on you so that you do not need to be hanging around in the same room with others in the house. – Remind you to wear a mask if you have to be close to them or are in the same room in the house.

What your close contacts who don’t live with you need to do if you test positive:

– Stay home for 14 days from the day they were last with you. – Call their employer or school to let them know they are a close contact of a person with COVID-19 and are staying at home awaiting a call from RIDOH with quarantine instructions. RIDOH can provide an absence note from work or school for people in quarantine. – Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 Watch for all the symptoms of COVID-19 (list them). Check a temperature twice a day (fever is greater than 100.4 degrees F). – Get tested if any symptoms of COVID-19 are present. Call your health care provider for help getting tested online. Answer the phone when RIDOH calls.