RHODE ISLAND – The Rhode Island National Guard has been fully activated, Gov. Gina Riamondo announced on Friday, to respond to the community spread of novel coronavirus.
"We have been using the National Guard for weeks for drive-through testing but now it's time for more ,so I'm calling on full activation," Raimondo said during her daily press briefing.
Although the governor continues to stress the importance of Rhode Islanders staying home as much as possible and continuing social distancing efforts at this time, she reiterated her comments from Thursday that she has no plans for a state-wide lock-down.
Although other states are adopting shelter-in-place policies due to the pandemic, such as California, Raimondo said Rhode Island has no plans for this.
As we move into the weekend, however, she stresses how critical it is that everyone "hunker down."
"The weekend is a time we like to get together in big crowds, we like to go out, teenagers like to have sleepover," Raimondo said. "Don't do it. This weekend could be the most critical weekend in this entire fight. We are so close to keeping a lid on this."
Ten new cases of COVID-19 were also announced at the press briefing on Friday, bringing the state-wide total to 54 cases.
These people range in age from a pediatric case to a person in their 70s, according to Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott. It's known that one individual from the new group of cases recently traveled to Estonia, and another traveled to New Jersey.
"We are investigating each of these cases," Alexander-Scott said. "All 10 of these people are recovering at home."
There have been 654 people who've tested negative for COVID-19 and 140 people who are still awaiting their results, according to the Department of Health's most recent numbers, published Thursday evening.
During her press briefing, Raimondo also thanked those who responded to her call for assistance to secure additional medical supplies. On Thursday, the governor put a call out to manufacturer and laboratories to help secure swabs and personal protective supplies.
Since making her plea, President Trump has advised all state governor's that it's on them to secure the necessary supplies needed to combat the pandemic.
Currently, Rhode Island is testing between 100 and 200 people a day for for the virus, but is working every to ramp up testing abilities, according to Raimondo.