Governor details metrics for moving between phases of reopening

Governor details metrics for moving between phases of reopening

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

Raimondo laid out four different metrics, in addition to the state’s operational response, that officials are tracking as they consider moving between phases of reopening.

• Hospital capacity: If the state continues to see less than 70% of ICU and non-ICU beds filled by COVID-19 patients, that is an indicator that it is safe to continue moving forward. However, if 85% or more of these beds are filled, either in overall hospital capacity or specifically in the ICU, it may be time to scale back.

• Hospitalizations: Right now, Rhode Island is consistently seeing fewer than 30 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations per day. If that trend continues, that is an indicator that reopening can move forward. But if that number is consistently above 50, it may signal a need to go back.

• Rate of spread: This is measured using the “R value,” or the “effective reproduction rate.” This is how many people are infected by each infected person. If the R value continues to be around 1.1 or lower, then it will be safe to think about moving into the next phase. If the R value gets to 1.3 or higher, Rhode Island may have to move back a phase.

• Doubling rate of current hospitalizations: Currently, hospitalizations are stable or declining. If the state starts seeing a doubling within 20 days or less, that will be an indicator that it may be time to put restrictions back in place.

Raimondo also announced that she will be holding an Older Adults Facebook Town Hall on Thursday, May 21, at 11 a.m., with Secretary Lance Robertson, the U.S. assistant secretary for Aging; Secretary Womazetta Jones of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services; Office of Healthy Aging Director Rose Jones; and several community advocates. Older adults and caregivers can submit questions through the governor’s Facebook and Twitter pages or by writing to communications@governor.ri.gov .

COVID-19 Data Update:
RIDOH announced 203 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing Rhode Island’s case count to 12,219. RIDOH also announced 11 new COVID-19 associated fatalities. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities was 479 as of Friday. A full data summary for Rhode Island is posted online at https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-data-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com .

Key messages for the public:
• Anyone who is sick should stay home and self-isolate (unless going out for testing or health care).
• The people who live with that person and who have been in direct close contact with that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day that that person was in isolation. Direct close contact means being within approximately 6 feet of a person for a prolonged period.
• Help is available for people living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. Visit www.RIDelivers.com for connections to groceries, home supplies, restaurants, and mutual aid groups. People can also call 2-1-1.
• When people are in public, they should wear a cloth face covering. A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves, T-shirts, or bandanas.
• Groups of more than five people should not be gathering. Always avoid close personal contact with other people in public.
• People who think they have COVID-19 should call their health care provider. Do not go directly to a health care facility without first calling a health care provider (unless you are experiencing a medical emergency).
• 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.
• 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.
• Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
• Stay home and do not leave your house if you are sick, unless it is for emergency medical care.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.