Due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Newport County and Rhode Island, What’s Up Newp has launched a new COVID-19 live blog in order to provide critical information and updates to our community.

This is a relaunch of the live blog. Earlier this year (from February through the end of June), we published a similar live blog for COVID-19 updates.

To support our vital coverage of this and other topics, become a What’s Up Newp supporter. If you’d like to receive these updates and the latest from What’s Up Newp in your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter here.

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Have a COVID-19 question or don’t see the information you’re looking for here? Email Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.

Updates: Coronavirus in Newport County and Rhode Island

For more updates on the Coronavirus in Rhode Island, head here

Monday, December 28

With updates from public officials getting fewer and further apart, we’re going to retire this live blog. For more updates on the Coronavirus in Rhode Island, head here

Governor Raimondo’s next COVID-19 press briefing will take place at 1 pm on Thursday, January 7th.

Thursday, December 24

RIDOH announced today Updated COVID-19 data will not be posted between 12/24 and 12/27.  Data will next be updated on 12/28.

While Gov. Gina Raimondo was touting how well Rhode Islanders had done during the two-week “pause,” the AARP was painting a more ominous picture, reporting an alarming post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID – 19 cases and deaths at the state’s long-term care facilities.

Additionally, the AARP was urging the governor to roll back an executive order that exempts nursing homes and assisted living facilities from liability for cases arising from the pandemic.

Wednesday, December 23

In their weekly data update by city/town today, RIDOH shared that there have been 316 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Newport County in the last week. There were 79 in Newport, 68 in Middletown, 80 in Portsmouth, 10 in Jamestown, 67 in Tiverton, and 12 in Little Compton. Department of Health releases updated COVID-19 data by city, town

RIDOH reported yesterday 880 new positive COVID-19 cases, 8 new fatalities, and 440 hospitalizations. 6,400 Rhode Islanders have received 1 dose of the vaccine

In her final press briefing of 2020, Governor Raimondo yesterday encouraged all Rhode Islanders to get tested for COVID-19 twice before the end of the year. To schedule a free COVID-19 test, visit www.portal.ri.gov.

Tuesday, December 22

RIDOH reports today 880 new positive cases, 8 new fatalities, and 440 hospitalizations. 6,400 Rhode Islanders have received 1 dose of the vaccine. COVID-19 in Rhode Island: The latest data

Governor Gina Raimondo will host a press briefing to provide an update on COVID-19 in Rhode Island today at 1 pm, watch it here Watch | Governor Raimondo’s weekly COVID-19 update

Monday, December 21

~ RIDOH reported 419 new positive cases, 17 new fatalities today. COVID-19 in Rhode Island: The latest data

~ RIDOH provided their weekly update to this list, List: States with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island, this morning. 46 states and Puerto Rico now have travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island.

~ The next COVID-19 data update is expected around noon today.

Sunday, December 20

Today is the last day of the pause. Tomorrow begins a new post-pause phase.

The next COVID-19 data update is expected around noon on Monday.

Friday, December 18

Governor Raimondo will host her weekly COVID-19 press briefing today at 1 pm. Watch it live on our website or Facebook Page.

RIDOH reported yesterday 951 new positive cases, 12 new fatalities, and 479 hospitalizations.

Newport Fire Chief Brian Dugan provided this week’s COVID-19 update to Newport City Council. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

For the second week in a row, 49 states and the District of Columbia were in the White House task force’s red zone for new cases, with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous week. Rhode Island, Ohio and North Dakota were at the top of the rankings. Hawaii was the only state not in the red zone.

Thursday, December 17

1 pm | RIDOH reports today 951 new positive cases, 12 new fatalities, and 479 hospitalizations.

8 am | Governor Gina Raimondo will not host her weekly press briefing today as scheduled. The Governor will instead host it at 1 pm on Friday, December 18.

7 am |

~ RIDOH reported yesterday 953 new positive cases, 20 new fatalities, and 469 hospitalizations.

~ The latest town-by-town data has been released from the Rhode Island Department of Health. In Newport County, there were an additional 326 positive cases of COVID-19 since last Wednesday, with Newport leading the way with 98 positive cases.

~ Newport City Council will receive their weekly COVID-19 update from City Manager Joe Nicholson on today at 4:30 pm. We’ll carry it live as it happens.

~ All state-run COVID-19 testing sites will be closed today.

Wednesday, December 16

3 pm | The latest town-by-town data has been released from the Rhode Island Department of Health. In Newport County, there were an additional 326 positive cases of COVID-19 since last Wednesday, with Newport leading the way with 98 positive cases. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH RELEASES UPDATED COVID-19 DATA BY CITY, TOWN

2:40 pm | ALL STATE-RUN COVID-19 TESTING SITES WILL BE CLOSED ON THURSDAY

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 953 new positive cases, 20 new fatalities, and 469 hospitalizations.

Tuesday, December 15

8 pm | Angélica M. Infante-Green, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education for the State of Rhode Island, has notified all public school districts in the states that the earliest students may return after the upcoming holiday break is Thursday, January 7 for health and safety concerns. Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green: Earliest students may return after holiday break is…

3:59 pm | MIDDLETOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO SHIFT TO FULL DISTANCE LEARNING DEC. 21 – JAN. 8

2 pm | WATCH | NEWPORT CITY COUNCIL COVID-19 STATUS UPDATE (DEC. 17 AT 4:30 PM)

12:45 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,084 new positive cases (12,229 tests prior day), 15 new fatalities, 455 hospitalizations.

7 AM | Here’s the latest

~ 45 states and Puerto Rico now have travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island.

~ RIDOH reported yesterday 552 new positive cases prior day, 7.2% positive prior day, 20 new fatalities, and 433 hospitalizations.

~ Rhode Island hospitals were authorized to begin vaccinating frontline workers against COVID-19.

