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Plan Announced for Phased Reopening of Parks; RIDOH Updates COVID-19 Data

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.

Those updates included the announcement that the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will be reopening state parks in a graduated manner during the first phase of reopening Rhode Island's economy. While DEM will be staggering park openings, reducing the size of parking areas and restricting hours of operation and activities to prevent crowds, many diverse and varied outdoor spaces will be open for Rhode Islanders to safely enjoy while adhering to public health guidance on gathering and social distancing. DEM hopes to reopen all parks by the end of May. A second phase will involve the saltwater beaches. DEM's announcement is available online (see link below).

COVID-19 Data Update Rhode Island has 341 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 8,962. Rhode Island also has 13 new fatalities to announce. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 279. 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 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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