PROVIDENCE – Dr. Michael Fine, the director of the R.I. Department of Health, on Feb. 11 formally declared that the widespread flu in Rhode Island is over. As a result, health care workers who have not been immunized against the flu are no longer required to wear a surgical mask during all times of patient contact.
“While we consider Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in determining influenza activity levels, we also look closely at what we are seeing locally and pay attention to what we are hearing from our health care facilities,” said Fine. “Based on the sum total of this information, I am declaring influenza to no longer be widespread in Rhode Island.”
“While we are no longer considering influenza to be widespread … unvaccinated Rhode Islanders remain at risk for getting the flu,” Fine continued, adding that the influenza season typically runs through May.
“We strongly encourage all Rhode Islanders to protect themselves and those around them by being immunized against influenza,” he said. •