~ House COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force meets today for presentations on vaccine distribution

Monday, December 14

6:13 pm | Governor Raimdon announced the following in her newsletter this evening;


Today is a turning point for Rhode Island and for our country in the fight against COVID-19. 
At 1 p.m., the state’s first COVID-19 vaccine was administered to Dr. Christian Arbelaez. Dr. Arbelaez is a Colombian immigrant, the son of a housekeeper, and a first-generation college graduate. He did his residency at Brown University and has been working throughout this pandemic on the frontlines in the emergency room at Rhode Island Hospital.
After receiving the vaccine, Dr. Arbelaez shared how excited and thankful he is for this moment in our pandemic response, saying, “As a person of color, as a Colombian, as a Latino, as a doctor, I want to share this message with my colleagues and the communities of color. I want to ask you to please get the vaccine so you can keep yourself and your family healthy. We will stop the spread in our communities if you get vaccinated.”
We still have a long way to go before distributing this life-saving vaccine to everyone in Rhode Island, but this is a historic step toward defeating COVID-19. Our healthcare workers have been working around-the-clock to keep us safe from this virus, and we should all be heartened to know that they will be protected in-turn.
It will still be a few months before the vaccine is widely available, but today’s vaccinations are a major turning point. You can read more about the vaccine, including our distribution plan, at health.ri.gov/covid/vaccine.
We’re all in this together.
-Gina RaimondoGovernor
P.S.: Information is our g

12:30 pm | RIDOH has updated this list – visitors from 45 states and Puerto Rico must now quarantine upon arriving in Rhode Island. List: States with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island

12:20 pm | RIDOH reports today 552 new positive cases prior day, 7.2% positive prior day, 20 new fatalities, and 433 hospitalizations.

9 am | The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has received a recommendation from the Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee for hospitals to begin vaccinating frontline hospital workers against COVID-19. This recommendation was made at an emergency meeting of the Subcommittee this morning. RIDOH has accepted this recommendation and has communicated to hospitals that they may begin vaccinating these workers, as soon as vaccine arrives.

Initial shipments from vaccine manufacturers directly to hospitals will be arriving on Monday and Tuesday. Vaccine is first going to five hospitals: Kent Hospital, Newport Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital (and Hasbro Children’s Hospital), Women & Infants Hospital, and The Miriam Hospital. Approximately 1,000 first doses are going to each facility.

Read More – R.I. HOSPITALS AUTHORIZED TO BEGIN VACCINATING FRONTLINE WORKERS AGAINST COVID-19

Saturday, December 12

7 pm | Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the director of the R.I. Department of Health, has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced Saturday night. Governor Raimondo has tested negative, but is quarantining. WPRI reports

7 am | Portsmouth public schools will shift to full distance learning beginning December 21

Friday, December 11

12:10 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,216 new positive cases, 6.6% positive rate, 11 new fatalities, and 466 hospitalizations.

7:30 am | In our current day, 2020 being the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in a cruelly ironic coincidence, disease and death are once again upon us, canceling this year a broad swath of commemorative Pilgrim events in the midst of our own 21st Century plague, the COVID-19 pandemic. Bruce E. Spitzer with more for What’s Up Newp – Exactly 400 years later, another Plymouth Plague

7 am

~ RIDOH reported yesterday 946 new positive cases, 14 new fatalities, and 466 hospitalizations.

~ Governor Raimondo announced yesterday that the current pause will extend for another week. She also rolled out a post-pause phase. Here she outlines how they’re extending further financial aid for those affected.

~ Dr. Philip Chan from the Rhode Island Department of Health announced how the COVID-19 vaccine will be given out in Rhode Island and a timeline

~ The latest update of theAARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard finds Rhode Island’s nursing homes continue to face alarming trends.

Thursday, December 10

9:30 pm | The Governor provided the following information in her COVID-19 email on Thursday evening;

“The data shows that our two-week pause is starting to work – mobility is decreasing, and there are early signs that percent positive is turning around. But cases are still too high, and if we lift the pause now, we risk negating the impacts that we know will result from sustained decreases in mobility.

That’s why today I announced that we are extending the pause one more week, to Sunday, December 20. You can watch the six-minute video below for a brief description of what we’re doing and why.

I know that this is going to be difficult. That’s why we’re extending further financial aid for those affected: 

  • For families, we’re extending the additional $200 weekly unemployment benefit to cover the third week of the pause. You don’t need to do anything to claim this benefit. Any Rhode Islander who certifies for unemployment for the week of December 13 will automatically get the additional $200.
  • For businesses, we’re extending the deadline to apply for financial relief until midnight on Monday, December 14. If you’re qualified and in an industry impacted by the pause, and you apply by Monday night, you’ll get a check. It’s a very simple application – just go to tax.ri.gov and check off a few boxes. Additionally, every business that receives relief through that program will automatically get a second check for half the amount of the first, to provide relief for the one-week extension. 

 

After the end of the pause, we aren’t going to flip a switch and go back to where we were, or we’ll end up back here in a few weeks. Instead, we’re going to slowly relax some of the restrictions of the pause and measure their effect on our cases. You can see in the graphic above what restrictions will be changed after the pause, starting on December 21.
If we continue staying home as much as possible for one more week – if we all think about ways we can limit our mobility in our own lives for a little bit longer – it will make the impact we need to slow the spread of COVID-19. The most important thing you can do right now is to protect your family by following the guidance and staying away from social gatherings for just a little bit longer.


We’re all in this together.


-Gina RaimondoGovernor
P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19. If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.”

1:30 pm | GOVERNOR RAIMONDO EXTENDS PAUSE ANOTHER WEEK, ANNOUNCES NEW POST-PAUSE PHASE

Dr. Philip Chan from the Rhode Island Department of Health announced how the COVID-19 vaccine will be given out in Rhode Island. The FDA is preparing to approve the vaccine today, Chan says vaccinations in Rhode Island could begin next week.

