coronavirus in Rhode Island

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), provided updates to reporters about Rhode Island’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response today at 1 pm.

The latest data

Press briefing

Updates from the press conference

Updates from the press conference

Governor says misinformation on social media is getting worse.

Gov: Says the stay-at-home order is working and saving lives. “Clearly we are flattening the curve. Clearly the peak isen’t going to be as bad as it could have been.”

Gov: Repeats goal of having 30 days PPE supply on hand for health care workers, not there yet. In the last two weeks, state has received 1.5 million surgical masks, 90% came from private market. Had to scour the world for them. Total masks on hand in state (as of 4/21) is now about 2 million. Healthcare workers can now change surgical masks on daily basis.

Tomorrow’s press briefing will be held at 2:30 pm, will return to 1 pm on Thursday and Friday.

Gov: Field hospitals are ready if state needs them. “I sleep easier at night” knowing field hospitals are ready and available.

Gov: SkillsForRI is a matching website set up about a week ago. If you’re looking for a job and want to work now, go to website and apply. If you’re an employer, you can put out a search for workers.

Gov: Brown University is providing 700 single occupancy dorm rooms for free for front-line workers who don’t want to sleep at home in order to protect their families. Not a place to stay if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or are sick.

Gov: 170,000 have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks. Has never happened before, unprecedented.

Director of Health: 6 of 16 new fatalities occurred yesterday, 10 prior to yesterday. 1 in 30’s, 2 in 50’s, 4 in 70’s, 3 in 80’s, and 6 in 90’s.

What’s Up Newp asked the Governor today – “What can restaurants, stores, and other non-essential customer facing businesses do right now (while closed) in order to be best prepared for the new normal/for when you do give them some kind of green light?” We’ll transcribe her full answer a little later, but here’s some quick takeaways

  • Gov. says some form of social distancing will last about a year unless a vaccine/treatment for COVID-19 becomes available.
  • Gov. says owners should make plans to keep customers six feet apart when then they do reopen.
  • Gov. says restaurants will likely have to do temperature checks for people coming in.
  • Gov. says “We’re going to have to give people confidence” to come out of their homes to shop and eat.

In response to reporter question, Governor says she hasn’t made a decision yet on schools, but expects to make an announcement later this week.

Press Release from the Governor’s Office

Governor Provides Updates on PPE, Field Hospitals, and Frontline Housing

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided updates on Rhode Island’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) today. 

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): In the past two weeks alone, Rhode Island has received shipments totaling more than 1.5 million surgical masks, 90% of which have come from the private market. That brings the state’s total on hand to nearly 2 million surgical masks. This will allow healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care centers, and sites that are serving as Respiratory Clinics to change out surgical masks on a daily basis.
  • Field hospitals: Over the weekend, work on the field hospitals at the Rhode Island Convention Center and the former Citizens building in Cranston was completed, adding almost 1,000 beds to the state’s capacity. 
  • Frontline housing: The state has partnered with Brown University to provide free single-occupancy dormitory housing to frontline workers. Brown has made more than 700 rooms available to the state for free. This program is specifically for medical personnel, first responders, members of public safety and congregate care and home care workers. This is not for people who have tested positive for coronavirus or have related symptoms. Workers who are interested in accessing the free housing option should contact their employer.

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH posted updated COVID-19 data online today. Rhode Island has 394 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 5,500. RIDOH also announced 16 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 171. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

Key messages for the public

  • Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).
  • The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day that that person was in isolation. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.
  • Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1. 
  • When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.
  • Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.
  • Healthcare workers should not be going to work if they are sick (even with mild symptoms).
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).
  • People with general, non-medical questions about COVID-19 can visit, write to, or call 401-222-8022. This is the COVID-19 Hotline that RIDOH has available to the public.
  • 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.
  • Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...