Four more deaths due to COVID-19

Four more deaths due to COVID-19

UPDATE – March 31

Another four people died overnight of COVID-19, and 86 new cases were confirmed, announced Gov. Gina Raimondo and Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott on Tuesday. Of eight total deaths now from the pandemic, two of the victims lived at Golden Crest Nursing Centre in North Providence and one lived at Oak Hill Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Pawtucket.

Rhode Island's case count now stands at 488. Of the four deaths from Monday to Tuesday, one was a man in his 60s, one was a woman in her 80s, and another man and woman were in their 70s.

As of this Friday, April 3, state beaches and parks in Rhode Island will be closed, Raimondo announced during her daily press briefing Tuesday afternoon. Campground openings will be postponed until at least May 1.

All healthcare workers in all hospitals and nursing homes, as well as home health workers, should be wearing masks at all times when engaged in direct patient care. RIDOH has been working, and will continue to work, with facilities on strategies to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE).

Testing had previously focused on health workers, hospitalized patients, and people who live in congregate living settings such as nursing homes. With three additional remote swabbing sites, or drive-thru testing sites, now operational, Rhode Island is expanding testing to three additional populations: people who are older than 65, people with underlying medical conditions, and critical infrastructure workers (such as police officers and firefighters. To be tested, someone must have symptoms. If someone in one of these groups has symptoms that they think need medical care, they should call their doctor. Someone cannot be tested in Rhode Island without being directed to a testing site by their doctor.

The Rhode Island Superior Court is rolling out a new program to help businesses that have been significantly disrupted by this virus. Normally, businesses that can’t pay their bills are sold and their assets are divided by creditors. This new program will enable attorneys and accountants to work with business owners so that they can continue to operate, access capital like disaster assistance, and pay their debts incrementally, all under court-supervised protection from lawsuits. This program will give qualifying businesses vital protection so that they can get back on their feet after this crisis is over. More information can be found on the court’s website.

The governor also repeated her call for part-time or retired trained medical and behavioral health professionals to sign up as volunteers at www.RIresponds.org.

UPDATE – March 30

Gov. Gina Raimondo and Director of the Department of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott made several announcements this week relating to education during the coronavirus pandemic.

• Citing the success of the first week of distance learning across the state and the necessity of continuing to implement social distancing measures, Raimondo announced that Rhode Island will continue distance learning through the month of April.

• To ensure that all R.I. students have access to wireless internet necessary for distance learning at home, the governor announced that all households that have a smart phone with a WiFi hot spot feature and have cell phone service from the four most common providers in our state, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, will be able to activate the hot spot feature for free. There will be no activation fee, no usage fee, and no overage fee. This policy will last until at least May 13.

• The governor is asking students to read every single day in the month of April. The state will work with nonprofits, public libraries and some generous companies to distribute books to students who need them. More information is available online.

• This Thursday, April 2, the governor will be joined by Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green and Alexander-Scott for a special press conference for kids. Students can fill out a Google form to submit their questions or leave a voicemail with their questions. Information is being distributed to teachers on the governor’s social media channels.

Alexander-Scott announced Monday that Rhode Island has 114 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island's count to 408. She also announced Rhode Island's fourth death related to the illness, a man in his 70s.

Everyone is urged to keep away from crowds and to maintain distances of six feet from others. Those who have traveled are told to self-quarantine for 14 days.

UPDATED – March 29

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced on Sunday that a third person has died of COVID-19, and that there are an additional 55 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Rhode Island, bringing the state's total of 294. Thirty-five people are now hospitalized with the illness. There were only four hospitalizations as of March 24.

Raimondo estimates that only between 50 and 60 percent of residents are complying with social distancing orders requiring six-foot gaps between people and no gatherings greater than five. She's imploring people to comply with the practices for the sake of others. She's asking Rhode Islanders to write down the names of people they're trying to limit interactions with this week. Offenses are especially prevalent in restaurant takeout lines, she said.

There are three confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island nursing homes.

The governor is immediately suspending licenses for child care centers for one week, saying it's not fair to allow them to keep operating while she's prohibiting gatherings of five people or more.

Also Sunday, Raimondo announced that those on Medicaid currently can stay on it through the entirety of the COVID-19 crisis.

