Raimondo says RI continues to lead the nation with testing and addresses the reopening of schools

Gina 7 22

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Raimondo spoke to Rhode Islander’s this afternoon saying “by and large we are doing a great job.”

She added that mask wearing is a big part of the reason why R.I. is doing so well.

The governor understands that wearing a mask can be an inconvenience for some, but she addressed those who are complaining to think of all the workers who have had to wear a mask at work for 8 or more hours per day. She said, “we owe to them to wear our masks to keep them, ourselves, and our relatives safe.”

Raimondo announced that R.I. is not doing so well with social gatherings, reminding everyone that a social gathering should be limited to 25 people. She said, “We have to get people back to work; we have to get these kids back to school. The best way to do that is to reduce the prevalence of the virus.”

The governor emphasized that recently contact tracing shows backyard parties are a source of the spread of the virus. Large social gatherings, with people leaving and going elsewhere, is leading to the spreading of the virus to others. At least a dozen cases can be attributed to one backyard gathering.

While the state as a whole has a 2 percent positivity rate, the governor reiterated that people aged 20-29 need to try harder and take more precautions. Recent data reveals that 3.5 percent of cases in R.I. are within this age group of 20-29. She stated the reason for this is not because this age group is more susceptible, but because many are not following the rules and taking precautions. Health risks may not be as severe with this age group, however, if they contact COVID-19 they may spread the virus to others in the community, including the elderly and others who are more susceptible to severe health risk.

Bars in R.I. are not allowed to operate as typical bars during the current reopening phase. Bars can make drinks as long as the drinks are delivered to tables by waitstaff. No one can be seated at a bar with a bartender working. The governor said the state will be cracking down on bar operations this weekend, and bar businesses will be shut down if inspectors find noncompliance.

If inspectors continue to find noncompliance this weekend, the governor will have an announcement next week about changing the rules for how bars may operate.

Testing and receiving test results continues to be an issue across the nation. The governor said she wants to get to a point of receiving test results within 48 hours as a standard. She added that labs are currently overwhelmed throughout the country and not just in R.I.

In an effort to increase testing, Raimondo encourages Rhode Islanders to go out and get tested. The state would like to see over 5 thousand tests per day, but has only been testing around 3 thousand people per day.

Rhode Island continues to remain the leader in testing, having tested an equivalent of 30 percent of the state’s population. Raimondo wants the state to remain the nation’s leader and increase testing as much as possible leading up to the new school year.

The governor’s effort to raise $3 million dollars of private money for undocumented immigrants has been fulfilled. Recipients, who are not eligible for any aid through the government, will receive this money loaded on debit cars to help pay for basic needs, such as food and gas.

Raimondo proudly announced that the new visitation policy at nursing homes is going well. She said, seniors and families were so desperate for this to happen to see family and loved ones.

While it is still challenging for some loved ones to get together, the virtual Community Center of Health and Aging, along with Age Friendly RI, have made it easier for them to visit virtually. $100 thousand dollars in federal grant money will be distributed to nursing homes across the state so they can digitally connect patients with their family members.

Last month in June, it was announced that the goal for R.I. students and teachers was to begin in-person learning on August 31. School districts were asked to develop multiple plans, full in-person return, full distance learning and a hybrid plan to submit to the state for review.

Every school district submitted their plans by the deadline of July 17. Raimondo stated that the plans were of “varying quality levels.” Some school districts clearly worked overtime coming up with creative ways to learn, while other plans were good, but still need guidance to be acceptable.

The governor addressed fear mongering and misinformation circulating throughout the state. There has been talk about the risk to kids going back to school for in-person learning this fall. She added that she was disturbed by the Trump Administration’s announcement last week saying they wouldn’t let science get in the way of returning to school.

The governor firmly stated to not let anyone scare you, because we are going to follow the science here in R.I. She wants to ready schools, buses, and communities for in-person learning, stating that kids are most likely safer in school than not. She students are in need of social, emotional, intellectual, and nutritional help right now. She added that science will guide all of these decisions.

Beginning Thursday, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green will join Governor Raimondo every week at 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays to address schools on the governor’s Facebook page. Parents can also sign up for a special email, which will be sent out every Friday specifically regarding updates for school plans this fall.

Rhode Islander’s were reminded by Raimondo to pay attention to facts, not frenzy. “We owe it to our kids and the teachers to get them all back to school safely.”

Wednesday, RIDOH reported 1 new COVID-19 related death and 76 new cases. Currently 67 people are hospitalized for the virus, 5 are in the ICU and 3 are on a ventilator.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 997 deaths in Rhode Island and 18,062 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Categories: Back to School, Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island