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 946 new positive cases, 14 new fatalities, and 466 hospitalizations.

9:30 am |Newport City Council will meet at 4:30 pm on Thursday, December 10 to receive a COVID-19 crisis update from City Manager Joe Nicholson. WATCH | NEWPORT CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP: COVID-19 CRISIS UPDATE (DEC. 10 AT 4:30 PM)

9 am | Watch | Governor Raimondo’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing (Dec. 10 at 1 pm)

7 am |

~ In their weekly geography update, RIDOH reported yesterday Newport County added 268 new positive COVID-19 cases since last Wednesday – 78 were in Newport, 58 in Middletown, 41 in Portsmouth, 20 in Jamestown, 69 in Tiverton, and 2 in Little Compton.

~ RIDOH reported yesterday 1,232 new positive cases (16,185 total positive cases, 7.6% positive prior day), 14 new fatalities, and 461 people are hospitalized.

~ According to Covid Act Now, Rhode Island is still recording the highest daily new cases per 100,000 in the United States, with 123.5 daily new cases. Indiana sits in the second spot at 102.6 and South Dakota in third with 98.9. Rhode Island has an infection rate of 1.15, about 7th worst in the country (California, in first, has 1.24 infection rate).

~ Governor Gina Raimondo and RIDOH will host their weekly COVID-19 press briefing at 1 pm today. What’s Up Newp will carry it live on our website and Facebook Page as it happens. Raimondo is expected to address whether the two-week pause will continue after Sunday.

~  It would be hard not to keep RI in ‘some kind of a pause,’ Raimondo told WPRI earlier this week.

Wednesday, December 9

1:20 pm | In their weekly geography update, RIDOH reports Newport County added 268 new positive COVID-19 cases since last Wednesday – 78 were in Newport, 58 in Middletown, 41 in Portsmouth, 20 in Jamestown, 69 in Tiverton, and 2 in Little Compton.

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,232 new positive cases (16,185 total positive cases, 7.6% positive prior day), 14 new fatalities, and 461 people are hospitalized.

10 am | It would be hard not to keep RI in ‘some kind of a pause,’ Raimondo tells WPRI

7 am |

RIDOH reported yesterday 982 new positive cases prior day (10,421 tests prior day, 9.4% positive prior day), 22 new fatalities, and 444 hospitalizations.

> With an average daily case rate of 122.9 per 100,000 people, Rhode Island leads the country in rate of new COVID-19 cases. According to a Financial Times analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project, Rhode Island has the highest covid case rate in the world right now.

> Governor Raimondo will host her weekly press briefing to provide an update on COVID-19 on Thursday at 1 pm. We expect the Governor to address the current two week “pause” in Rhode Island, which is set to expire at end of day Sunday.

Tuesday, December 8

5:45 pm| R.I. House COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force will meet with CVS executives to discuss vaccine distribution efforts

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 982 new positive cases prior day (10,421 tests prior day, 9.4% positive prior day), 22 new fatalities, and 444 hospitalizations.

7 am |

RIDOH reported yesterday 844 new positive cases prior day (7,856 tests prior day, 10.7% positive prior day), 17 new fatalities, and 422 hospitalizations.

Rhode Island Department of Health on Monday updated their list of states with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island, 43 states and Puerto Rico are now on the list.

With COVID-19 raging in Rhode Island and throughout the country and states implementing tougher rules, we want to know how well you are following basic recommendations.

With the two-week “pause” set to expire on Monday, it seems more than likely that Governor Gina Raimondo will (have to) address during her press briefing on Thursday whether it will actually end on Monday or if it will be extended. We’ll carry the presser live on our website and Facebook Page as it happens.

Monday, December 7

8:45 pm | Governor Raimondo shared the following message via email this evening about “join the frontlines”

“Rhode Island’s health care workers have been working around the clock to keep us safe from COVID-19. Health care workers are human beings – moms and dads and sons and daughters who have been at it for nine months without a break. They’re tired, they’re strained, and they need backup. Earlier this year, when we put out calls for substitute teachers and contact tracers, we had hundreds of people raise their hands in a matter of days. I’m asking all available health care workers to do the same. 
Last week, the Department of Health again began issuing temporary licenses to retirees, visiting health care workers, and others who are completing their training programs. If you’re a retired health care worker, or a health care worker who is currently unemployed or not working in a health care setting, and you’re willing to work the floors in our hospitals and nursing homes to help us manage this surge, we need you. You can learn more about immediately available positions at SkillsforRI.com
Even if you’re not a trained health care worker, it’s still all-hands-on-deck and we could use your help. If you have physical or mental health experience but can’t commit to full-time work in our hospitals or nursing homes, or if you don’t have health care experience but want to volunteer to assist our statewide response in other ways, please visit RIResponds.org to sign up as a response volunteer.
There’s a lot to do across our response, and we need as many hands as we can get. If you have the time, please consider being a part of this effort. Your support will make all the difference as we work together to reduce the strain on our health care system and save lives.
We’re all in this together”.

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 844 new positive cases prior day (7,856 tests prior day, 10.7% positive prior day), 17 new fatalities, and 422 hospitalizations.

9:10 am | Rhode Island Department of Health just updated their list of states with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island, 43 states and Puerto Rico are now on the list.

9 am | With COVID-19 raging in Rhode Island and throughout the country and states implementing tougher rules, we wanted to see how well you are following basic recommendations. Survey: How well are you following COVID-19 recommendations?

