By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday the state now has 106 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 23 from Sunday. The number of cases in Kent County remained at 7. Currently, four people with COVID-19 are hospitalized. 

In her daily press conference she announced, as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, everyone arriving by plane in Rhode Island will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days and that personnel (probably members of the National Guard) will be at T.F. Green Airport to greet passengers and get their contact information.

Raimondo urged all Rhode Islanders who commute to another state to work to work  from home and for Rhode Island employers with out-of-state employees to arrange for them to work from home too, offering state help with logistics if necessary (they can call 401-521-HELP).

Raimondo continued to hold the line against a complete shutdown of the state. Earlier Monday,  Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced he was closing all “non-essential” businesses. Raimondo said she did not want to inflict any more harm on the Rhode Island economy than was absolutely necessary. 

“I’m trying to maintain some semblance of the economy,” she said. “If we don’t comply, we’ll have to go the path of other states and shut down even further.”

With regard to testing, Raimondo said the hope was the state would be testing 700 to 800 people a day for COVID-19 by early next week. 

State Dept. of Health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said Monday the 23 new cases were among people from their 20s to the 90s and none lived in a nursing home; some had traveled domestically (New York, New Jersey and Utah). 

Of the 106 confirmed cases, Alexander-Scott said, at least 33 of them had traveled domestically and 14 had traveled internationally.

Gov. Raimondo also announced Monday she is moving the state’s presidential primary to June 2. It had been scheduled for April 28 and voting by mail will be encouraged.

“A predominantly mail ballot election will ensure that all eligible Rhode Islanders can cast a ballot in a safe and secure manner while protecting the integrity of every vote,” said Sec. of State Nellie Gorbea. “Our first step in the coming weeks will be to send all registered voters a mail ballot application with a postage-paid return envelope.”

COVID-19 in Rhode Island:

106 confirmed cases
1,120 negative tests
77 tests pending
There are approximately 3,000 in self-quarantine

Distribution by county:
  • Bristol County: 4
  • Kent County: 7
  • Newport County: 10
  • Providence County: 75
  • Washington County: 10
Distribution by age:
  • 0-9: 2
  • 10-19: 4
  • 20-29: 17
  • 30-39: 18
  • 40-49: 19
  • 50-59: 21
  • 60-69: 12
  • 70-79: 11
  • 80-89: 0
  • 90 and older: 2

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.
  • Avoid all crowded places, large events, and mass gatherings. This is social distancing. However, people should continue doing essential errands (such as going to the grocery store).
  • 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.
  • Whenever possible, 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. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they 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.
  • When greeting people avoid handshakes and hugs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • More information is available from CDC.
  • 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. The Hotline will be staffed this weekend from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm both Saturday and Sunday. (After hours people are being directed to call 211.)
  • 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 percent alcohol.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Viruses can spread by coughing or sneezing on other people or into your hands.
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
  • 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.