Governor Raimondo and the Department of Health will host a press briefing at 1 pm on Friday, June 12th to provide an update at COVID-19 in Rhode Island.

What’s Up Newp will carry it live, and provide updates, below.

Updates From Press Briefing

Gov: Reminder – Press briefings now only on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s.

Gov: On testing – Rolled out three portions of testing .Gov says “I think there will be outbreaks”, but says she doesn’t wnat people to get scared when they do happen. Says “we are prepared”.

Gov: Reminds close contact workers that they can now be tested for free, even if they aren’t sick. State has capacity to test more than 900 asymptomatic Rhode Islanders per day. Says right now, Rhode Island is testing about half of that.

Gov: Expanding asymptomatic testing to restaurant workers and bus drivers. Go to portal.ri.gov to schedule a free test.

Gov: Says percent positive rate has dropped in hard hit urban areas, but still not where it needs to be. Says there are plans to roll out more testing sites in those communities next week.

Gov: Launches Housing Now campaign. Asks Rhode Island’s landlords to pledge at least 100 rental units by the first of July to be rented to folks who have housing vouchers. Landlords will be receive $2,000 signing bonus for first unit they make available, an additional $500 per unit rented. More info at 2-1-1.

Landlords will get: • Guaranteed rental income not dependent on tenants’ income fluctuating. Individuals pay 30% of monthly income and the rest is guaranteed. • Housing retention services, which means fewer vacancies and less turnover. • Assistance in bringing units to code.

Gov: On COVID-19 spending, every penny spent from the $1.25 billion COVID-19 stimulus fund from federal government can be account for on this website – http://www.transparency.ri.gov/covid-19 (site will launch this afternoon).

Director of Health: via RIDOH tweets -> As you may recall, we randomly selected 5,000 households from all over the state and mailed letters offering voluntary serology testing at one of several Stop and Shop locations. Serology tests determine if someone has antibodies for virus (previously exposed). Roughly 1% of the Caucasian Rhode Islanders sampled had been exposed to the virus. For Latino Rhode Islanders, that number was roughly 8.2%, and it was 5.2% for African American Rhode Islanders. We have a lot more work to do when it comes to disparities. Overall 2.2% of RIers. Given that 16,000 people have tested positive through our diagnostic testing, that means that roughly 1.6% of RIers have tested positive. There are a number of additional people who are COVID positive, but who have not been tested yet. Looked at this way, 2.2% is relatively low. We don’t yet know whether COVID-19 antibodies will be protective against COVID-19. So, while these data are very valuable, this big caveat does still exist.

Gov: Next week the state will provide guidance to what Phase III will look like. In response to question from reporter, Governor says gathering size might be between 50 – 100. More details to come next week.

More: RIDOH Press Release

Governor Expands Early Warning Testing System, Announces Landlord Challenge 

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

  • Testing: As part of Rhode Island’s Early Warning Testing System, asymptomatic restaurant workers and bus drivers can now receive free testing. This represents an expansion of Rhode Island’s Early Warning Testing System. Earlier this week, testing had been opened for asymptomatic people in the following high-contact occupations: hair professionals, nail artists, gym employees, tattoo artists, massage therapists, and child care workers. In addition, any Rhode Islander who attended a large protest or demonstration last weekend can (and should) get tested, even if they do not have symptoms. Eligible Rhode Islanders should sign up for a test at Portal.RI.Gov or call RIDOH Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 401-222-8022.
  • Landlord Challenge: The state is allocating $500,000 to provide financial incentives for landlords to rent to housing-insecure or homeless Rhode Islanders. Landlords will receive a $2,000 signing bonus for the first unit that they make available to serve a household experiencing homelessness, and an additional $500 for every additional unit. They will also be eligible for as much as $2,000 per unit to support move-in upgrades like minor renovations and repairs. Interested landlords should call the United Way at 211.
  • Transparency Portal: The state launched a new website dedicated to tracking coronavirus spending.

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH announced 84 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 15,947. RIDOH also announced 10 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 833. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

Additionally, RIDOH announced the results of a serology testing effort today. Serology testing tells us whether someone has antibodies for a particular virus. This means that serology testing can tell us whether someone was previously exposed to a virus. As a part of this effort, 5,000 households in Rhode Island were randomly selected to participate. Households were mailed an invitation to be tested at Stop and Shop stores around the state. Testing was done between May 5th and May 22nd.

The seroprevalence—or presence of antibodies—was approximately 2.2%. This means that approximately 2.2% of those tested had been exposed to the COVID-19. There were wide variations in the presence of antibodies between different races and ethnicities. The seroprevalence among those tested who identified as Caucasian was .9%, compared to 8.2% among Hispanic Rhode Islanders and 5.2% among African American Rhode Islanders.

Serology testing does not tell us whether someone is immune to future illness with COVID-19. We do not yet know if the presence of antibodies protects someone from future infection. This is still being researched. Therefore, it is important that people who were found to have antibodies continue to protect themselves and others by wearing masks, washing their hands, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Key messages for the public

  • Rhode Island is now in Phase 2 of the reopening process. More information about Phase 2 is available at www.reopeningri.com.
  • Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).
  • Close contacts of someone who has symptoms of COVID-19, even if they haven’t been tested, should quarantine for 14 days following contact. Close contact means being within approximately six feet of a person for a prolonged period.
  • When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering.
  • Keep your groups consistent and small.
  • 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.
  • 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 Rhode Island Data

RIDOH reports today 84 new positive cases (total now 15,947), 10 new fatalities (total now 833), 141 are currently hospitalized (28 in ICU, 17 on a ventilator).


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