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Governor Raimondo and the the Department of Health provided an update on COVID-19 in Rhode Island during a press briefing at 1 pm today.

Updates from press briefing;

Gov: On press briefing – will take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 pm going forward.

Gov: On COVID-19 app, new update available for the app. Calling it version 1.5, Gov. says. Final version (version 2) will be available in a few weeks. 46k have downloaded the app so far.

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Gov: On testing – “Testing continues to be a critical piece of the puzzle”. Gov. says the positive percent was below 5% last week, below 3% in recent days. She says positive rate at beginning of crisis was more like 20%. Gov. says Rhode Island has highest reate of testing per capita of any state in America. Gov. says it appears there will not be a spike in COVID-19 associated with large crowds around Memorial Day.

Gov: Says beginning today there will be a new initiate to test certain groups of asymptomatic people. She says she understands that the test isn’t as accurate on asymptomatic people, but says some data is better than one. Close contact workers (hair salons, barber ships, gym workers, nail salons, massage therapists) are able to scheduled a free test at one of the state’s National Guard sites. www.portal.ri.gov. You can schedule a test also by calling 401-222-8022. Gov. says it will eventually be opened to more people and groups, like students, teachers, etc. Gov. says goal is to test 900 a day who are symptomatic.

Gov: On protests – thanks community leaders of about a dozen community peaceful protests that have taken place over the last week. “I feel very proud of the people of Rhode Island.”

Gov: Says she, her family, Dr. Alexander-Scott, DOH staff will be tested following their attendance at Friday’s rally in Providence. She is now encouraging anyone who was at the protests to get tested. portalri.gov. Gov. says the tests are most effective 3-7 days after exposure.

Dr. Alexander-Scott: If you’ve been to a demonstration, be alert for symptoms.

Gov: Says she will be providing more guidance either Friday or Monday on expanding the social gathering limit and also on weddings.

More Info – Press Release from RIDOH

Governor Raimondo, Dr. Alexander-Scott Detail Plans for Early Warning Testing System

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided details today on Rhode Island’s Early Warning Testing System, which will inform the state’s immediate response efforts and inform data modeling and forecasting for the weeks and months to come.

As part of the Early Warning Testing System, specific groups of high-contact workers who are asymptomatic can now be tested at no cost at a Rhode Island National Guard testing site (located at Community College of Rhode Island or Rhode Island College). To schedule a test, someone who is in one of these groups can go to portal.ri.gov. Alternatively, people can call RIDOH at 401-222-8022 to schedule a test. The asymptomatic workers who can schedule tests are:

  • Hair professionals
  • Nail artists 
  • Gym employees 
  • Tattoo artists
  • Massage therapists 
  • Child care workers

In addition to people in these groups, any Rhode Islander who attended a large protest or demonstration this weekend can (and should) get tested, even if they do not have symptoms. People who attended a large protest or demonstration can schedule a test by going to portal.ri.gov or calling 401-222-8022.

The Early Warning Testing System is the third of three facets to Rhode Island’s approach to testing. The first facet is Symptomatic Testing. Anyone with symptoms in Rhode Island can get tested, regardless of their profession or work situation. The second facet of Rhode Island’s approach to testing is Outbreak Rapid Response. This entails using testing as a tool to respond within hours of multiple cases discovered in places like congregate care settings, workplaces, and other high-density areas.    

COVID-19 Data Update 

RIDOH announced 51 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 15,642. RIDOH also announced 10 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 799. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

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

After not reporting any data over the weekend, RIDOH reports today that there are 51 new positive cases (total now 15,642), 10 new associated deaths (total now 799), 146 currently hospitalized (28 currently in ICU, 20 on a ventilator).

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