PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer starting Thursday is requiring all employees to wear a face covering indoors, regardless of coronavirus vaccination status.
The office is thought to be the first state agency to require masks for all employees, although some agencies require masking for workers who interact with members of the public.
The decision was made “in accordance with CDC guidelines and Rhode Island’s status as an area with substantial spread of the COVID-19 virus," according to a statement from General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.
The delta variant of the virus has led to a nationwide spike in new confirmed cases.
“In order to protect the health and the lives of Rhode Islanders, we must follow the science,” Magaziner said.
The agency has about 100 employees.
Magaziner has also directed his staff to explore adopting requirements in line with President Joe Biden’s policy for federal employees, under which staff must either provide proof of vaccination or comply with regular testing. The
HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA
Rhode Island's coronavirus community transmission rate continues to climb and is now at more than 126 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days, which is considered “high,” the state Department of Health reported Thursday.
The agency also reported more than 200 new confirmed coronavirus cases, but no additional deaths.
Wednesday’s positivity rate was 2.9% from 7,156 tests.
There were 39 people in the state's hospitals with the disease, according to the latest data.
Nearly 662,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the state.
The department also reported that most of Rhode Island’s state-run COVID-19 testing sites will be closed Monday in observance of Victory Day, the holiday that marks the end of World War II and is celebrated only in Rhode Island. Testing sites will resume normal operations on Tuesday.