rhode island department of health

Rhode Island’s first case of enterovirus D68 has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is responsible for some hospitalizations, but so far no deaths.

Rhode Island’s first case of the respiratory virus has been confirmed in an adult, who was recently hospitalized but has been discharged. It’s already been confirmed in neighboring states. Rhode Island sent a batch of specimens to the CDC for testing, and this is the first to come back positive.

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.

Here are a few asthma resources in the community to help you or a loved one manage your asthma. Did you know you can attend classes to learn more about managing your or your child's asthma, arrange a home visit to help reduce triggers where you live, and more - often for free?

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department has started tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Agency head Dr. Michael Fine says that’s because those drugs are addictive. And four out of five people who use heroin got started on prescription painkillers. In July, he says, 118,000 Rhode Islanders got prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.

Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.

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.                                                        

A program designed to help Rhode Island's older adult population prepare for climate change threats is one of several projects that will receive federal money as part of the state's disaster recovery action plan.  This program will receive $150,000 over the next two years.

Bart Everson / Flickr

A law aimed at protecting children from unsafe levels of lead in their homes is working, according to a new study. But only when landlords comply with it.

The Rhode Island Department of Health's recent decision to grant approval, with 22 conditions, to CVS to open seven retail health clinics in pharmacies throughout Rhode Island came down in the form of a 43-page document. In my humble opinion, it's a well-written, even eloquent ode to the importance of primary care and the challenges of regulating health care in a state where for-profit health care is no longer around the corner but setting up shop on it.

Megan Hall / RIPR

The nation’s largest pharmacy chain has been given the green light to open seven retail health care clinics in Rhode Island. CVS pharmacies’ MinuteClinics would see patients for minor illnesses and perform some routine health screenings. But state health officials' approval comes with several conditions.

A statewide electronic health records program must be more transparent and offer patients more privacy protections. That’s the result of a suit brought by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The critically-acclaimed documentary “Shored Up” will be playing at Brown University this evening.

The school’s Center for Environmental Studies and the Rhode Island Department of Health are sponsoring the movie screening and a panel discussion after the movie.

The documentary looks at how different coastal communities along the eastern seaboard are trying to deal with rising sea levels.

Policy and environmental science experts will sit on the panel, including the town planner of Westerly, where four natural disasters have hit in the past four years.

The state’s health department is considering updates to its immunization policy for school kids from preschool through college. The proposals would require flu shots for kids up to age five and the HPV vaccine for kids entering ninth grade.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

It was only a matter of time…

The flu is now widespread in Rhode Island.

That means there are outbreaks of the flu in more than half the state. It also kicks into effect a state requirement that health care professionals who have NOT been vaccinated wear surgical masks whenever they’re in contact with patients. The health department reports that flu-related hospitalizations are up as well.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

While the flu is now widespread in Massachusetts, it’s still sporadic in Rhode Island. But 16 Rhode Islanders have already been hospitalized, and officials expect the number of cases to spike.

Health department officials say so far there have been no flu deaths, but in past years flu has killed well over a hundred people in Rhode Island. They say one of this year’s dominant strains in Rhode Island and nationally is H1N1, but that’s also one of the strains this year’s vaccine protects against. 

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