RHODE ISLAND – From now on, when Rhode Islanders tune into Gov. Gina Raimondo's daily press conferences, they'll be able to view a data dashboard with the latest COVID-19 numbers.
The dashboard, developed using data from the Rhode Island Department of Health, shows views the number of positive cases and fatalities, as well as the number of people who've tested negative.
"I hope Rhode Islanders will feel a little relief when you look at that," Raimondo said. While there are many new cases reported each day, currently, there are more than 22,000 people have tested negative. "The numbers are going up, and that's not a great feeling – but on the other hand, it's there, it's the facts."
"From the beginning, we've said 'facts not frenzy,'" she added. "I'm trying to do our part to make sure you have those good facts."
According to dashboard data, as of Wednesday afternoon, there are 278 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state-wide total number of cases to 3,529. There are also 7 new fatalities. As of now, there have been 87 COVID-19-related deaths in Rhode Island.
Staying in and staying home is absolutely saving lives, Raimondo said, but the isolation and need for quarantining during this epidemic can be extremely lonely for many people.
For those who are working on the front lines of the pandemic and are afraid to come home to their families, or who have possibly lost their homes, Raimondo announced that Wyndham Hotel in Warwick will be offering deep discounted rates on rooms.
For those who are stuck at home and maybe living alone during the pandemic, Raimondo also announced the launch of Project HELLO. The volunteer effort aims to connect older adults who may be alone, and in need of socialization, with community members eager to take their call. Already, more than 100 Rhode Islanders have signed onto the initiative, according to Raimondo.
Currently, more than 6000 Rhode Islanders in quarantine.
To help those in the hospital and in long-term care facilities connect with their loved one, the governor shared that Kaya Suner, 19, of Providence, partnered with the Rhode Island Medical Society to developed COVID Connectors.
The website asks Rhode Islanders to donate their old, gently used tablets or phones with Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceBook Messenger capabilities so that patients can stay connected with family and friends that can't be there.
Already, Amazon has donated 540 tablets to help with this effort, according to Raimondo.
"Three weeks ago, we had no infurstucture for quarantining and isolation," she said. "Now, we've commondeered a hotel, we have 6,000 people in quarantining, we're delivering 50,000 meals a day, and we have Project HELLO, with more than 100 volunteers checking in on our seniors to make sure they don't get lonely."
Over the coming days and weeks, Raimondo hopes to make these service efforts more robust.