Raimondo: Don’t Defund Police & Sorry I Broke COVID Guidelines 

by | Jun 8, 2020

By Hope McKinney

There were 97 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 65 new cases on Sunday. On Monday, there were only 51 new cases, for a total of 15,642 cases. There were 10 deaths, bringing the death toll to 799 people. The number of hospitalizations has dropped to 146 people. The number of confirmed cases in East Greenwich was 71 Monday, an addition of only 1 case since May 29. Find all the latest data on the DOH data dashboard HERE.

At Gov. Gina Raimondo’s press conference Monday afternoon, she said she doesn’t support defunding the state police and apologized for breaking social distancing rules at her brief appearance at the Protect Black Lives protest Friday night. 

These press conferences originally designated for COVID-19 updates have begun to go hand-in-hand with updates surrounding the outbreak of protests against systematic and individual racism following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May.

Although Raimondo thinks it is up to a city or town to decide whether or not they want to defund their police department, she quickly said she would not support it on the state level because she believes there are better alternatives. 

“I don’t think the data would suggest that fewer cops leads to greater safety,” she said. “I think it’s better training, nonviolence training, a more diverse leadership and strategy for recruiting diversity. One thing which I support: body cameras.” 

Raimondo said she didn’t attend the protest because of her own public health guidance. However, she showed up after the 9 p.m. curfew that night in an attempt to de-escalate some protesters who seemed agitated. 

“After all the great work that went into making (the protests) peaceful, I was gonna do anything I could to keep the peace,” she said.

However, some residents felt frustrated with her for showing up without a mask, even asking protesters to hold hands, given the strict social distancing guidelines she has encouraged since the COVID crisis began.  

“It was clearly a mistake on my part,” she said. “I shouldn’t have done it and it’s just another note that we have to be vigilant. We all need to follow the rules, myself included, and I intend to do that. But in that moment of urgency, I forgot.” 

Gov. Gina Raimondo. Pool photo.

She also strongly encouraged residents who attended any of the recent protests to take extra caution around those who are older, frail or have underlying health conditions and schedule a COVID test at www.portal.ri.gov. She reiterated that tests are most effective between 3 to 7 days after being exposed. 

To continue tackling the virus head on and keep up with testing, Raimondo announced an early warning detection system which will test key groups of asymptomatic individuals – people who don’t feel sick – in order to catch any possible outbreaks early. The goal is to test 900 asymptomatic people a day. 

This free testing system will be available at National Guard testing sites for child care workers and close-contact workers (employees at hair salons, barber shops, gyms, nail salons, tattoo parlors, tanning parlors, etc). This system will be available to more employees as more places begin to reopen. 

Although tests are known to not be as accurate on people who do not have symptoms versus those who do, they are still somewhat accurate. For Raimondo, some information is better than no information.

“Nothing we’re doing is perfect, but we have to use every tool at our disposal and do everything we know how to do in order to continue to keep the virus in check,” she said.

To schedule a test, go to www.portal.ri.gov or call the department of health at (401) 222-8022. 

She also announced a new technical improvement to the Crush COVID App which is available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play. This version is called 1.5 and it allows for easier use on Android phones, as well as a few changes to the location diary for increased accuracy. The final version will be out by the end of June.

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