PROVIDENCE – Governor Gina Raimondo reported 19 cases of COVID-19 in schools since students made a return to in-person education on Monday. According to the governor, cases of the virus in schools were expected and will continue. 

The state has established a new, fast and free K-12 testing and contact-tracing system, open seven days a week, which Raimondo is encouraging anyone enrolled in K-12 education to go through for such purposes. The existence of the independent system is to further streamline results and allow state and education officials to take proper precautions to prevent spread faster. Of the 300 total students tested in the K-12 system, eight tests came back positive, while 11 positive results were derived from typical testing means.

Raimondo said the positive results from the K-12 system were quickly addressed.

“In every instance, those individuals were contacted the same day, isolated immediately, and their close contacts were all quarantined,” she said. “We’re off to a very good start and we’re going to have to work hard to keep us there.”

The governor spent much of the day Monday touring schools and meeting with superintendents and other officials.

“By and large, we’re having a great week and we had an excellent return to school,” she said.

K-12 testing is available at 14 sites across Rhode Island that are open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. To make an appointment, please call (844) 857-1814.

“We will continue to see cases in school,” she added while noting the state was prepared to handle such developments.

On a statewide scale, the governor also reported 86 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing Rhode Island’s total to 23,358 cases. There were also three additional fatalities attributed to the virus, making a statewide total of 1,081 deaths. 4,701 tests were conducted in the prior day, meaning Rhode Island possess a 1.8 percent positivity rate, up from last week’s rate, prompting Raimondo to caution Rhode Islanders to continue to be vigilant.

Raimondo also addressed compliance at businesses, restaurants and bars. Of the nearly 1,000 businesses surveyed last week, the governor said, employee and customer mask wearing was at 96 percent and 99 percent of inspected businesses were complying with capacity restrictions.

“We are seeing consistently excellent compliance,” she said. “Thank you.”

“We’ve been at this a long time, we’re all sick of it,” Raimondo continued. “I think I can assert that confidently. We are ready for this to be behind us. But it isn’t, which means we have to keep being vigilant. You’re doing a terrific job and I have to say ‘thank you.’”

Only three percent of bars had crowding in the bar area, according to state inspections.

“A month ago, I was up here imploring bars to do a better job,” said the governor. “You have heard, you answered the call, and I want to say thank you.”

Raimondo will host another press briefing next Wednesday at 1 p.m. 

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