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Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott made several announcements today about the state’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

  • Modeling: The Governor unveiled the state’s modeling projection for coronavirus hospitalizations through mid-May. The model can be found below and on RIDOH’s website
  • EmployRI: The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Skills for Rhode Island’s Future and Commerce have re-launched a state job-seeking platform to help connect Rhode Islanders with nearly 2,000 open jobs. Many of the jobs posted are frontline positions in the fight against COVID-19. Jobseekers can visit www.EmployRI.org to find jobs as well as other important resources including information on unemployment insurance, resume tips and other COVID-19 updates. Employers looking to hire quickly can post jobs on EmployRI for free and dedicated specialists at SkillsRI will facilitate matches with qualified candidates. 
  • COVID-19 Specialty Nursing Home: To support Rhode Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oak Hill Center in Pawtucket is being established as a COVID-19 Specialty Nursing Home. Oak Hill Center will be a central facility to accept patients who are being discharged from the hospital and who are COVID-19 positive but no longer require acute-level care. This strategy allows COVID-19 positive patients leaving the hospital to receive specialized rehabilitation and step-down, post-acute care while reserving hospital beds for patients who need acute-level care. Current Oak Hill Center residents who do not have COVID-19 symptoms will be located in a separate unit of the facility. Residents at other nursing homes who have COVID-19 will remain at their current nursing homes.

COVID-19 Data Update

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 309 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 3,838. RIDOH also announced 18 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Seven people were in their 70s, seven people were in their 80s, and four people were in their 90s. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 105.

Model

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Governor Raimondo and Director of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott revealed a new model for Rhode Island today.

Blue Line (Best Estimate): Peak date would be May 3rd, 2,250 hospital beds would be needed, 2,120 project COVID-19 associated deaths thru October.

Red Line (Higher Estimate): Peak date would be April 27th. 4,300 hospital beds would be needed , 4,015 COVID-19 associated deaths thru October.

Gov: On Rhode Island modeling effort, it’s a combination of what we know about the virus about other countries and communities that are ahead of us and the actual Rhode Island experience (what’s actually happening in our community). “It’s not a perfect model or predictor of where we are going”.

Model, which is based off of hospitalization rates, predicts the higher scenario would see 4,300 beds being needed/peak on April 27th. The best estimate as of April 16th would see 2,250 beds being used/peak on May 3rd. 2,250 hospital beds would fit into current hospitals (not using field hospitals). The 4,300 would be the number if we stopped taking social distancing seriously. Says state is working hard to make sure state has that many beds if they are needed. Governor says one week ago the higher scenario was 6,000 – 7,000 beds were going to be needed.

Governor says she doesn’t think blue line will happen, based on current adherence to social distancing orders etc.

Our other notes from the press conference;

Gov: Says these next two weeks are critical weeks. Rhode Island should continue acts of heroism.

Governor says when the economy does open, the number will go up because more people are together /relaxed social distancing.

Governor hoped to announce plans for schools this week, holding off on announcement until next week. “This is a huge decision”. “I’m not ready to throw in the towel on the rest of the school year”, says she is watching data and will make an announcement next week. Distance Learning continues until end of April.

Gov: 160,000 Rhode Islanders have filed for unemployment insurance so far. Ther eare 2,000+ job openings in fields critical to the response. Gov: Today, State is launching employment matching tool of companies that are hiring immediately. employri.org.

Director of Health: On 18 new fatalities, 7 in 70s, 7 in 80s, 4 in 90’s. All 18 were in congregate care settings. Nine deaths happened yesterday, others occurred previously and results were delayed for various reasons.

Director of Health: Oak Hill Center in Pawtucket as a COVID-19 specialty nursing home. Will accept patients discharged from hospital who are COVID-19 positive, but no longer require care from hospital. Oak Hill nursing home residents will be kept separate from those discharged from the hospital, she says. All residents at other nursing homes across the state will continue to stay where they are, including COVID-19 patients.

Director of Health: It looks like Latinos represent about 45% of all positive cases in Rhode Island, according to preliminary numbers. Efforts underway to test in city areas.

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