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Raimondo Provides Update on Workforce Stabilization Fund, Extension of Free Mobile Hotspot Service

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.

Workforce Stabilization Fund: A few weeks ago, the Governor announced a Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund that would make available $8.2 million to provide temporary bonuses to low-wage frontline workers. Employers have applied to be a part of this program through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. As of today, more than $6 million in payments have already been made to providers, which will then be passed on to employees. This funding is expected to benefit more than 10,300 workers at more than 160 facilities who all make less than $20 an hour. Mobile Hotspots: In March, Governor Raimondo announced that all households that have a Smart Phone with a WiFi hot spot feature and have cell phone service from the four most common providers in Rhode Island Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint would be able to activate the hot spot feature for free with no activation fees, usage fees, or overage fees. That policy was originally only in effect until May 13th. As of today, all four carriers have extended the service to June 30th through the end of the school year.

COVID-19 Data Update RIDOH announced 164 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island's case count to 11,614. RIDOH also announced 14 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 444. 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.

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