‘Beating the Blue Line’; 366 New Cases

by | Apr 17, 2020

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Rhode Island logged 366 new cases of COVID-19, an increase of 55 cases after a few days of slower growth. The state now has 4,177 total confirmed cases. The state also had 13 new deaths bringing the total number of deaths to 118. The number of those in the hospital increased at a relatively low rate – it was 252 Friday, up from 245 Thursday and 229 Wednesday. The number of people in the ICU was 62 – up just by 3 from Wednesday – and the number of people on ventilators was 43, the same as Thursday and one less than Wednesday. In East Greenwich, the number of confimed cases grew by 2, to 20. Find all the data on the Dept. of Health’s website HERE.

Heath Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said 10 of the 13 deaths occured in people living in nursing homes or other congregate care settings. One person was in their 50s, two in their 60s, 7 in their 70s, one in their 80s, one in their 90s, and one was more than 100 years old. She said the state was starting a testing program for nursing homes in which residents of nursing homes will be tested every 7 to 10 days. Acknowledging the extreme difficulties faced by nursing homes, she said, “There is an entire state of people who are behind you.”

Alexander-Scott also said the state had sent out guidance for “crisis standards of care” so there could be a consistent approach to emergencies when there are, say, not enough ventilators for all the sick people who need them. She said it provided a “safe and equitable approach to providing care .. so that all Rhode Islanders can know there’s a thoughtful approach” to such decisions. But, she added, they were hopeful they would never need to rely on such guidelines. 

During the question period, Gov. Gina Raimondo was asked about the model unveiled yesterday and how the model’s more optimistic blue line – estimating around 1,000 people in the hospital by April 17 – was widely off the actual number of 262. 

Raimondo said the model was based on projections and a host of assumptions whereas the actual data was fact, noting that was one reason she’d been reluctant to release the state’s model. 

“Let’s beat the blue line and continue our social distancing,” she urged.

Acknowledging health care workers did not have all the PPE they needed – ”I wish you didn’t have to reuse equipment” –Raimondo said the state’s goal was to have a 30-day supply of PPE on hand. 

“We want to have our own Rhode Island stockpile,” Raimondo said. “We’re not out of the woods yet. We’re competing with other states and the federal government. But it’s starting to come in.”

From the state Department of Health

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 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 [email protected], 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.
    • Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.
    • 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.
    • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
    • Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

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