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State Unveils New Models, Rental Assistance Available for Lower Income Rhode Islanders

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.

Modeling: Today the state released two new models that show COVID-19's trajectory in Rhode Island over the past month and potential scenarios for the next two weeks regarding hospitalizations. (See link below.)

The models indicate two significant shifts in the hospitalization rate in Rhode Island. The growth curve shifted around April 2nd, two weeks after the state's first business closures (for restaurants and bars) were announced. The growth curve shifted again around April 14th from more linear growth to growth that is closer to a plateau. This second shift happened roughly two weeks after a stay-at-home order was issued for Rhode Island. The Governor and Dr. Alexander-Scott spoke about two possible scenarios for the next two weeks: one a gradually decreasing plateau, the other a more traditional bell curve.

Rental assistance: Rhode Island has made $1.5 million in emergency rental assistance available to low-income renters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency and are at immediate risk of homelessness. Those who qualify can receive a grant of up to $5,000 to support past due rent payments and other fees. Requirement information and details are available at HousingHelpRI.com or by calling 211.

COVID-19 Data Update Rhode Island has 327 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 9,289. Rhode Island also has 17 new fatalities to announce. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 296. 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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