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Governor, Dr. Alexander-Scott Provide Updates 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) provided updates on Rhode Island's response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) today.

Healthcare: Yesterday the Governor signed an executive order to relax onerous regulations and eliminate barriers to care during this crisis. The order includes the following protections through May 27th: o Medications: Insurers cannot make changes to what drugs are covered unless the changes benefit patients. o Provider Referrals: Insurers are required to relax the referral process to allow for more time and leniency. No referrals are necessary for telehealth. o Prior Authorization: In-patient hospital and rehabilitation, long-term care and telemedicine in-network services cannot be suspended because an individual doesn't have prior authorization. In addition, no prior authorization is needed for testing or treatment of COVID-19. o Behavioral Healthcare: No referrals or other benefit review approvals are required for a patient to access needed mental and behavioral health care. DMV: The state is now giving 90-day extensions on expirations set for May. Expiration dates in May are now extended to August. This applies to all licenses, registrations, inspections, permits, and temporary plates.

COVID-19 Data Update Rhode Island has 218 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 7,926. RIDOH also announced six additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 239. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online (see link below).

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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