A COVID-19 cluster that prompted a Rhode Island high school to move to remote classes for a week may be tied to a recent homecoming dance, health officials said.
Pilgrim High School in Warwick started remote classes on Monday, about a week after the dance.
“Roughly 25 cases among students and staff have been identified,” state Department of Health spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said. “Those individuals could have had many exposures, but more than half reported attending the homecoming dance.”
The health department will offer coronavirus testing to all students and staff at the school on Wednesday.
“Thanksgiving is next week,” the Warwick School Department said in an email to the school community on Monday. “We know you want to spend time with family and friends. Please take advantage of this opportunity to get tested to ensure safe holidays for everyone.”
Health officials also recommended limiting contact with others and monitoring for symptoms.
Cases across the state have been rising for the past few weeks, Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said at a news conference Tuesday.
The state’s latest positivity rate is higher than 5% and the 516 new coronavirus infections reported Tuesday is the highest single-day case count since early April.
With Thanksgiving and associated gatherings just about a week away, she urged residents to take precautions to stop further spread, including testing, vaccinations and mask wearing.
“Increases like this are not surprising,” Alexander-Scott said. “They remind us that the delta strain of COVID-19 continues to require active approaches to prevent transmission.”
Gov. Daniel McKee urged people eligible for booster shots to get them.