Raimondo is asking everyone to commit to doing some acts of kindness for others during this outbreak, helping everyone get through the situation more easily. She's urging everyone not to panic despite the acceleration of the disease. She says the race is on to get personal protective equipment and ventilators for the coming surge that's expected.

The governor has replaced her previous executive order calling for restrictions on those people coming into the state from New York with one calling for the same enforcement on people from all states.


PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced new restrictions after the state's first two deaths related to COVID-19, including closing non-essential businesses until April 13. But greater testing capacity will hopefully allow a return to some normalcy for the business community within weeks, she said.

The governor said there are now 36 additional cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 239 for the state since the start of the pandemic, though many of those have recovered. There are currently 29 people in the hospital. Raimondo warned that there will be more deaths to come.

Here are the businesses the state is considering essential amid the coronavirus outbreak:

• Food and beverage stores, such as supermarkets; liquor, specialty food, bodega and convenience stores, as well as farmers’ markets, food banks and pantries

• Pharmacies and medical supply stores, compassion centers

• Pet supply stores

• Printing shops, mail and delivery stores and operations, office supply

• Gas stations

• Laundromats

• Electronics and telecommunications stores

• Industrial, construction, agricultural/seafood equipment and supply stores, hardware stores, general power equipment

• Funeral homes

• Auto repair and supply

• Banks and credit unions

• Firearms stores

• Healthcare and public safety professional uniform stores.

Here are the stores deemed non-essential:

• Arts & crafts stores

• Florists

• Furniture stores (by appointment only)

• Car and other motor vehicle dealerships (except for auto repair and by appointment only)

• Music stores

• Billiard stores

• Sporting goods stores

• Home furnishings stores

• Lawn/garden supply stores (agricultural/seafood supply would be allowed to be open)

• Book stores

• Departments stores

• Gift stores

• Beauty supply stores

• Secondhand/consignment stores

• Shoe stores

• Clothing stores

• Jewelry stores

Restaurants and bars may continue to operate only for pickup, drive-through, and delivery according to the governor’s executive order. All critical retail employers are required to implement social distancing and to work from home to the extent possible. Financial services offered by pawn shops and payday lenders would be allowed to continue. In-person retail at pawn shops would be considered non-critical and closed. For stores that are mixed retail and service, general retail with customers coming in and out of your store is not permitted.

For non-critical retail stores, though in-person retail sales are not allowed, retailers may continue to receive and ship orders made by phone or online.

Owners of Stillwater Books in Pawtucket expressed displeasure at being placed on the non-essential list.

"Per Gov. Gina Raimondo's executive order this afternoon, unlike guns and liquor, books have been deemed non essential," stated the company on Facebook. "Therefore we will be closing at 7 p.m. today not to reopen until Monday, April 13. That gives you about two hours to stock-up. Note that all social distancing directives are being strictly observed."

They added, "It's shameful bookstores don't have a better Statehouse lobby."

Raimondo also issued a stay-at-home order, to run through April 13. Residents are mandated to stay at home if they’re not traveling for essential purposes, such as work, getting groceries or other food, getting gas or going to the pharmacy. They can go outside, go for a walk, or to the park if they're complying with distancing guidelines.

Everyone traveling into the state for purposes other than working are ordered to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Raimondo also issued a ban on all groups of five people or more, saying she's still seeing too many people congregating in stores and around the state. The governor estimated that only about half of residents are complying with social distancing orders.

One Rhode Islander in their 80s died Friday, and another in their 70s died Saturday. Both were said to have pre-existing medical conditions.


Gov. Gina Raimondo and Dr. Alexander-Scott on Friday made several announcements about the state's response to the COVID-19 crisis, including 38 additional confirmed cases. This brings Rhode Island’s case count to 203.

Raimondo extended a number of executive orders, including a prohibition on in-person dining at restaurants.

She sounded a sober note to those growing weary of staying at home during the ongoing pandemic, saying it's serious that they don't attend dinner parties or gather with groups of 10 or more people, "period, at any time, this weekend or next week." She said she wishes she had a better solution, but this is how it has to be.

