Press Releases


Governor Raimondo, Dr. Alexander-Scott Provide Updates on State Response to COVID-19

Date: April 17, 2020

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). Workers Compensation: Beacon Mutual Insurance Company, which insures 12,000 Rhode Island businesses, will be allowing frontline healthcare workers to file for workers compensation under the presumption that they contracted the virus in the course of doing their jobs and will expedite those claims. This includes doctors, nurses, EMTs, home health aides and others. Testing for vulnerable populations: The state is implementing a cyclical testing program for all nursing homes to be tested every 7-10 days. This involves delivering swabs to nursing homes and picking up samples the next day. Mobile testing for outbreaks will be deployed to hot spots. COVID-19 Data Update Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 372 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 4,177. There were 13 additional fatalities. One person was in their 50s, 2 people were in their 60s, 7 people were in their 70s, one person was in their 80s, one person was in their 90s and one was more than 100 years old. Rhode Island's total number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 118. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online.

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 after the last day that that person was in isolation. 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 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, write to, 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. 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. o Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care. o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

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