Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided updates on Rhode Island's response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) today.
• Serology testing: Earlier this week, the state received a shipment of 20,000 antibody tests that are now going through the validation process. In the coming weeks, the state will work with experts at Brown University and the Rhode Island Blood Center to test a random population sample and collect information about the prevalence of the virus in Rhode Island. In the meantime, RIDOH is creating a Rhode Island COVID-19 Testing and Validation Task Force to help analyze and draw conclusions from this data when it is available. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Dr. Angela Caliendo and Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, two Lifespan physicians. • Workforce stabilization: Today, the Governor announced a new Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund for private providers. For the next month, this fund will provide temporary pay increases for low-wage frontline workers at eligible Medicaid-funded residential facilities. Employers can apply to the Office of Health and Human Services starting next week. • Banking pledge: More than 20 financial institutions in RI have pledged the following relief to their residential borrowers: o A 90-day grace period for all residential mortgage payments for individuals impacted by COVID-19, with the opportunity to request additional relief o An agreement to not report late payments to credit reporting agencies for residential borrowers who take advantage of this relief o A 60-day moratorium on initiating residential foreclosures and evictions; and o An agreement to waive mortgage-related late fees. More information can be found here. https://dbr.ri.gov/documents/Financial_Institution_Pledge.pdf • Rental assistance: Starting next Thursday, the state will be making available $1.5M in rental assistance for low income Rhode Islanders across the state. Details and information on how to apply will be announced in the coming days. • Violence Prevention: Next Thursday at 11 a.m., Governor Raimondo will be joined by Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Langevin, Congressman Cicilline, Attorney General Neronha, members of the Cabinet and representatives from the advocate community for a Violence Prevention Facebook Town Hall. Rhode Islanders can submit their questions on Facebook or anonymously by emailing email@example.com.
COVID-19 Data Update Rhode Island has 437 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 6,699. RIDOH also announced 13 additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 202. 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 www.RIDelivers.com [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. 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.