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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 2:30 pm.

What’s Up Newp will carry it life for you then below.

The Latest Data

April 24: 6,699 positive COVID-19 cases, 267 currently hospitalized (77 in ICU, 48 on ventilator), 202 COVID-19 associated fatalities.

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Press Briefing

Updates from Press Breifing

Gov: Says unfortunately our cases continue to rise. Another 437 cases. Fifth consecutive day of increased cases. “We are not where we want to be but we are not flying up the curve the way were were”.

Gov: Reminds Rhode Islanders that Stay At Home order is in place until May 8th.

Gov: Testing is the key component of allowing us going back to work/school.

Gov: At this point, we’ve tested 4% of Rhode Island’s population. Although RI is a leader in per-capita testing, state has to do more and plans more mobile testing next week, especially at nursing homes.

Gov: Rhode Island has received a shipment of 20k antibody tests. These are finger prick tests. Says state has to validate the tests and then test a sample of randomly chosen people who have been infected. Says antibody tests don’t replace current testing for finding out who is positive. Gov. has created a testing and validating task force, but says it will be weeks, not days, before there are results on antibody testings.

Gov: Announces launch Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund – Temporary pay increases for the next month to low wage, front line workers at eligible residential communities. Available for workers making $20 an hour or less. Starting next week employers can apply.

Gov: Starting tomorrow, National Guard to provide additional support to nursing homes, group homes and the like.

Gov: 20 financial institutions have pledged 90-day grace period for residential mortgage payments for those impacted by COVID-19 and won’t report to credit rating agencies. Opportunities include 90 day grace period for residential mortgage payments, no reporting on late payments to credit companies, 60 day moratorium on initiating foreclosures and evictions, and agreement to waive late fees.

Gov: $1.5 million in rental assistance will be available next Thursday for low-income Rhode Islanders. More details to come next week.

Gov: Congress has replenished Payroll Protection Program. Tells small businesses to call your bank right now if you need a loan. Go to CommerceRI.com for more information.

Gov: We need to get back in the business of allowing noncritical procedures. “We have to make sure hospital system financially stable”. Asking hospitals to provide plans on how and when to begin noncritical procedures, accounting for PPE, staffing, etc.

Gov: On Domestic Violence – has seen increase since pandemic began. Big increase in 911 calls for abuse in the home. Encourages people to reach to someone/resources if they need help during this challenging time.

Gov: Next Thursday at 11 am the federal delegation, Attorney General, and advocates will do a violence prevention Facebook town hall. Governor encourage all to tune in.

Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott: On 13 new fatalities – 2 in 50s, 1 in 60s, 5 in 70s, 3 in 80s, 2 in 90s.

Director: Data now available via zip code on Department of Health site. Of note – data is also available there on nursing homes now.

Gov: Says she will have more to say on Monday about reopening Rhode Island’s economy.

What’s Up Newp Question: Massachusetts Governor Baker announced today that he wouldn’t announce when anything was reopening until his state is past surge.Some of you have shared your concerns about visitors flocking to state if R.I. lifts Stay At Home Order/reopens economy first.Asked the Governor today on our press call if she, Governor Baker, and Governor Lamont were speaking often/trying to sync up lifting stay at home orders and reopening economy on same date.Gov. says MA, RI, and CT will likely all lift stay at home order & re-open economy on different dates. Right now MA is May 4th, CT is May 20th and RI is May 8th. Gov. says states are working together mostly on testing/resources.

Governor’s press briefing will take place tomorrow at 1 pm.

Press Release

Governor, Dr. Alexander-Scott Provide Updates on State Response to COVID-19

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. 

  • Serology testing: Earlier this week, the state received a shipment of 20,000 antibody tests that are now going through the validation process. In the coming weeks, the state will work with experts at Brown University and the Rhode Island Blood Center to test a random population sample and collect information about the prevalence of the virus in Rhode Island. In the meantime, RIDOH is creating a Rhode Island COVID-19 Testing and Validation Task Force to help analyze and draw conclusions from this data when it is available. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Dr. Angela Caliendo and Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, two Lifespan physicians.
  • Workforce stabilization: Today, the Governor announced a new Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund for private providers. For the next month, this fund will provide temporary pay increases for low-wage frontline workers at eligible Medicaid-funded residential facilities. Employers can apply to the Office of Health and Human Services starting next week. 
  • Banking pledge: More than 20 financial institutions in RI have pledged the following relief to their residential borrowers:
  • A 90-day grace period for all residential mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID-19, with the opportunity to request additional relief
  • An agreement to not report late payments to credit reporting agencies for residential borrowers who take advantage of this relief
  • A 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures and evictions; and
  • An agreement to waive mortgage-related late fees. More information can be found here. https://dbr.ri.gov/documents/Financial_Institution_Pledge.pdf
  • Rental assistance: Starting next Thursday, the state will be making available $1.5M in rental assistance for low income Rhode Islanders across the state. Details and information on how to apply will be announced in the coming days.
  • Violence Prevention: Next Thursday at 11 a.m., Governor Raimondo will be joined by Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, Congressman Cicilline, Attorney General Neronha, members of the Cabinet and representatives from the advocate community for a Violence Prevention Facebook Town Hall. Rhode Islanders can submit their questions on Facebook or anonymously by emailing communications@governor.ri.gov

COVID-19 Data Update 

Rhode Island has 437 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 6,699. RIDOH also announced 13 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 202. 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 www.RIDelivers.com [ridelivers.com] 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 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.
  • 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.

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