Rhode Island health officials are waiting to find out if enterovirus D68 has hit the Ocean State. The virus has been confirmed in 18 states so far, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials in Connecticut confirmed the first case there earlier this week.
That’s the closest state to Rhode Island to have any confirmed cases of the virus, though the Rhode Island Department of Health says it’s seen increases in respiratory problems in emergency rooms across the state.
The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.
There were fewer children in Rhode Island last year with elevated lead levels in their blood. Improvements to housing played a big role in the decline.
Most of the drop in lead levels took place in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick and Tiverton. In Providence, the city has made sure children couldn’t live in rental homes unless they were certified as lead-free. Also, the city’s water authority monitored lead levels in drinking water.