Infectious disease outbreaks, such as influenza, pertussis, tuberculosis, and meningitis, can post a threat to our community’s health. Federal, state, and local governments and global agencies for human and animal health closely monitor for diseases with the potential to cause outbreaks and develop strategies to contain their spread and develop treatments.
To gauge the potential impact of the disease on Rhode Island’s human population, it is helpful to classify disease occurrence in the following fashion:
- An isolated case of a high-consequence disease: One or more cases of a particularly serious disease (e.g., botulism), whose further spread is unlikely, but place a significant strain on the resources required to isolate and provide treatment for the infected.
- Institutional outbreak: Two or more cases of similar illness with a common exposure at an institution (e.g., a school, nursing home, correctional facility).
- Epidemic: An increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.
- Pandemic: An epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting many people.
The Novel Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Two days later, a national emergency was declared in the United States concerning the COVID-19 outbreak. PEMA and the City of Providence are supporting our City’s response and recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.