Photo by Morgan Macia

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

Press Briefing

Updates From Press Briefing

Gov: Says it’s vital to obey the stay at home order, she wants to be able to lift the order on May 9th. Gov. says she doesn’t want to follow Massachusetts in extending the order.

Gov: Yesterday she signed an executive order (in effect until May 27th) to help patients access healthcare needed;

  • Insurers can not make changes to what drugs they cover, unless the change benefits the patient.
  • Out of pocket prescription costs can not increase.
  • Prescriptions can’t be dropped during crisis.
  • Insurers have to relax process on referrals – none needed for telehealth.

Gov: Technology – SurveyMonkey being used on an opt in baseis to monitor symptoms among people testing positive in Rhode Island. Urges Rhode Islanders to opt in and says the data is important to fighting the virus. Information will be sent to RIDOH to analyze.

Gov: DMV – 90 day extensions on all expiration’s that come up in the month of May. Applies to licenses, resignations, inspections, and temp plates.

Gov: Will announce plans for the rest of government services later this week or early next week.

Gov: PPE – Merrow Sewing Machine Company, based in Fall River but owned by Rhode Islanders, has provided 3,000 gowns for the state. Rhode Island has order 500,000 additional gowns from the company.

Director of Health: On six new COVID-19 associated deaths, individuals range in age from 50s to 90s. Of the six, five lived in nursing homes, other lived in a congregate setting.

Director of Health: Our immune system ages with us, and that is why nursing home residents are at increased risk. Working to get all staff in all nursing homes tested. Testing a key focal point for us in preventing transmission.

The Latest Local Data

April 28: 7,926 positive cases, 266 currently hospitalized (84 in ICU, 55 on ventilator), 239 total COVID-19 fatalities.

Press Release

Governor, Dr. Alexander-Scott Provide Updates on State’s 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. 

  • Healthcare: Yesterday the Governor signed an executive order to relax onerous regulations and eliminate barriers to care during this crisis. The order includes the following protections through May 27th:
  • Medications: Insurers cannot make changes to what drugs are covered unless the changes benefit patients.
  • Provider Referrals: Insurers are required to relax the referral process to allow for more time and leniency. No referrals are necessary for telehealth. 
  • Prior Authorization: In-patient hospital and rehabilitation, long-term care and telemedicine in-network services cannot be suspended because an individual doesn’t have prior authorization. In addition, no prior authorization is needed for testing or treatment of COVID-19.
  • Behavioral Healthcare: No referrals or other benefit review approvals are required for a patient to access needed mental and behavioral health care.
  • DMV: The state is now giving 90-day extensions on expirations set for May. Expiration dates in May are now extended to August. This applies to all licenses, registrations, inspections, permits, and temporary plates. 

COVID-19 Data Update 

Rhode Island has 218 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 7,926. RIDOH also announced six additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 239. 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.