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.
• Small business support: The state will be distributing 500,000 masks and disinfectant solution to Rhode Island businesses through chambers of commerce and industry associations. These supplies will be available to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, including retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturers, and others. Starting next week, businesses will be able to pick up a month's supply of face coverings as well as a voucher for a gallon of disinfectant that can be purchased from any Rhode Island Ocean State Job Lot store. To obtain these supplies, businesses must show they've completed their COVID-19 Control Plan. Templates are available on ReopeningRI.com. For more information about supplies and to find a list of participating chambers and business associations, visit CommerceRI.com. • Laptops: Thanks to a generous donation from the Microsoft Corporation, Commerce RI will be distributing 500 laptops to Rhode Island small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The state will prioritize small businesses that are owned by people of color, women, veterans, or lower/moderate income individuals. Applications are available on CommerceRI.com in both English and Spanish and are due on May 26th. Additionally, Microsoft has donated another 500 new laptops to support the state's education needs. These laptops will go to schools and districts with an identified need for devices, as well as to Rhode Island College, and to support adult learners. • New testing sites: This week, the state launched a new testing site at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence and tripled the testing capacity in Woonsocket. The Governor also announced that the state has added two more locations to do diagnostic testing and serology testing on randomly selected Rhode Islanders to help gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. Both of these locations are in Providence (on Manton Ave and West River Street). They are in addition to the four original locations in North Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, and Newport. These sites are only open to Rhode Islanders who have received a written invitation from RIDOH.
COVID-19 Data Update RIDOH announced 221 new cases of COVID-19 today. This brings Rhode Island's case count to 11,835. RIDOH also announced 18 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island's number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 462. 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.