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2 field hospitals opened in R.I. to handle surge in cases will close

PROVIDENCE (AP) — Two Rhode Island field hospitals set up three months ago to deal with a possible flood of new coronavirus cases are shutting down Friday, health officials said.

The facility at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence was originally scheduled to close Friday while the Cranston site was expected to shut down in two to three weeks. The Cranston facility discharged its last patients earlier than expected and so it will also close Friday, state Health Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken told WPRI-TV.

Combined, the two field hospitals treated more than 500 patients.

Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said this week hospitalizations in the state are down 65% since last month when vaccinations picked up.

More than 168,000 people in Rhode Island have received their first vaccination dose, while almost 68,000 have been fully vaccinated.

Each field hospital will be cleaned and sanitized, but the medical equipment and supplies will remain on site in case another surge in new cases requires them to be reactivated.



The number of Rhode Islanders who have died after contracting COVID-19 has passed the 2,500 mark, according to state Department of Health numbers released Friday.

With six more virus-related fatalities Thursday, the state's death toll is now 2,502.

The state also reported 437 new confirmed cases of the disease, 399 who tested positive Thursday and the remainder who tested positive on previous days, pushing the number of known cases in the state to nearly 126,000.

Thursday's positivity rate was just over 2%.

The number of people in the state's hospitals with the disease as of Wednesday, the latest day for which the information is available, was 168, up slightly from the previous day.

The latest seven-day average positivity rate in Rhode Island is 2.03%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Rhode Island the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test encounters using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has decreased over the past two weeks, going from about 441 on Feb. 11 to 332 on Thursday, according to The COVID Tracking Project.



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