Sunday, December 6

10 pm | Rhode Island now has the highest daily new positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the United States, according to COVID Act Now.Rhode Island COVID hospitalizations are at an all-time peak and Rhode Island is currently experiencing a severe outbreak.https://covidactnow.org/?s=1401377

9:15 pm | Governor Raimondo shared the following in a newsletter on Sunday evening

Hello friend,
Cases are continuing to rise, and it’s more important than ever that we all stay informed. Please, stay home except for essential activities, and wear a mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with. Together, we can turn our case numbers around.
If you know someone who needs a way to stay up-to-date on the latest measures Rhode Island is taking to stop the spread of COVID-19, please encourage them to sign up for these emails through this link: lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/eYMG9tf. The better we all stay informed, the better we’ll be able to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends safe from COVID-19.
PAUSE WEEK TWO We’re entering the second week of our pause. It hasn’t been easy, but Rhode Islanders once again showed that we are up to the challenge. It’s clear that people have followed our guidance. Over Thanksgiving week, our COVID enforcement unit did not receive any credible calls about parties or large gatherings. In about 700 business inspections over the past week, we saw excellent compliance with the new regulations. And in the past seven days, we have seen a significant drop in traffic, which means that many people heeded the message to stay home unless necessary.
Thank you, Rhode Island, for the sacrifices you’ve made to help us reduce the demand on our hospitals and our healthcare workers. We still have a ways to go, but your actions have helped to protect the lives of all Rhode Islanders. Keep it up and continue to stay home as much as possible through the end of the pause.
VACCINE PLANNING
There has been a lot of good news on the COVID-19 vaccine front over the last few weeks. When we have a vaccine that the doctors, researchers, and scientists tell us is safe, we’ll be ready to distribute it as quickly as is safely possible. 
I want to be very clear: the vaccine is going to come into Rhode Island over the course of months, not weeks. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. From our planning conversations with our federal partners and the manufacturers, we anticipate receiving 29,000 doses total in December. That’s not going to flip the switch on COVID-19 in Rhode Island overnight, but if we stay serious about following the rules now, we can all look forward to a time next year when COVID-19 is in the rear-view mirror.
To hear more about our vaccine planning, you can watch this quick eight-minute video.
CENTRAL PROVIDENCE OPPORTUNITIES INITIATIVE
We had another spot of good news this week on a project we’ve been working on since before COVID-19. Rhode Island has been awarded an $8 million grant to pilot community-based initiatives in ZIP codes 02908 and 02909 in Central Providence. We’re calling this the Central Providence Opportunities initiative.
This initiative will improve economic opportunities for the residents of these ZIP codes by building affordable housing, expanding access to childcare and Pre-K, and creating apprenticeship programs and small business supports.
These ZIP code have some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in Rhode Island — but it isn’t just about 02909 and 02908. This work will be a model for the type of change we want to see across the state. Once we know how to make the biggest impact, we’ll scale the most successful policies and programs statewide to combat economic inequality in every corner of the state.
I hope you find this recap helpful. Please, remember your three W’s: wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. Together, we can stop the rising case numbers and save lives if we just band together now and follow the rules.
I’ll be back on TV with more updates Thursday at 1 p.m.
We’re all in this together.
-Gina RaimondoGovernor
P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19. If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.

9 pm | Colleen Burns Jermain, Superintendent of Newport Public Schools, notified Newport families and staff on Sunday evening that Thompson Middle School and Pell Elementary School will be moving to distance learning this week, due to positive COVID-19 cases within the school community.

Friday, December 4

5:10 pm | Governor Raimondo provided the following update on Friday night via email regarding vaccine planning.

Earlier this week, Rhode Island began our two-week “pause,” and I want to say thank you. This isn’t easy, but the data we’ve seen shows that, so far, people are taking the pause seriously and staying home as much as possible. Please, continue to limit your mobility, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
There has been a lot of good news on the COVID-19 vaccine front over the last few weeks. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are awaiting FDA approval with about 95% effectiveness. Soon, both vaccines will be fully evaluated by the FDA and our panel of experts here in Rhode Island. We have been planning for this for months. When we have a vaccine that the doctors, researchers, and scientists tell us is safe, we’ll be ready to distribute it as quickly as is safely possible. To hear more about our vaccine planning, please watch the quick eight-minute video by clicking on the image below.
Right now, we’re planning for every scenario and developing different distribution models based on the allocations of vaccine that we expect to come to Rhode Island. We’re already working with hospitals and other health care providers to ensure they have the supplies and personnel to receive, store, handle, and administer both versions of the vaccine.
We know that initial supplies of vaccine will be very limited, but that it will be coming soon. From our planning conversations with our federal partners and the manufacturers, it’s looking like we could receive roughly 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine as early as the middle of this month, and 19,000 doses from Moderna about a week after that. That’s not going to flip the switch on COVID-19 in Rhode Island — in a state of 1 million people, 29,000 doses will only go so far, particularly when you consider that every person needs two doses before they’re fully vaccinated. But we are ready to hit the ground running and distribute these vaccines as quickly and safely as possible to our health care providers. You can see our draft blueprint for distributing the vaccine here, and we are continuing to consult the CDC and Rhode Island experts in developing this plan.
I want to be very clear: the vaccine is going to come into Rhode Island over the course of months, not weeks. And we’re all going to need two doses. It’s tempting to think that once the vaccine arrives, COVID-19 will be a thing of the past. But that’s not how it will work. Masks are still going to be part of our lives well into 2021, we’re still going to need social distancing, and we’re still going to have to be careful about the number of people we’re around. If we stay serious about following the rules now, we can all look forward to a time next year when COVID-19 is in the rear-view mirror.
We’re all in this together.
-Gina RaimondoGovernor
P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19. If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,326 new positive cases, 13 new fatalities, and 408 current hospitalizations.

7 am |

> If you missed Governor Raimondo’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing yesterday, you can watch it now here.

> RIDOH reported yesterday 1,330 new positive COVID-19 cases ( 16,557 tests prior day, 8% positive prior day), 9 new fatalities, 409 hospitalizations.

> On December 9, URI will host a birtual discussion to examine the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare professionals.

