During her daily press briefing today, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced 38 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state to a total of 203 cases. Although this is the highest number of new cases Rhode Island has seen in one day to date, Raimondo assured Rhode Islanders that the state is working diligently.
“We continue to be a half step ahead of the virus,” Raimondo said, adding that the plans in Rhode Island seem to be “coming together.”
“Our plans are stronger today than they were yesterday,” she said.
Out of the 203 positive cases in Rhode Island, 28 people are hospitalized and 11 of those people are in the intensive care unit.
Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Alexander-Scott emphasized today that there are still additional cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island not included in those numbers, and the positive cases being shared are based on the “priority cases” that have been tested. More positives are likely to come from an increased testing capacity.
In addition, Raimondo announced a new, harsh approach the state will be taking in an effort to “pinpoint” at-risk groups of people–specifically those coming to Rhode Island from New York, a concern of many year-round Rhode Island residents who have seen a recent uptick in visitors.
“As we go forward in the coming weeks and months the way we fight this virus is going to change a little,” she said.“Right now, we have a pinpointed risk that we need to address, and that is people coming from New York.”
As part of that “aggressive” approach, starting today at noon State Police began monitoring highways and will be pulling over drivers with New York plates, asking for contact information and ordering anyone who has arrived recently into quarantine. In addition, beginning tomorrow the National Guard will be going door-to-door in coastal communities in an attempt to enforce quarantines for people coming from New York.
“I know this is unusual, I know it’s extreme, and I know some people don’t agree with it,” Raimondo said. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think it was necessary. What we’re saying is, if you want to seek refuge in Rhode Island, you must quarantine.”
“That’s a law, that’s an order. It comes with penalties, it’s not a suggestion,” she added.
Raimondo went on to go over each Executive Order that has been issued by the state since the first COVID-19 cases in early March, giving each a new extension date.
Raimondo extended the following Executive Orders to April 13:
-Any gathering of more than 10 people is prohibited in any venue, indoors or outdoors.
-Anyone who can work from home is required to do so.
-Restaurant, bars, cafes, and coffee shops will remain closed to in-house dining.
-Public recreation and entertainment businesses and close contact businesses ordered to stay closed
Raimondo extended the following Executive Orders to April 25:
-Anyone returning to Rhode Island from a domestic or international flight must self quarantine for 14 days.
-Anyone returning to Rhode Island after traveling from New York to Rhode Island by any mode of transportation must quarantine for 14 days.
Raimondo extended the following Executive Orders to May 8:
-Open Meetings Act suspension.
-Health insurers are being directed to cover telemedicine of all kinds.
-Gun permits background checks extended from 7 days to 30 days
The following orders remain in order indefinitely until further notice:
-At this point the casinos will remain closed indefinitely until further notice, the statehouse and nursing homes and hospitals are also closed until further notice.
-State services will remain online only.
-DMV will open by appointment only.
Raimondo added that she will make an announcement regarding public schools on Monday, March 30.