PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s coronavirus test positivity rate and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 are continuing to climb, according to state Department of Health data released Friday.
The 198 new positive cases were out of about 6,600 tests, a 3% positivity rate.
The 7-day rolling average of the positivity rate in the state has now risen over the past two weeks from about 1.1% on Oct. 1 to nearly 2.1% on Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
The state also adjusted the number of new confirmed cases on Wednesday to 279, the largest one-day total since early May.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases has risen over the past two weeks from 122 on Oct. 1 to 199 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins figures.
There were 137 people in the state’s hospitals with the disease as of Wednesday, up from 131 the previous day, and the highest one-day total since June 11.
The state also reported three new virus-related fatalities, for a total of 1,152.
Ten Rhode Island residents have sued Gov. Gina Raimondo in federal court for requiring them to test for COVID-19, denying them “air of best quality” by requiring them to wear face coverings, and denying them freedom of assembly.
Regulations in place to battle the pandemic have resulted in the plaintiffs “not enjoying normal events canceled by fear of said virus.”
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by lead plaintiff Peter Chafee Card Jr., of Middletown.
“Our whole way of life is being trashed,” Card told The Newport Daily News. “A way to stop a bully is to call the bully out. A lawsuit is a good way to call out a bully.”
A spokesperson for the Democratic governor called the restrictions necessary.
“The extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe threat it poses to at-risk populations, including those over 65 years of age, has necessitated restrictions around in-person communal events and the implementation of critical public health procedures,” Audrey Lucas wrote in an email.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to issue a cease and desist order ending Raimondo’s state of emergency.
A Rhode Island health care organization has told staff at its hospitals to discard a particular brand of face mask because some turned out to be counterfeit, which could compromise their effectiveness.
“Care New England has received confirmation that at least one lot of Makrite N95 respirators in our possession is not authentic Makrite product,” Care New England spokeswoman Raina Smith told The Providence Journal.
The majority of CNE health care workers do not use Makrite respirators, and the hospital group has an adequate supply of alternative respirators, she said.
The respirators were purchased from a reliable vendor, CNE said in an email to staff obtained by the Journal.
Makrite is based in Taiwan and has a facility in Massachusetts. The company has issued multiple warnings about counterfeit products and scams. A message was left with the company Friday.