Raimondo says everyone should be proud that only 28 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Rhode Island is not ready for a surge of cases similar to New York or Louisiana, she said, and she urged people to help allow more time to let officials set up the complex system needed to deal with a large increase in cases. She said she won't be willing to open up the state again until that system is in place, with the centerpiece being expansive testing to keep people with positive cases away from the public.

The governor gave huge credit to nursing home staffs, saying it's been "extraordinary" that the state hasn't seen an outbreak in facilities. Separation is going to get harder, she said, noting that she hasn't seen her own mother in weeks.

She added that she plans to make a special announcement Monday on how the state is going to deal with the rest of the school year in Rhode Island. She added that it's been incredible how everyone has handled distance learning for 140,000 schoolchildren. The state decided as a whole that it isn't "going to throw in the towel" on education just because schools are closed, she said.

The following executive orders are extended until April 13:

• All gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited everywhere.

• Anyone who can work from home is required to do so.

• Restaurants, bars and cafes will be closed to dine-in service. They will be allowed to sell wine and beer with take-out orders.

• Public recreation and entertainment businesses (theaters, cinemas, bowling alleys, museums, zoos) as well as all close-contact businesses (hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, gyms, yoga studios) will remain closed.

The following orders are extended to April 25:

• Anyone returning to Rhode Island from domestic or international travel by plane must self-quarantine for 14 days.

• Anyone returning to Rhode Island after traveling to New York state by any mode of transportation must self-quarantine for 14 days.

• Members of the National Guard will be present at TF Green Airport, train stations and bus stops collecting contact information to be shared only with the Department of Health so they can keep track of who they may have been in contact with.

The following orders are extended until May 8:

• Officials have suspended the provision of the Open Meetings Act that prohibits meetings taking place by phone or video conferencing.

• Health insurers must cover telemedicine for primary care, specialty care and mental and behavioral health care.
Gun Permits: In keeping with a request from the RI Police Chiefs’ Association we have extended the time period that law enforcement has to complete a background for a gun permit from 7 days to 30 days.

The governor also made the following updates:

• Casinos are closed indefinitely.

• The Statehouse is closed to visitors indefinitely.

• Nursing homes and hospitals are not allowing visitors until further notice.

• All state-based customer services will remain online only until further notice. The DMV is open by appointment only.

The governor also made several announcements about the SNAP program in Rhode Island. The federal government has given Rhode Island the authority to distribute additional emergency benefits to many SNAP-eligible Rhode Islanders for as long as the state is in a declared state of emergency. Approximately half of all SNAP recipients will receive additional funds, which will be first administered on April 1. The state is also delaying the recertification deadline for families who receive SNAP or cash assistance. Rhode Islanders who were due to reapply in March or April will be given a six-month extension to ensure continuation of their benefits during this crisis.

Rhode Island COVID-19 data is available online.

Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 203
Number of Rhode Islanders who had negative test results: 2,306
Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,500

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

Barrington – 5
Bristol – fewer than 5
Burrillville – fewer than 5
Central Falls – fewer than 5
Charlestown – fewer than 5
Coventry – 5
Cranston – 21
Cumberland – 7
East Greenwich – 0
East Providence – 9
Exeter – 0
Foster – fewer than 5
Glocester – 0
Hopkinton – fewer than 5
Jamestown – fewer than 5
Johnston – 5
Lincoln – fewer than 5
Little Compton – 0
Middletown – 6
Narragansett – fewer than 5
New Shoreham – 0
Newport – 5
North Kingstown – 8
North Providence – fewer than 5
North Smithfield – fewer than 5
Pawtucket – 9
Portsmouth – fewer than 5
Providence – 57
Richmond – 0
Scituate – fewer than 5
Smithfield – fewer than 5
South Kingstown – 8
Tiverton – fewer than 5
Warren – fewer than 5
Warwick – 11
West Greenwich – 0
West Warwick – fewer than 5
Westerly – 5
Woonsocket – fewer than 5

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

28

The number of negative test results increased significantly between yesterday and today because RIDOH is now counting the negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories and at private and hospital laboratories. Outside laboratories do not normally report negative test results to RIDOH. The previous negative totals were only for the State Health Laboratories. The positive and negative totals are now cumulative numbers for all laboratories testing for Rhode Islanders.

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 communities. All Rhode Islanders should continue to take all the COVID-19 precautions that have been shared by RIDOH.