How the coronavirus is hitting R.I. state employees

The State House in Providence, R.I.
The State House in Providence, R.I.David Goldman/Associated Press

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m really thankful for DVR because I completely forgot about the series finale of “Modern Family.” Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Programming note: There will be no afternoon Rhode Map today. Happy Easter!

Let’s start with the latest on the coronavirus in Rhode Island: As of Thursday, 1,727 residents had tested positive since the beginning of March. We know 12,281 had tested negative, and 160 are currently in the hospital. The state has had 43 deaths related to the virus.


The coronavirus hasn’t hit state government quite as hard as private industry, but we now know that at least 20 employees across nine departments have tested positive for the disease over the last month.

Department of Administration spokeswoman Brenna McCabe released a department-by-department breakdown of confirmed cases in an e-mail last night. It’s worth noting that the list doesn’t include elected offices or the public colleges.

Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals: 8

Department of Corrections: 3

Department of Revenue: 3

Veterans Services: 1

Department of Health: 1

Executive office of Health and Human Services: 1

Department of Children, Youth, and Families: 1

Department of Administration: 1

Department of Human Services: 1

In a memo sent to employees yesterday, Department of Administration director Brett Smiley said that when a state worker tests positive, they are required to isolate, a thorough contact tracing process is started, and the person’s work area is cleaned and disinfected.

The confirmed cases were first reported by talk show host John DePetro.


As a reminder, all of the statewide offices have established contingency plans in the event that an elected official contracts the virus, as have most of the major departments in government.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you've got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott has become the local version of Dr. Anthony Fauci during the coronavirus crisis. Ed Fitzpatrick profiles the woman behind the podium.
  • Child abuse reports are plummeting across the region, but the Globe’s Matt Stout explains why that’s not a good thing.
  • Former Massachusetts education secretary Paul Reville has also done a lot of work in Rhode Island. In this must-read op-ed, he explains how the coronavirus is giving officials a chance to rethink public education-.
  • The unintended consequence of all these Zoom hangouts? It’s harder to blow people off.
  • Cam Newton has ruined one too many fantasy football seasons for me, so sure, let him go to the Patriots.
  • Another round of happy birthday wishes go out to Andrew MacMannis (33), Francesca Catucci (8), Agnes G. Doody (90), Patrick Laverty, Philip Eil (35), Keith Fernandes, Ann Martini, Councilwoman Katherine Kerwin, Tomas Avila, Austin Rooke (25), Michael Guertin, Maya Nunes (15), Jim Mousseau (68), Joe Cianciolo (81), Kathy Smith, April Petrilli, Brigid Newman (35), Mary Pat Denci, David Delea (22), Lucy A. Burr (96), Kristina Fox, state Senator Josh Miller, Olivia Baxter (23), Thomas Staples (11), Dan Nolte (26), Carolyn Detonnancourt Martino (62), Bob Haskell (67), Deb Cabrera, and Jim McCormick (70).


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what's happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

  • Governor Gina Raimondo’s daily press conference on the coronavirus is at 1 p.m.
  • Channel 10 is broadcasting Easter Mass from the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
  • The New Shoreham Town Council has called an emergency meeting for tomorrow morning to address “an unexpected occurrence that requires immediate action to protect the public.”
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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you on Monday.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.