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

Video: Governor, Director of Health provide COVID-19 update (March 24th), 124 positive cases of COVID-19 now in R.I.

First, data…

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 18 additional cases of COVID-19. Among these 18 people, individuals reported travel to a number of domestic locations, including Colorado and Oregon. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 124.

  • Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 124
  • Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 1,143
  • Number of people for whom tests are pending at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories: 196
  • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 3,000
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Important to note – Director of Health: “There are many, many patients of our 124 who have recovered”

Data notes:

  • Gender, age, and county breakdowns are not included in today’s update. Because some results came in later than usual, RIDOH needs additional time to do follow-up with patients.
  • Hospital laboratories and private laboratories are now testing for COVID-19. The number of positives reported above includes all positives from all laboratories for Rhode Islanders. However, the number of negative and pending test results are only for RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories. A unified data collection process for negative and pending test results is being developed. (Individual patients are being notified directly by their healthcare providers of negative test results.)
  • Rhode Island COVID-19 data is available online.

Announcements

  • Care.com: Rhode Island has partnered with Care.com to increase child care access for frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to providing 90 days of free, premium access to their website, Care.com has created portals specifically for frontline workers and caregivers in Rhode Island. Starting today, frontline workers looking for child care can visit www.care.com/rineed to find a local caregiver. Rhode Island residents interested in becoming caregivers can visit www.care.com/rigive  to register. Potential caregivers are subject to Care.com’s extensive background and safety checks. While child care services are not typically free of charge, the Rhode Island portal gives residents the ability to waive their fees and volunteer as caregivers, providing additional support to frontline workers.
  • Regulations for child care facilities: The Governor also announced that DHS has promulgated emergency regulations for Rhode Island child care providers that choose to remain open during this crisis. To the extent possible, child care facilities must operate under new mandatory conditions

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:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
  • 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.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.