Everything You Need to Know About the Coronavirus in Rhode Island

117 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with twenty-two people in the ICU and twelve people on ventilators.

On Friday, September 17, the state reported two new fatalities and 343 new cases of COVID-19.

  • Rhode Island is in a period of “high transmission” of the coronavirus fueled by the contagious Delta variant, per the RI Department of Health, with 231.9 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week
  • 117 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with twenty-two people in the ICU and twelve people on ventilators
  • Thursday’s testing saw a positivity rate of 2.0 percent
  • 701,988 people are fully vaccinated in Rhode Island; 769,087 are at least partially vaccinated
  • 2,812 people have died from COVID-19 in Rhode Island since the start of the pandemic
  • 168,449 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Rhode Island since the start of the pandemic


 visit back2schoolri.com for info

  • Rhode Island’s public schools must require masks for all students and personnel, regardless of vaccination status
    • This comes on the heels of an August 17 vote by the Rhode Island Council on Elementary and Secondary Education ordering the Department of Education not to approve district back-to-school plans without mask mandates, effectively mandating masks in public schools across the state.
    • How the mask mandates will be enforced is unclear.


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial and high transmission” of COVID-19
    • Rhode Island is currently in a period of “high transmission,” however the state has not ordered an indoor mask mandate
    • Fully vaccinated Rhode Islanders (at least two weeks after their final dose) are not required to wear masks indoors
    • Unvaccinated Rhode Islanders are required to wear masks indoors, on the honor system
  • Per the CDC, Americans are “required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States”
  • Individual business owners in Rhode Island may still require indoor masking
    • Most major chains in Rhode Island, including Target, Whole Foods, CVS, Walmart and Home Depot, no longer require masks for fully vaccinated customers
  • People with compromised immune systems — regardless of vaccination status — should speak with their physicians about masking
  • Rhode Island’s major theaters and performance groups have instituted mask mandates, along with vaccine requirements. Read more here.


The state has opened vaccinations to all Rhode Islanders age twelve and older; visit VaccinateRI.org or call 844-930-1779 to schedule an appointment


Visit portal.ri.gov to schedule a test at a state-run test site

  • The state is hosting pop-up rapid testing events (walk-up; no appointment necessary) in some community settings
  • Some CVS pharmacies in Rhode Island offer self-swab COVID-19 tests for adults eighteen and older. Click here to make an appointment.
  • Asymptomatic testing is encouraged for all Rhode Islanders; schedule a test at portal.ri.gov


  Visit reopeningri.com for more

  • The state has lifted all capacity restrictions on indoor dining, bar areas, houses of worship, retail settings, gyms, personal services, venues of assembly, funeral homes and offices
    • Bars may offer indoor standing service
    • Capacity is at each business’s discretion
  • The state has also lifted all restrictions on social gatherings
  • Catered events, including weddings, are no longer restricted
    • indoor and outdoor cocktail service and standing bar service at events may resume
    • Dancing may resume


  • Vaccinated domestic and international travelers: You do not need to quarantine upon arrival
  • Unvaccinated domestic travelers: If you’re visiting or returning to Rhode Island from a state with current travel restrictions, you must quarantine for ten days or provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken after arrival or within seventy-two hours before arrival.
  • Unvaccinated international travelers: You must quarantine for ten days. If you have a negative COVID-19 test result at least five days into your quarantine, you may shorten it to seven days.


Rent relief options for tenants

  • Renters in arrears and/or at risk of eviction should call United Way’s 211 hotline to see if they qualify for the Safe Harbor rent relief program or visit housinghelpri.com
    • Financial services will be available for renters
    • Both landlords and tenants must agree to participate


  • Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath and lost of taste and/or smell
    • Visit the Rhode Island COVID-19 self-checker at covidselfchecker.ri.gov for guidance on making coronavirus-related health care decisions based on CDC guidelines
  • If you’re showing symptoms, call your health care provider first; if you don’t have one, contact a nearby urgent care.
  • The Crush COVID RI app, a contact tracing, location tracking and symptom management application for smartphones, is available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
  • Call 401-222-8022 with general questions about COVID-19 or visit the Rhode Island Department of Health website for the latest information
  • Call Rhode Island’s BH Link at 401-414-5465 if you need mental health help or are struggling with substance abuse; for children, call Kids’ Link at 1-855-543-5465


Editor’s note: This story is updated frequently.