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Governor Raimondo, Dr. Alexander-Scott Provide Update on State's Response to COVID-19

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), made several announcements today about the state's response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

- Courts: The courts have extended their closure for all non-essential business--including residential and commercial evictions--through May 17th.

- Contact tracing: The state has partnered with SalesForce, a global software company, to make the contact tracing process more efficient. SalesForce is creating a secure database that will allow RIDOH and the National Guard to do contact tracing more efficiently and effectively. SalesForce is also creating a platform for physicians to order tests for patients at the National Guard testing sites.

- Job Lot: Starting today, Job Lot is making free fabric available to all Rhode Island residents to make our own fabric face coverings. Every Job Lot has a display set up and they have enough free fabric for 1 million masks.

The Governor reiterated that everyone should wear a cloth face covering when in public. (These are different than medical grade masks, such as N95s, which should be reserved for healthcare workers.) A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. A cloth face cover could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves or T-shirts. Cloth face covers are not substitutes for physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when ill.

COVID-19 Data Update

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 220 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 1,450. RIDOH also announced five additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Three of these people were in their 70s. One person was in their 80s and one person was in their 90s. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 35. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online: https://health.ri.gov/data/covid-19/

Key messages for the public

- Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or healthcare).

- The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.

- Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1.

- When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.

- Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.

- Healthcare workers should not be going to work if they are sick (even with mild symptoms).

- 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. 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.

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.

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