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Raimondo in quarantine after close contact tests positive for COVID-19

Retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty and outgoing Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung have tested positive

On Dec. 22, Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo takes a moment to welcome back state Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, who had been in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.David DelPoio/The Providence Journal (Pool photo) (Custom credit)

PROVIDENCE — Governor Gina M. Raimondo is in quarantine again after being informed that she had a close contact last week who tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman said Monday.

Raimondo has tested negative repeatedly, including earlier Monday, communications director Josh Block said. The governor will be out of quarantine on Thursday and will continue working from home until then, he said. He said he could not share information about person who tested positive.

Since she is in quarantine, Raimondo will be unable to address the House and the Senate when they return on Tuesday for the 2021 legislative session, Block said. Officials tried to find a way for her to address legislators remotely, but were unable to do so, he said.


Raimondo’s regular coronavirus press conference, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed until 1 p.m. Friday, Block said.

Raimondo had also been in quarantine in December after Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of Rhode Island’s Department of Health, tested positive for COVID-19. Raimondo’s director of administration, Brett P. Smiley, also tested positive for the virus in December, but both Alexander-Scott and Smiley have since returned to work.

Meanwhile, recently retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he will be unable to swear in Warwick Democrat K. Joseph Shekarchi as House Speaker and Frank Picozzi as Warwick’s new mayor.

Flaherty, 73, is a former Warwick mayor who retired at the end of December after 17 years on the state’s high court.

House spokesman Larry Berman said Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg will swear in Shekarchi instead.

On his Facebook page, Picozzi wrote, “Unfortunately Justice Flaherty has tested positive for Covid and can’t make it. I spoke with him by phone last night and he’s as disappointed as I am.”


Picozzi said state District Court Judge Stephen M. Isherwood will swear him in instead.

On Monday evening, outgoing Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung – who ran against Raimondo in the 2014 and 2018 governor’s races – announced that he, too, has tested positive for COVID-19.

“2021 is no less full of surprises it seems,” Fung tweeted. “My last act as Mayor actually ended up being a precautionary COVID test before tonight’s ceremony & while I’m asymptomatic, I tested positive. This is what I get for trying to take a few days off after 12 years! #QuarantineTime.”

Edward Fitzpatrick can be reached at edward.fitzpatrick@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @FitzProv.