PROVIDENCE – After announcing 17 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island on Sunday, bringing the total to 83, Gov. Gina Raimondo had tough words for Rhode Islanders who continue to ignore orders to maintain distances between themselves and others.
"I’m going to spell this out: You shouldn’t be visiting anyone in a hospital or nursing home. You shouldn’t be having a dinner party. You shouldn’t be having a large outdoor gathering," she said. "I’m grateful for Rhode Islanders' cooperation so far, but we need to be more aggressive."
Don't panic, said Raimondo, but prepare for the worst.
Though she doesn't want to order a shutdown of the state, said Raimondo, but she could be forced to if people don't make changes to their routines.
"Knock it off," she said to people who continue to go about their business as usual.
She said she will announce new measures on Monday related to domestic travel into Rhode Island.
The governor reiterated that Rhode Islanders must avoid any non-essential gathering, and no gatherings should have more than 10 people.
"These aren't requests, these are directives," she said.
Raimondo signed an executive order directing all recreation and entertainment facilities to close in-person operations. This includes theaters, cinemas, sporting events, bowling alleys and others. The order will also order the closure of any close-contact businesses such as gyms, fitness centers, hair salons and barbershops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors. These businesses must be closed by 5 p.m. Monday.
The governor announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is sending a team to Rhode Island tomorrow to evaluate existing facilities for their potential as alternate care locations. She emphasized that she is working to ensure this does not become necessary, but is continuing to plan for all possibilities.
The governor also reiterated her call for any business with medical supplies to visit bit.ly/covid19-msd and see how they can help provide assistance to the state’s efforts, and she reminded all Rhode Islanders that tomorrow is the first day of distance learning in all Rhode Island schools.
The 17 people with new cases range in age from their 20s to their 70s. Of these 17, two are hospitalized. RIDOH is investigating each case.
Number of Rhode Island COVID-19 positive (including presumptive positive) cases: 83
Bristol County: 6
Kent County: 7
Newport County: 9
Providence County: 52
Washington County: 9
Number of people who had negative test results: 932
Number of people for whom tests are pending: 216
Number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island: approximately 2,750
Key messages for the public:
Anyone who has traveled anywhere internationally in the last 14 days must 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 at least March 30, 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 the CDC.
People who think they have COVID-19 should call their health provider. These people should not go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency). Health providers have a dedicated number that they are then using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
Early information suggests that older adults are twice as likely to experience serious COVID-19 illness. The 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 the RIDOH has available to the public. The hotline will be staffed this weekend from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. (After hours, people are 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.