Thursday, December 3

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,330 new positive COVID-19 cases ( 16,557 tests prior day, 8% positive prior day), 9 new fatalities, 409 hospitalizations.

Governor Raimondo will host a press briefing at 1 pm, watch it here.

7 am | Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) reported yesterday 1,032 new positive cases (12,380 test prior day/8.3% positive), 11 new fatalities, and 408 hospitalizations.

RIDOH also updated COVID-19 data by city/town yesterday. Since last Wednesday, Newport County saw an additional 163 residents test positive for COVID-19. Newport saw 46 new cases, Middletown 28, Portsmouth 32, Jamestown 8, Tiverton 41, and Little Compton 8.

Governor Raimondo will host her weekly COVID-19 press briefing today at 1 pm. Watch it live on our Facebook Page, website, or YouTube Channel.

 The Rhode Island Coalition of Wedding and Event Professionals will rally on Francis Street in Providence today from 11:45 am to 3 pm. According to the coalition, the rally aims to spark change in restrictions on weddings and other structured events.

Wednesday, December 2

2:11 pm | Rhode Island Department of Health updated COVID-19 data by city/town today

Since last Wednesday, Newport County saw an additional 163 residents test positive for COVID-19. Newport saw 46 new cases, Middletown 28, Portsmouth 32, Jamestown 8, Tiverton 41, and Little Compton 8.

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,032 new positive cases (12,380 test prior day/8.3% positive), 11 new fatalities, and 408 hospitalizations.

7 am | RIDOH reported yesterday 1,043 new positive cases (10,960 tested, 9.5% positive), 7 new fatalities, 410 hospitalizations. The next data update is expected around noon today. Governor Raimondo’s next press briefing is scheduled for 1 pm on Thursday.

The new House of Representatives Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccine is scheduled to hold its first meeting virtually today at 3 pm. 

Tuesday, December 1

11 pm | The Raimondo Administration announced more than 45 grants totaling nearly $3 million to Rhode Island’s small businesses and non-profit institutions. Among the winners in Newport Counter are The Preservation Society of Newport County and Newport Music Festival. The grants are first round awards from the Administration’s hospitality relief program and business adaptation program.

12:35 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,043 new positive cases (10,960 tested, 9.5% positive), 7 new fatalities, 410 hospitalizations.

8 am | The next data update from the Rhode Island Department of Health is expected around noon today. Governor Gina Raimondo will host her next press briefing to provide an update on COVID-19 in Rhode Island at 1 pm on Thursday.

Monday, November 30

6:30 pm | Governor Gina Raimondo provided the following update regarding 9 changes to help Rhode Islanders get tested.

“Rhode Island is a national leader in COVID-19 testing, but we’re always working to improve our testing systems. The demand for testing is at an all-time high and we need to adapt to handle that level of activity. So, over the next few weeks, we’re making nine major changes to our testing system:

  1. Last week, we launched a new texting system to let people know that their test results are available at portal.ri.gov/results. Going forward, if you provide your cell phone number when you sign up to get tested, you’ll receive a text message as soon as your results are available on the portal. 
  2. Over the next week, we are dramatically scaling up our daily testing volume, with the goal of doubling the number of state-run tests by the end of our two-week pause.
  3. To ensure people with symptoms can get tested quickly, we’re going to be reserving 3,000 daily tests for people with symptoms on the portal at portal.ri.gov
  4. Starting December 2, all asymptomatic Rhode Islanders can get tested through the portal – you no longer need to belong to a certain age group or industry to qualify. 
  5. We’re deploying our new BinaxNOW tests across the state, which doesn’t require much equipment and can process results in as little as 15 minutes. 
  6. We’re also adding more testing sites. This week, we’re opening a new, asymptomatic-only testing site at the Dunkin Donuts center. And we’re scaling up that site over the next few weeks until it has the capacity to run 5,000 daily BinaxNOW tests. 
  7. We’re using these new tests to do targeted testing in high-density communities. Last week, we launched a pilot program in Central Falls and will soon have the capacity to run 1,000 daily tests for anyone in the city community, regardless of symptoms. 
  8. Starting next week, we’re going to run cyclical tests with BinaxNOW for health care workers, teachers and students at select schools, and first responders. 
  9. Over the next month, we’ll be partnering with the Broad Institute and CIC Health to enable businesses to easily order and conduct tests for their employees.

We’re always working to build a more comprehensive, faster testing network to ensure all Rhode Islanders can easily get a test and access their results. Please, keep getting tested regularly to protect yourself and your loved ones.We’re all in this together.”

1 pm | RIDOH reports today 651 new positive cases (7,114 tested / 9.2% positive), 14 new fatalities, and 365 hospitalizations.

9:45 am | Rhode Island Department of Health just updated their list of States with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island. Visitors from these 43 states and Puerto Rico will either have to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Rhode Island, or produce proof of a negative test for COVID-19 that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island. List: States with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island https://whatsupnewp.com/…/list-states-with-travel…/

6 am | Rhode Island begins its two week pause beginning today.

Friday, November 27

1 pm | RIDOH reports today 463 new positive cases (6,858 tests prior day/6.8% percent positive prior day), 6 new fatalities (total now 1,346), and 319 hospitalizations.

7 am | We expected RIDOH to provide their next data update around noon today.

Thursday, November 26

7 am | Happy Thanksgiving! We don’t expect any new data updates or information today. We will update this story if anything new is received.

Wednesday, November 25

6 pm | Governor Raimondo provided the following follow-up from her press briefing announcements this evening via email

“Deciding to limit and close businesses during our two-week pause was not a decision that I made lightly, but it was necessary to avoid overwhelming our medical system. Rhode Island’s vibrant business community has already been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic, and we value their tremendous contributions to our state. These businesses are owned and staffed by our friends, family, and neighbors, and I’m grateful to them for working together with us to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

And as we approach our pause, our businesses and their employees must have the support they need to make it through. Today, I announced $100 million to support Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island businesses during this pause, and to spur economic growth beyond the pause and into the new year. 
This investment is split into two $50 million categories: support for Rhode Island families and support for our businesses.  

Families: The first $50 million of our investment is going directly into the pockets of Rhode Island families. Every Rhode Islander who receives unemployment insurance benefits during the pause will receive an additional $200 for each of the two weeks. This is true whether you are already receiving benefits or if you file during the pause. There is no additional application – this benefit will be automatically added to your check. The Department of Labor and Training will begin processing these payments as early as December 6.  

Businesses: Another $50 million will go to businesses that will be closed or severely limited during the pause. If you’re a business owner, all you have to do is fill out a simple form attesting that you have been impacted by the pause, and the Division of Taxation will send you a check up to $50,000 to help get you through the pause, based on your past revenue. The application will be available on Friday at tax.ri.gov and you’ll have two weeks to apply. We’ll start getting money out-the-door on a rolling basis as quickly as possible, even before the application period closes. 
The next two weeks are going to be difficult, but it’s critical that we all take it seriously. I hope the programs we announced today will help Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island businesses make it through this pause. The most important thing any of us can do is to stay home as much as possible for the next two weeks, including tomorrow on Thanksgiving. Together, we can save lives and reopen our economy.
We’re all in this together.”

3:15 pm | Newport City Council will meet at 4:30 pm to receive a COVID-19 status update from City Manager Joe Nicholson. Watch here.

3 pm | According to new data made available from the Rhode Island Department of Health, Newport County has seen 171 residents test positive for COVID-19 in the last seven days. Newport saw 66 positive cases, Middletown 26, Portsmouth 28, Jamestown 11, Tiverton 39, and Little Compton 1.

12:55 pm | Governor Raimondo press briefing can be viewed here – Live On WUN | Governor Raimondo’s Weekly COVID-19 Press Briefing (Nov. 25 at 1 pm)

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 845 new positive cases (14,978 tests prior day, 5.6% positive prior day), 10 new fatalities prior day, and 357 people are currently hospitalized.

7 am | Here’s the latest…

~  RIDOH reported yesterday 812 new positive cases prior day (11,268 tests prior day/7.2% positive prior day), 16 new fatalities prior day (total now 1,325), and 323 hospitalizations.

~ Governor Raimondo will host a press briefing at 1 pm today to provide an update on COVID-19 in Rhode Island. What’s Up Newp will carry it live on our Facebook Page and website as it happens.

~ We also expect to see new COVID-19 data by city/town around noon today. We’ll update our website when we receive it.

~ Newport City Council will meet at 4:30 pm to receive a COVID-19 status update from City Manager Joe Nicholson.

~ WPRI spoke to Studio Barre Newport and Planet Fitness about the upcoming closures for gyms – Newport gym questions how state mandated safety measures aren’t enough to stay open

Tuesday, November 24

5 pm | Members of the Rhode Island General Assembly are questioning Governor Gina Raimondo’s closing of gyms during the upcoming 2-week COVID-19 pause.

4 pm | Speaker-nominee K. Joseph Shekarchi today announced the establishment of a House of Representatives task force to oversee the state’s implementation of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

11 am | The latest COVID-19 data will be available here by 1 pm.

Monday, November 23

4:50 pm | Governor Raimondo released the following update this evening in regards to preparing to pause;

“Last week, we announced a series of new restrictions that will go into effect on Monday, November 30, as part of a two-week pause to reduce the strain on our hospitals and healthcare workers. If you missed that announcement, you can watch this video for a rundown of the new measures.

In order to set Rhode Island up for success during this pause and prevent the need for a longer or more severe lockdown, it’s critical that we all be safe over Thanksgiving – and that means only having dinner with the people you live with. While the new social gathering limit takes effect immediately, the pause will start a week from today – a decision driven primarily by five factors:


1. Time to prepare. Giving businesses more than a week to prepare will help them handle this pause in a way that works best for themselves and their employees. That means giving them time to figure out shifts and staffing needs, as well as an opportunity to work through their existing inventory to avoid unnecessary food waste.

2. Measuring the efficacy of these interventions. Because of Thanksgiving, people will be changing from their normal routines this week, spending less time in their offices or in school and more time at home. Including this week in the pause would likely skew the data on the effectiveness of these measures.

3. Limiting post-Thanksgiving spread. If Rhode Islanders choose to ignore our guidance this week and hold in-person Thanksgiving gatherings with those outside their household, it will lead to increased spread in the next two weeks. Beginning this two-week pause next Monday will help mitigate those impacts.

4. Avoiding overwhelming our hospitals. We’ve looked at extensive modeling of different options, and two things became clear. First, we need the pause within the next four weeks if we’re going to keep hospitalizations manageable through January. And second, the effect of the pause on our hospitalization rate will be roughly the same no matter when it’s implemented during that period. If we all take the pause seriously between November 30 and December 13, we can avoid overwhelming our hospitals.

5. Providing assistance to our businesses. Businesses throughout our state and across the world have struggled during this crisis. It’s our hope that this two-week pause will allow us to avoid a longer and more severe lockdown that would be devastating for businesses. That said, we know this pause isn’t easy, and we’ll have more announcements this week about financial assistance for impacted businesses.

As with every part of our COVID-19 response, this process will be data-driven. We will be closely tracking behavioral data – traffic data, public mobility data, restaurant reservation data, enforcement data – to ensure that these restrictions have the necessary effect.

It won’t be easy, but if we all hold fast during the two-week pause, we can spare our already-exhausted healthcare heroes and save the lives of our fellow Rhode Islanders”.

12:30 pm | RIDOH reports today 429 new positive cases, 6 new fatalities, and 285 hospitalizations.

