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Governor Gina M. Raimondo today made several announcements about the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

But first the numbers;

  • Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 83
    • Bristol County: 6
    • Kent County: 7
    • Newport County: 9
    • Providence County: 52
    • Washington County: 9
  • Number of people who had negative test results: 932
  • Number of people for whom tests are pending: 216
  • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,750
  • Groups: Today the Governor reiterated that Rhode Islanders should avoid any non-essential gathering, and no gatherings should have more than 10 people. This is more than a guideline – it is a public health directive that is critical to keep Rhode Islanders safe. 
  • Businesses: The Governor signed an Executive Order today directing all recreation and entertainment facilities to close their in-person operations. This includes theaters, cinemas, sporting events, bowling alleys and others. The Executive Order will also order the closure of any close-contact businesses like gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors. These businesses must be closed by 5PM tomorrow. 
  • Army Corps of Engineers: The Governor announced today that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sending a team to Rhode Island tomorrow to evaluate existing facilities for their potential as alternate care locations. She emphasized that she is working to ensure this does not become necessary, but is continuing to plan for all possibilities.

Also during the press conference, the Governor mentioned;

  • Governor says that tomorrow she will make an announcement regarding an order regarding domestic travel to Rhode Island.
  • In regards to a What’s Up Newp question about childcare and daycare, Governor says most parents should not go to work this week; should work from home. Some must go to work so rolling out system soon to provide child care for essential workers. Boys & Girls Club and YMCA have safe child care facilities.
  • Governor says tomorrow or Tuesday she will be making a broader announcement about childcare or babysitting for essential employees.

The Governor also reiterated on her call today for any business with medical supplies to visit this link bit.ly/covid19-msd and see how they can help provide assistance to the State’s efforts, and she reminded all Rhode Islanders that tomorrow is the first day of distance learning in all Rhode Island schools.

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The Governor announced today that Rhode Island has 17 additional cases of COVID-19. These people range in age from their 20s to their 70s. Of these 17 people, two are hospitalized. RIDOH is investigating each case. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 83.

Key messages for the public

  • If you have traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.
  • Avoid all crowded places, large events, and mass gatherings. This is social distancing. However, people should continue doing essential errands (such as going to the grocery store).
  • Through March 30th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)
  • Due to the closure of schools, free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. More information is available online.
  • Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.
  • People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
  • Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC’s guidance for people older than 60 years of age:

o    Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

o    When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.

o    Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

o    Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

o    More information is available from CDC.

  • People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit www.health.ri.gov/covid, write to RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public. The Hotline will be staffed this weekend from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)
  • Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.

o    Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

o    Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use warm water and soap. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

o    Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

o    Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

o    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.