Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced new guidance directing all child care centers in Rhode Island to close, effective tomorrow. She also announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has been working with local school districts to make "grab and go" meals available to students who need them while schools are closed this week.
"We need everyone to continue following the 'gold standard' for protection from coronavirus," Governor Raimondo said. "Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands often. If you don't feel well, call your healthcare provider rather than going to their office. If your workplace has closed and you're now home, avoid all nonessential crowds."
At a noon press conference at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, the Governor announced that there are no new positive COVID-19 cases since yesterday. "This is a welcome pause, but we expect that it is just a pause. These coming weeks are critical," she said.
These numbers are also available online.
• Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 20 • Number of people who had negative test results at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories: 271 • Number of people for whom tests are pending: 117 • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,300. This number includes approximately 1,700 people from the Cranston High School West who have been instructed to self-quarantine.
Testing, including confirmatory testing, in Rhode Island is being done at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories.
Any day care employee or other Rhode Island worker impacted by a business closure can apply for Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI), Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI), or Unemployment Insurance (UI). DLT is waiving the seven-day minimum amount of time that claimants must be out of work to qualify for these benefits as a result of COVID-19. Visit the DLT website for information.
Additionally, beginning tomorrow, free "grab and go" meals will be available for Rhode Island kids. These meal sites will be open throughout the next week as schools across the state are closed. All sites are open and free for anyone age 18 or younger. There are no ID or residency requirements, but the child must be present. Schools cannot give a meal to an adult on behalf of a child. Visit the Food Sites for Schoolchildren page for an updated list of meal sites. New sites are still being added, so please check back or contact your school district or charter school for more options.
Key messages for the public
• Most people who may get COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and can recover at home.
• If you have traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home.
• Avoid all crowded places, large events, and mass gatherings. This is social distancing. However, people should continue doing essential errands (such as going to the grocery store).
• Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.
• Although Rhode Island has the testing capacity it needs, people without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
• People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
• Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC's guidance for people older than 60 years of age: o Avoid close contact with people who are sick. o When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. o Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home. o Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor. o More information is available from CDC.
• 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. The Hotline will be staffed this weekend from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)
• Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island. o Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same. o 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. o Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands. o Stay home from work or school if you are sick. o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.