11:45 am | Rhode Island Department of Health has updated this list – List: States with travel restrictions upon entry to Rhode Island

7 am | The next COVID-19 data update will come from RIDOH around noon today. Governor Raimondo’s next COVID-19 press briefing is scheduled for 1 pm on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 22

9 pm | Governor Raimondo sent out the following reminder regarding new guidance in effect on Sunday evening.

“As we head into the holiday season, please remember that we’ve made an important, immediate change to the state’s COVID-19 prevention guidance:

The social gathering limit has been lowered to a single household. This means you should not be spending time socially with anyone you don’t live with, including on Thanksgiving. It also means that you should not be traveling at all this Thanksgiving, whether it’s five blocks, the next town over, or crossing state lines. We’re asking you to stay home and celebrate only with the people you live with. 

I know that this isn’t easy — I’m going to be missing seeing my extended family in-person this year too. But the amount of community transmission is too high right now to take a chance, no matter how safe you may feel. Choosing to gather across multiple households puts yourself, the people you are with, and anyone you interact with for the next two weeks in danger of getting the virus. So while this may not be easy, it’s necessary, and I hope that you’ll find a way to celebrate with friends and family remotely. If we all do it, we can turn things around and save lives”.

Friday, November 20

9:30 pm | Governor Raimondo shared the following message regarding hospitals in an email this evening.

“Yesterday, I announced a two-week pause starting on November 30. We’ll increase restrictions on certain businesses during that time, and social gatherings will continue to be limited to a single household. This isn’t easy. It’s going to be a difficult two weeks. But we’re doing this to prevent overwhelming our hospital system. That means avoiding the need to ration beds and limit care — ultimately saving lives.

Hospitalizations are rising at a faster rate now than ever. Already, we’re on track to open our field hospitals within the next few weeks. And if those hospitals start filling up, it’ll mean turning off other critical procedures. Any doctor will tell you they’re now seeing more severe health issues – more developed cancers – because people cancelled routine screenings in March and April. We don’t want to be there again.

In the Spring, we built these field hospitals in a matter of weeks. That was a herculean effort. But we also knew that if we had to open them, we’d be limited by the number of healthcare workers available to care for our patients. Last week, you heard from some of our emergency room doctors about how overwhelmed our frontline workers already are.

Now, it’s in our hands. The individual decisions we make over the next three weeks can turn around the trend and get our hospitalizations to a manageable level. Please, do not spend Thanksgiving with people you don’t live with. Stick to essential activities like school and work, getting food, medicine and other critical goods, and going to the doctor. I know it’s hard. Pandemic fatigue is real. But if we take the next few weeks seriously, we can avoid a more severe shutdown – we can save lives and save jobs.


We’re all in this together.


-Gina RaimondoGovernor
P.S.: Information is our greatest weapon in the fight against COVID-19. If you or someone you know wants to sign up to receive these emails, you can use this link.”

5 pm | The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is launching a podcast this week – Public Health Out Loud – as a new platform to help Rhode Islanders stay informed about an array of local and national public health issues.

5 pm | Business owners frustrated with upcoming restrictions on gyms, group fitness

12:15 pm | RIDOH reports today 961 new positive cases (13,761 tests prior day/7% percent positive prior day), 6 new fatalities (total now 1,294), and 288 hospitalizations.

10 am | Inaction over the next few months could cost tens of thousands of lives. Here are things you should do now to stay safe and to stop the spread of the coronavirus – As CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel, here are a dozen more things you can do to help stop COVID-19

7 am | Due to increasing coronavirus cases in Rhode Island and new restrictions issued from Governor Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Health, Salve Regina University has announced that beginning Monday, November 30 all classes and labs will be offered remotely for the remainder of the semester. Final exams will be offered remotely as well.

Thursday, November 19

11 pm | COVID ACT now with some of todya’s top COVID-19 stories

  • NPR covers a new CDC advisory cautioning against traveling for Thanksgiving. Due to the heightened risk of transmission during travel, the CDC recommends spending the holiday at home with people you’ve lived with for over 14 days or coordinating a virtual celebration. If you must travel, the CDC underscores the importance of wearing masks and social distancing during your transit. Read our CDC informed travel guide here
  • NYT reports on the WHO’s rejection of the use of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID. The antiviral drug was the first FDA approved COVID treatment and has been widely used on hospitalized patients, including President Trump. However, in their review of four large trials, experts concluded that the antiviral drug had no meaningful impact upon mortality or patient outcomes, such as the need for ventilators and recovery time. While the WHO maintains that the drug may benefit certain groups, it recommends against using remdesivir for all patients due to its high cost and lack of clear effects. 
  • STAT News explores how using AI to predict severe COVID cases may lead to biased or unequal care. Many medical systems have developed models that can ingest large amounts of data to predict a patient’s risk of hospitalization, death, or ventilator needs. However, these AI are trained on limited data sets that do not include diverse groups of patients, which may exacerbate the already disproportionate toll that the pandemic has taken upon communities of color.

10 pm | We have updated this story to include more information and background on the Governor’s new orders – Rhode Island to enter a two-week “pause” beginning November 30

3 pm | We have a recap of the Governor’s press briefing here – Rhode Island to enter a two-week “pause” beginning November 30

1:30 pm | Governor Gina Raimondo just announced that Rhode Island will be taking a two-week “pause” beginning Monday, November 30. Here’s what that will look like. A new social gathering limit of just your household goes into effect immediately. More information to come on www.whatsupnewp.com.

12:50 pm | Governor Raimondo press briefing at 1 pm can be watched here. Update: The live stream for the Governor’s press briefing that we’re provided with was buffering and unusable. Try watching the press briefing on WJAR here.

12:45 pm | RIDOH reports today 921new positive cases (15,819 tests prior day/5.8% percent positive prior day), 4 new fatalities (total now 1,288), and 284 hospitalizations.

