Coronavirus updates

Interstate issues statement on coronavirus precautions

R.I. in state of emergency
Fri, 03/13/2020 - 9:30am

The following statement was issued by Interstate Navigation on Tuesday, March 10:

The health and safety of our traveling passengers and employees is our highest priority, so we are informing our customers through our website and social media for the latest information on the COVID-19 virus, commonly known as coronavirus. Through these media platforms we will update the traveling public with the latest information that we know about the virus, along with ways for our passengers and employees to stay healthy and what steps we are taking in response to the latest health advisories from local, state, and federal officials.

Interstate Navigation Co. is taking guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control as well as the U.S. Coast Guard on any operational changes that may be required due to the virus. So far, no specific changes for ferry vessels have been recommended. However, we have instructed our ticketing, freight terminal and vessel personnel to maintain their cleaning schedule and work to disinfect all hand railings, table tops, door handles, seats, faucets, and toilets in between trips, at a minimum, and during trips as needed. We are well-stocked with cleaning supplies and have ordered extra supplies to the extent that supplies are available for our customers to use while traveling with us.

Should circumstances change, we will provide updates on our website, through our Facebook and Twitter channels, via the local media and through other news outlets.

If special transportation needs are required to and from Block Island, please contact William McCombe, our Director of Security and Block Island’s EMA director at (401) 675-1234.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

The R.I. Department of Health is continuing to ask residents to adhere to general guidelines regarding hygiene and travel and issued the following guidelines:

• Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 5

• Testing in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories. Confirmatory testing is being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Positive results are considered ‘presumptive’ if they still need to be confirmed by the CDC. General guidance

• If you have traveled anywhere internationally (or anywhere overnight in the U.S.) in the last 14 days, monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

• For people who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan, in addition to monitoring yourself for symptoms, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.

• Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• Although Rhode Island has the testing capacity it needs, people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.

• People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases. 

• Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC’s guidance for people older than 60 years of age: 

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

• Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

• More information is available from CDC.

• People with general questions about COVID-19 can visit, write to, or call (401) 222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)

• Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island. 

• Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

• Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand gel.

• Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

• Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Keep surfaces (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, and toys for children) clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant.