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

Press Briefing

Press Briefing Updates

Gov: Programming – no press briefing’s this weekend, return Monday thru Friday next week.

Gov: Says Rhode Island is doing well with initial reopening since people are observing the rules on mask-wearing, distancing, etc.

Gov: In general, she says, you should think about a month between phases, assuming everything goes well. Says a couple of weeks of data is needed to see the results of previous action.

Gov: Says expect Phase 2 to start at the beginning of June “if things go well”

Gov: Four metrics to understand the course virus is taking.

Gov: Says avoiding an overrunning of hospital capacity is a key factor for assessing RI’s reopening. If les than 70% of beds filled with COVID patients, she says, it’s safe to move ahead.

Gov: says RI’s “R” value, measuring how many other people get infected by 1 person, has fallen since back in March from about 3 to 1.

Gov: If we start to see doubling in hospitalizing in 20 days or less, restrictions may be put back in place to help prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed. Gov. says she expects hospitalizations to go up, but says as long as doubling takes more than a month, the state will be doing well with reopening.

Gov: There will be a Town Hall for older adults, Governor will be participating, at 11 am next Thursday. Questions can be submitted to Governor’s office.

Gov: Asking all businesses to complete comprehensive COVID-19 plan for their businesses by Monday. Template on Does not need to be submitted to state, but you do need to have on hand.

Director: On 11 new associated deaths, 1 in 60s, 4 in 70s, 2 in 80s, and 4 in 90s.

Press Release

Raimondo Details Metrics for Moving Between Phases of Reopening 

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. 

The Governor laid out four different metrics, in addition to the state’s operational response, that officials are tracking as they consider moving between phases of reopening. 

  • Hospital capacity: If the state continues to see less than 70% of ICU and non-ICU beds filled by COVID-19 patients, that is an indicator that it is safe to continue moving forward. However, if 85% or more of these beds are filled, either in overall hospital capacity or specifically in the ICU, it may be time to scale back.
  • Hospitalizations: Right now, Rhode Island is consistently seeing fewer than 30 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations per day. If that trend continues, that is an indicator that reopening can move forward. But if that number is consistently above 50, it may signal a need to go back. 
  • Rate of spread: This is measured using the “R value,” or the “effective reproduction rate.” This is how many people are infected by each infected person. If the R value continues to be around 1.1 or lower, then it will be safe to think about moving into the next phase. If the R value gets to 1.3 or higher Rhode Island may have to move back a phase. the average number of secondary cases per infectious case
  • Doubling rate of current hospitalizations: Currently, hospitalizations are stable or declining. If the state starts seeing a doubling within twenty days or less, that will be an indicator that it may be time to put restrictions back in place.

The Governor also announced that she will be holding an Older Adults Facebook Town Hall on Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m. with Secretary Robertson, the U.S. assistant secretary for Aging; Secretary Womazetta Jones of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; Office of Healthy Aging Director Rose Jones; and several community advocates. Older adults and caregivers can submit questions through the Governor’s Facebook and Twitter pages or by writing to

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH announced 203 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 12,219. RIDOH also announced 11 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 479. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

RIDOH reports today that there are 203 new positive cases (total now 12,219), there are 11 new fatalities (total now 479), there are 272 currently hospitalized (63 in ICU, 41 on ventilator).

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