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Governor, Dr. Alexander-Scott Extend Regulations, Announce New SNAP Benefits

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Dr. Alexander-Scott today made several announcements about the state's response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The following orders are extended until April 13:

- Gatherings: All gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited everywhere.

- Work from home: Anyone who can work from home is required to do so.

- Restaurant dine-in: Restaurants, bars and cafes will be closed to dine-in service. They will be allowed to sell wine and beer with take-out orders.

- Business closures: Public recreation and entertainment businesses (theaters, cinemas, bowling alleys, museums, zoos) as well as all close-contact businesses (hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, gyms, yoga studios) will remain closed.

The following orders are extended until April 25:

- Domestic and international air travel: Anyone returning to Rhode Island from domestic or international travel by plane must self-quarantine for 14 days.

- New York travel: Anyone returning to Rhode Island after traveling to New York state by any mode of transportation must self-quarantine for 14 days.

- Contact tracing: Members of the National Guard will be present at TF Green, train stations and bus stops collecting contact information to be shared ONLY with the Department of Health so they can keep track of who you may have been in contact with.

The following orders are extended until May 8:

- Open Meetings Act: We have suspended the provision of the Open Meetings Act that prohibits meetings taking place by phone or video conferencing.

- Telehealth: Health insurers must cover telemedicine for primary care, specialty care and mental and behavioral health care.

- Gun Permits: In keeping with a request from the RI Police Chiefs' Association we have extended the time period that law enforcement has to complete a background for a gun permit from 7 days to 30 days.

The Governor also made the following updates:

- Casinos are closed indefinitely;

- The State House is closed to visitors indefinitely;

- Nursing homes and hospitals are not allowing visitors until further notice; and

- All state-based customer services will remain online only until further notice. The DMV is open by appointment only.

The Governor also made several announcements about the SNAP program in Rhode Island. The federal government has given Rhode Island the authority to distribute additional emergency benefits to many SNAP-eligible Rhode Islanders for as long as the state is in a declared state of emergency. Approximately half of all SNAP recipients will receive additional funds, which will be first administered on April 1. The state is also delaying the recertification deadline for families who receive SNAP or cash assistance. Rhode Islanders who were due to reapply in March or April will be given a six-month extension to ensure continuation of their benefits during this crisis.

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 38 additional cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's case count to 203.


Rhode Island COVID-19 data is available online.

- Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 203

- Number of Rhode Islanders who had negative test results: 2,306

- Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,500

Distribution of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients by city/town of residence:

Barrington 5 Bristol fewer than 5 Burrillville fewer than 5 Central Falls fewer than 5 Charlestown fewer than 5 Coventry 5 Cranston 21 Cumberland 7 East Greenwich 0 East Providence 9 Exeter 0 Foster fewer than 5 Glocester 0 Hopkinton fewer than 5 Jamestown fewer than 5 Johnston 5 Lincoln fewer than 5 Little Compton 0 Middletown 6 Narragansett fewer than 5 New Shoreham 0 Newport 5 North Kingstown 8 North Providence fewer than 5 North Smithfield fewer than 5 Pawtucket 9 Portsmouth fewer than 5 Providence 57 Richmond 0 Scituate fewer than 5 Smithfield fewer than 5 South Kingstown 8 Tiverton fewer than 5 Warren fewer than 5 Warwick 11 West Greenwich 0 West Warwick fewer than 5 Westerly 5 Woonsocket fewer than 5

Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients who are currently hospitalized: - 28

Data notes:

The number of negative test results increased significantly between yesterday and today because RIDOH is now counting the negative test results at RIDOH's State Health Laboratories and at private and hospital laboratories. Outside laboratories do not normally report negative test results to RIDOH. The previous negative totals were only for the State Health Laboratories. The positive and negative totals are now cumulative numbers for all laboratories testing for Rhode Islanders.

As the volume of cases increases, RIDOH may move to providing abbreviated data updates daily and more detailed data updates weekly.

The number of COVID-19 patients in a city or town should not be used to draw any conclusions about relative risk in different cities and towns. All Rhode Islanders should continue to take all the COVID-19 precautions that have been shared by RIDOH.

Key messages for the public

- 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).

- Through March 30th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)

- Due to the closure of schools, free "Grab and Go" meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. More information is available online.

- Whenever possible, avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.

- 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:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.

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.

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.

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.

Everyone can help stop the spread of viruses in Rhode Island.

Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

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. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

Stay home from work or school if you are sick.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

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