Above: Colonel James M. Manni, State Police superintendent, addresses the State Police’s procedures when stopping vehicles at the R.I. – Connecticut border during Gov. Gina Raimondo’s daily COVID-19 update from the State Room of the State House Sunday. [The Providence Journal / Kris Craig]

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Gov. Gina Raimondo ticked off the highest COVID-19 totals so far in Rhode Island at her daily press conference Sunday – 55 new cases, bringing the total to 294, and 35 people in the hospital. In addition, 1 more person has died, for a total of 3 now. The number of East Greenwich cases remains fewer than 5.

“That’s a big jump,” Raimondo said of the state numbers. “That’s a particularly big jump in the number of people in the hospital. We’re starting to go up the curve at a pretty fast clip. It is going to get worse…. How much worse depends on you.”

That said, Raimondo said people should not be panicking. “This is exactly what we thought; it’s what we’re preparing for.”

She said Rhode Islanders needed to get more serious about social distancing. “This virus is coming, it is coming fast, and we cannot outrun it,” she said. “I’m asking you, imploring you, begging you….”

Raimondo tasked each Rhode Islander to write down a list of four or five people they will reduce contact with in the coming week. Earlier this week, she said people should only be in contact with the people they live with.

RI Governor Gina Raimondo Sunday. [The Providence Journal / Kris Craig]

The governor’s latest executive order suspends all childcare licenses until April 4. Raimondo said this was a reversal from an earlier dictate where she sought to make it easier for people to use child care centers, but noted that in dropping the number of people allowed to gather to 5 or fewer Saturday, she felt it was necessary. She urged parents to try the child-care matching website Care.com (find the link HERE), which is providing state residents with a free 90-day subscription.

The state will also start directing all out-of-state passenger vehicles to pull over at information stations on the border with Connecticut. Those individuals who plan to stay in Rhode Island will be asked for their contact information and will be ordered to quarantine for 14 days.

In addition, all R.I. motorists with licenses or registration that expire in March or April now have 90-day extensions. And all Medicaid terminations are extended “for the duration of this emergency.”

The full press release for 3/29/20: 

Governor Gina M. Raimondo today made several announcements about the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • Domestic Travel: Starting today, Rhode Island will have highway signs directing all out-of-state drivers to pull over at information stations on the southern border with Connecticut. State police will ensure that anyone planning to stay in Rhode Island knows that they’re required to quarantine for 14 days. National Guard members will ask drivers to provide their contact information to be passed on to the Department of Health. 
  • Child Care: Effective tomorrow, the state is suspending all childcare licenses until April 4. Rhode Island has partnered with Care.com to increase childcare access to Rhode Islanders. In addition to providing 90 days of free, premium access to their website, Care.com has created portals specifically for frontline workers and caregivers in Rhode Island. Starting today, frontline workers looking for child care can visit www.care.com/rineed to find a local caregiver. Rhode Island residents interested in becoming caregivers can visit www.care.com/rigive  to register. Potential caregivers are subject to Care.com’s extensive background and safety checks. While child care services are not typically free of charge, the Rhode Island portal gives residents the ability to waive their fees and volunteer as caregivers, providing additional support to frontline workers.
  • Medicaid: Rhode Island Medicaid will be suspending all terminations and quarterly income verifications for the duration of this emergency. 
  • DMV: Rhode Islanders will have a 90-day extension on expirations for March or April. This goes beyond the original 30-day extension announced weeks ago and will apply to all licenses, registrations, inspections, permits, and temporary plates.

The Governor announced today that Rhode Island has 55 additional cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 294.

Data 

Rhode Island COVID-19 data is available online.

  • Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 294
  • Number of Rhode Islanders who had negative test results: 2,840
  • Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 1,000.

Distribution of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients by city/town of residence: 

  • Barrington – 6
  • Bristol – 5
  • Burrillville – 7
  • Central Falls – fewer than 5
  • Charlestown – fewer than 5
  • Coventry – 6
  • Cranston – 31
  • Cumberland – 8
  • East Greenwich – fewer than 5
  • East Providence – 13
  • Exeter – fewer than 5
  • Foster – fewer than 5
  • Glocester – fewer than 5
  • Hopkinton – fewer than 5
  • Jamestown – fewer than 5
  • Johnston – 7
  • Lincoln – fewer than 5
  • Little Compton – fewer than 5
  • Middletown – 6
  • Narragansett – fewer than 5
  • New Shoreham – 0
  • Newport – 6
  • North Kingstown – 8
  • North Providence – fewer than 5
  • North Smithfield – fewer than 5
  • Pawtucket – 14
  • Portsmouth – fewer than 5
  • Providence – 63
  • Richmond – 0
  • Scituate – fewer than 5
  • Smithfield – 5
  • South Kingstown – 8
  • Tiverton – 5
  • Warren – fewer than 5
  • Warwick – 16
  • West Greenwich – 0
  • West Warwick – 6
  • Westerly – 6
  • Woonsocket – fewer than 5

Please note that determination of some places of residence are still pending.

Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 patients who are currently hospitalized:

  • 35

Data notes:

  • As the volume of cases increases, RIDOH may move to providing abbreviated data updates daily and more detailed data updates weekly.
  • The number of COVID-19 patients in a city or town should not be used to draw any conclusions about relative risk in different cities and towns. All Rhode Islanders should continue to take all the COVID-19 precautions that have been shared by RIDOH.

Key messages for the public 

  • If you have traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days, self-quarantine for 14 days. That means do not go to work or school and stay at home. If you need to get food or pick up medicine, you need to call a loved one or neighbor who can run that errand for you. Respecting and following quarantine rules will help Rhode Island try to ensure that there are enough hospital beds when there is a surge of patients who are ill with COVID-19.
  • Avoid all crowded places, large events, and mass gatherings. This is social distancing.
  • Through March 30th, there will be no on-site food consumption for restaurants, bars, coffee shops, or other food establishments in Rhode Island. (Establishments with a food license can continue to conduct pick-up, drive-thru and delivery only.)
  • Due to the closure of schools, free “Grab and Go” meals are available for children throughout Rhode Island. More information is available online.
  • Avoid close personal contact with people in public. When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs. Additional guidance is available from CDC.
  • People without symptoms should not be tested for COVID-19. Testing individuals with no symptoms is not recommended by CDC.
  • People who think they have COVID-19 should call their healthcare provider and should not go out. If you have any symptoms at all, you should isolate at home. Do not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency). Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
  • Early data suggest that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. RIDOH is reiterating CDC’s guidance for people older than 60 years of age:
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

o When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.

o Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

o Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

o More information is available from CDC.

o 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 Get your flu shot, and make sure the people around you do the same.

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. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.

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.


EG News recognizes this is a challenging time for everyone. If you are able, consider supporting local news with a donation. Use the Donate button below or send a check to EG News, 18 Prospect St., EG, RI 02818. If you can’t donate right now but have some extra time on your hands, EG News could sure use your help. Contact editor@eastgreenwichnews.com. Thanks, everyone. Together we are stronger.