Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH will provide updates about Rhode Island’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response today, Tuesday, March 31st, at 1 p.m.
Updates as they happen;
Gov: Press Conference on Wednesday will be held at 2:30 pm
Gov: Reports 4 more deaths in R.I. due to COVID-19. Reports 86 more positive COVID-19 cases in state, brings total to 488. 59 currently hospitalized.
Gov: “In the state of Rhode Island, we do not have enough hospital beds. That’s a fact. Governor says the state needs to buy time to ready the system – meaning Rhode Islanders need to stay home.
Gov: President Trump last night approved a disaster declaration for Rhode Island. This means federal government and FEMA will reimburse cities and towns for expenses related to COVID-19 starting on January 20th.
Gov: Wants Rhode Islanders to write down at the end of each down where you have been and who you have been in contact with. This will help with contact tracing in the event you get tested positive.
Gov: As of this Friday, April 3 state beaches and parks will be closed. All campground openings in the state have been postponed until May. “It does not mean you can’t go for a walk.”
Gov: Starting today, R.I. Superior Court rolling out new program to assists businesses disrupted by virus by enabling them to operate, access capital and pay debts incrementally under court supervision. More info on courts.ri.gov.
Gov: Testing – Hopes to be at 1,000 tests a day by the end of the week. All drive-thru testing sites should be up and running on Wednesday. Reminder – do not just show up at drive-thru sites. Must call your doctor and schedule and appointment.
Gov: Will be back this week or early next week with longer term guidance for utilities and evictions.
Gov: Medical professionals (retired, part time, etc) needed to volunteer. Go to RIResponds.org.
Director of Health: 86 new cases, total to 488. 6 cases yesterday were transferred out to other state, which is why the numbers don’t sync.
Director of Health: Total fatalities is now eight in Rhode Island. Four new fatalities included a male in 60’s, female in 80’s, male in 70’s, female in 70’s.
Director of Health: To date, testing has been done on priority groups. With more testing, will loosen restrictions around who gets tested for COVID-19 to include people 65+ with symptoms, people with underlying conditions and critical infrastructure workers (police officers/firefighters). Testing sites will focus on vulnerable populations and soon expand to all with symptoms.
Director of Health: Allowing nursing students who have completed one semester to get 90-day certified nursing assistance license. Guidance going out to nursing schools today.
Director of Health: Urging all healthcare workers to wear surgical masks.
Director of Health: Emphasizes nursing homes and healthcare facilities to clean all high contact hours every four hours. Started to see this virus can be transmitted by droplet to surfaces where it can remain for some time, where it can live for a significant amount of time. Cleaning consistently is crucial.
Director of Health: Since tomorrow is first of the month, asks folks who receive food assistance to not go to the grocery store if you’re feeling sick. Asks people not to go to the grocery stores in large groups. State doing what they can to expand food delivery services.
Gov: In response to question from press, says admin is working with homeless advocates and is in the process of leasing hotels to quarantine homeless with symptoms.
Gov: In response to question from press about University of Washington Model that says state would see a peak by April 19th, their own model suggests that the peak is further out, but also higher. There are still limited numbers in R.I. Could be a few days or a week away. Entire model depends on level of effectiveness of mitigation.
Director of Health: In response to press question, 59 Rhode Islanders hospitalized, there are 14 patients in ICU, 9 intubated. Ages range.
Director of Health: Fatalities at nursing homes – 2 at Golden Crest, 1 at Oak Hill. Those nursing homes had groups of cases. At another facility there was one death. Only reporting names of nursing homes if they are seeing groups of cases.
This story is developing and will be updated as more information is received.