Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) provided an update on Rhode Island's response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
• Summer: Governor Raimondo announced today that Summer, a social enterprise that assists student loan borrowers, is partnering with Rhode Island to provide free student loan assistance for all residents financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. As a certified B Corp, Summer is the leading resource for borrowers to simplify and save on their student debt––offering cutting-edge tools and a dedicated team of student loan experts to find, compare, and enroll in dozens of loan assistance and forgiveness programs. Rhode Island residents can now access Summer's digital platform free of charge to receive customized loan savings recommendations here. Summer and Rhode Island's partnership is directed at borrowers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. • Utility: Earlier this week, the Public Utilities Commission voted to extend an order that all regulated utilities--electric, gas, water, sewer--cannot be shut off or sent to a collection agency through May 31. This applies to both residential and non-residential customers.
COVID-19 Data Update RIDOH announced 210 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island's case count to 10,989. RIDOH also announced 19 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 418. 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. • 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.