9 am | More states are adding mask mandates as COVID-19 cases soar. If you’re traveling, shopping or seeing friends and family in person, they’re a crucial protective measure. Why masks belong at your Thanksgiving gathering and how to properly clean and wear them

8 am | Governor Raimondo will hold her weekly coronavirus briefing today at 1 pm. The Governor is expected to talk about Thanksgiving and other restrictions. Watch it here as it happens or afterward – LIVE ON WUN | GOVERNOR RAIMONDO’S WEEKLY COVID-19 BRIEFING (NOV. 19 AT 1 PM)

Wednesday, November 18

10 pm | COVID Act Now with a look at a few of today’s top national COVID-19 stories.

  • CNN confirms the grim milestone of 250,000 COVID deaths in the U.S. over the past 10 months. As cases continue to rise, COVID is expected to outpace heart disease to become the leading cause of death in the United States. 
  • The New York Times explores updated data showing Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective, a revision of earlier results that the vaccine was 90% effective. The efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine is consistent across age, race, and ethnicity, with no serious side effects reported. The company plans on applying for FDA approval within days and distributing 12.5 million doses to the U.S. by the end of the year. Moderna’s vaccine is also 94.5% effective, according to early data, meaning there are now two late-stage vaccines that offer almost total protection against the virus.  
  • STAT News reports on the first FDA approved rapid test that gives results at home. The single-use test kit, which was developed by Lucira Health, allows the user to collect and analyze nasal swabs on a portable device that displays whether they are positive or negative within 30 minutes. Of the nearly 300 FDA approved COVID tests, most require health professionals to collect the nasal swabs and high tech labs to process the results. Experts hope Lucira’s at-home test will help reduce transmission and lessen the burden upon already strained labs. Lucira’s tests will cost $50 and will most likely be available by next spring.

4:50 pm | A regional coalition of Northeast Governors, including Governor Gina Raimondo, today announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus. They also urge colleges to utilize increased remote instruction to end fall semester, reducing the need for students to travel back-and-forth between campus and home multiple times.

4:30 pm | Newport City Council is hosting a workshop now on COVID-19. Watch it live, or afterward, here – LIVE ON WUN | Newport City Council Workshop: COVID-19 Crisis Update (Nov. 18 at 4:30 pm)

3 pm | There are two new COVID-19 vaccines that appear to be more than 90% effective. But what are these vaccines, and how are they different from those used previously? The Conversation, and a scientist, helps us understand How mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna work, why they’re a breakthrough and why they need to be kept so cold

1:20 pm | Since last Wednesday, Newport County has seen 140 residents test positive for COVID-19. According to data released today from RIDOH, 38 people tested positive in the last seven days in Newport, 25 in Middletown, 30 in Portsmouth, 12 in Jamestown, 32 in Tiverton, and 3 in Little Compton. Department of Health releases updated COVID-19 data by city, town

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 1,280 new positive cases (18,414 tests prior day/7% percent positive prior day), 6 new fatalities (total now 1,278), and 284 hospitalizations.

10 am | COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the US. Testing has ramped up over the past few months, but increasing hospitalizations, deaths and test-positivity rates show that the virus is out of control. No, soaring COVID-19 cases are not due to more testing – they show a surging pandemic

7 am | On the agenda today…

  • Around noon we’ll receive the latest COVID-19 data from Rhode Island Department of Health.
  • Shortly thereafter, we should receive updated COVID-19 data/statistics by city/town. Those usually get updated every Wednesday.
  • At 4:30 pm, Newport City Council will receive a COVID-19 update from City Manager Joe Nicholson.

Tuesday, November 17

11 pm | The state of Rhode Island is launching a pilot program to test staff, students and students’ families. WJAR has the story here – Rhode Island to launch school surveillance testing pilot program

5:30 pm | A snippet of contact-tracing data obtained by Target 12 shows health officials actually have limited insight into where transmission of the virus is taking place.

4:30 pm | Newport City Council is scheduled to meet at 4:30 pm tomorrow to receive a COVID-19 Crisis Update from City Manager Joe Nicholson. What’s Up Newp will carry it live as it happens on our website and Facebook Page.

4 pm | Restaurants and bars in Central Falls have been ordered by the mayor to offer takeout and delivery only in response to a surge of coronavirus cases across the city. The order takes effect Thursday.

2 pm | MSNBC‘s Yasmin Vossoughian talks to Dr. Laura Forman, chief of emergency medicine at Kent Hospital, about the field hospital they have set up in Rhode Island.

1 pm | Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced today that social gatherings will now be limited to five people in the city. The limit across the remainder of Rhode Island is currently ten people.

12:30 pm | Governor Raimondo will host her weekly COVID-19 press briefing at 1 pm on Thursday this week. It was originally scheduled for Wednesday at 1 pm. Watch it live here as it happens.

12 pm | RIDOH reports today 605 new positive cases (9,709 tests prior day/6.2% percent positive prior day), 8 new fatalities (total now 1,278), and 265 hospitalizations.

9 am | Rhode Island is among four states that will participate in Pfizer’s Immunization Pilot Program

8:30 am | If you’re struggling to keep track of each state’s travel restrictions across New England, The Boston Globe has a helpful guide here – What are the latest travel restrictions in New England?  NECN did a similar story here Making Sense of Travel Restrictions in All 6 New England States Ahead of Thanksgiving

7 am | Middletown High School is set to reopen today following two weeks of remote learning due to an increase in COVID-19. Speaking of schools, the “vast majority” of Rhode Island teachers and education support professionals, yesterday called for “a holiday pause” of in-person learning and a move to distance learning for K-12 students statewide by November 23.

6:30 am | Leaders at Newport Hospital say they haven’t yet been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients or reached bed capacity, but The Public’s Radio reports that the facility still cannot offer asymptomatic testing.

For more COVID-19 news and information, click here.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.