Support for small businesses, new testing sites announced

Support for small businesses, new testing sites announced

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, provided an update on Wednesday on Rhode Island’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

• Small business support: The state will be distributing 500,000 masks and disinfectant solution to Rhode Island businesses through chambers of commerce and industry associations. These supplies will be available to small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, including retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, manufacturers, and others. Starting next week, businesses will be able to pick up a month’s supply of face coverings as well as a voucher for a gallon of disinfectant that can be purchased from any Rhode Island Ocean State Job Lot store. To obtain these supplies, businesses must show they’ve completed their COVID-19 Control Plan. Templates are available on ReopeningRI.com. For more information about supplies and to find a list of participating chambers and business associations, visit CommerceRI.com.

• Laptops: Thanks to a donation from the Microsoft Corporation, Commerce RI will be distributing 500 laptops to Rhode Island small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The state will prioritize small businesses that are owned by people of color, women, veterans, or lower/moderate income individuals. Applications are available on CommerceRI.com in both English and Spanish and are due on May 26. Additionally, Microsoft has donated another 500 new laptops to support the state’s education needs. These laptops will go to schools and districts with an identified need for devices, as well as to Rhode Island College, and to support adult learners.

• New testing sites: This week, the state launched a new testing site at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence and tripled the testing capacity in Woonsocket. The governor also announced that the state has added two more locations to do diagnostic testing and serology testing on randomly selected Rhode Islanders to help gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. Both of these locations are in Providence (on Manton Ave and West River Street). They are in addition to the four original locations in North Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, and Newport. These sites are only open to Rhode Islanders who have received a written invitation from RIDOH.

COVID-19 Data Update:
RIDOH announced 221 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing Rhode Island’s case count to 11,835. RIDOH also announced 18 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities was 462 as of Wednesday. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online at https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-data-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com .