State sees uptick in new confirmed cases, fewer in hospital

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island had an increase in the number of new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but the number of patients hospitalized with the disease continues to decline, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

There were 74 new confirmed cases, up from 36 the previous day. The 74 cases were out of 3,959 people tested, a positive rate of less than 2%.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The state also reported three more coronavirus-related deaths for a total of 959.

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SCHOOLS REOPENING PLAN

Providence children won’t necessarily go to the same school they went to last year when classes restart this fall because of coronavirus-related changes, Superintendent Harrison Peters said.

Peters held a remote town hall for hundreds of parents of children in kindergarten through eighth-grade on Wednesday.

“We’ve got some tough decisions before us,” he said.

Children may have to go to schools closer to their home because of a shortage of school buses. State guidance regarding social distancing made it clear that buses will need to transport fewer kids and there are not enough buses and drivers to meet the need, Peters said.

Peters laid out three options, including one that would move all students to their neighborhood school, allowing more to walk.

Many parents said they were upset that their child may have to change schools, and offered to drive their child to school.

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HISTORIC HOME

A historic home in Rhode Island in reopening this weekend with several changes designed to comply with the state Department of Health coronavirus guidelines.

The nearly 300-year-old Babcock-Smith House Museum in Westerly will reopen for tours on Saturday, The Sun of Westerly reported.

Information necessary to comply with Rhode Island’s tracing program will be gathered when reservations are made. Face coverings will be required for all visitors and proper physical distancing will be enforced.