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Governor Raimondo and the Department of Health will hold their daily COVID-19 press briefing today at 1 pm.

What’s Up Newp will carry it live here, and provide updates, as it happens.

Press Briefing

Updates From Press Briefing

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Gov: Press Briefing at 2:30 pm tomorrow, 1 pm on Thursday and Friday. No press briefings over the weekend.

Gov: Explains why process of reopening is going to go slow. I’m managing this (reopening of economy) in such a way that we don’t have to close the economy again.

Gov: Reminds Rhode Islanders of social distancing guidelines. Reminders all to stay within the restrictions, otherwise we’ll see a spike in two weeks.

Gov: Says “I’m very pleased with how it’s going”, notes that its been 4 days into reopening and lifting of stay at home order.

Gov: Have confidence that you can return to hospitals for your health care, elective surgeries.

Gov: Reminds Rhode Islanders to keep a contact tracing diary. “This will salve lives” and help if you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19.

Gov: Rhode Island has committed $8.2 million in addition wages to front-line healthcare workers in congregate care settings. The state has already doles out more than $6 million. The money will go to 10k workers at 160 facilities.

Gov: Federal government is starting a flow to PPE to nursing homes for staff.

Gov: Internet has been extended to nearly all households in RI to help with remote learning. Says about 2% households do not have access still, Gov. hopes to hit 100%. Gov. says those without internet service should call Governor’s office.

Gov: Four cellular providers will extend free internet hot spots for students through June 30th.

Gov: On equity. There are testing sites in Olneyville, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, East Providence, Newport, and south side of Providence. Acknowledges more needs to be done to help the Latino community, who are the hardest hit.

Director of Health: On 14 new deaths ranged from 60s to over 100.

Director of Health: Yesterday afternoon, state completed testing of all staff and residents in the states 85 nursing homes. Says they will continue to do random testing, beginning with homes that have confirmed testing.

Director of Health: Clarity on yesterday’s restaurant guidelines. If someone who tests positive for COVID-19 ate at the same restaurant you were at, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be asked to quarantine. You’d have to be close contact with that person.

Director of Health: Will be activating further emails, Facebook events, social media campaigns, and more to be available to businesses as RI goes forward. At 6:15 pm tonight, there is a FB live event to answer questions of restaurant owners.

Gov: Says she will outline Thursday what would cause us to move backward and what metrics will allow us to move forward into phase 2.

More Info To Come

Raimondo Provides Update on Workforce Stabilization Fund, Extension of Free Mobile Hotspot Service

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

  • Workforce Stabilization Fund: A few weeks ago, the Governor announced a Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund that would make available $8.2 million to provide temporary bonuses to low-wage frontline workers. Employers have applied to be a part of this program through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. As of today, more than $6 million in payments have already been made to providers, which will then be passed on to employees. This funding is expected to benefit more than 10,300 workers at more than 160 facilities who all make less than $20 an hour. 
  • Mobile Hotspots: In March, Governor Raimondo announced that all households that have a Smart Phone with a WiFi hot spot feature and have cell phone service from the four most common providers in Rhode Island – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint – would be able to activate the hot spot feature for free with no activation fees, usage fees, or overage fees. That policy was originally only in effect until May 13th. As of today, all four carriers have extended the service to June 30th – through the end of the school year. 

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH announced 164 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 11,614. RIDOH also announced 14 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 444. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The Latest Local Data

May 12th: 164 new positive cases (total positive now 11,614), 14 new fatalities (total now 444), 277 are currently hospitalized, 72 are currently in ICU, and 83 are currently on a ventilator.

This story is developing and will be updated throughout the day.

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