RI surpasses 4,100 COVID-19 cases, 13 more people die
PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE)- The Rhode Island Department of Health announced Friday that 13 more Rhode Island residents have died from COVID-19, and 366 more people tested positive.
That brings the state to 118 deaths and 4,177 cumulative COVID-19 cases.
There are currently 252 people in the hospital with COVID-19 which is an increase of 7 people from the data reported yesterday.
62 of those people are in the ICU and 43 of them are currently on ventilators.
Providence has the most cases with 1,093, with Pawtucket second at 380 cases.
Raimondo began her Friday address with a note of hope. Even as the state’s numbers continue to climb, the governor insisted residents efforts at social distancing were helping to flatten the curve.
“Here’s what I know,” Raimondo said. “It’s not going to last forever. It’s absolutely not going to last forever.”
Raimondo sounded a cautiously optimistic note as she remarked that the state could start seeing a return to “the business of getting back to normal” in a matter of weeks. The governor stressed that reopening the economy would be incremental, and some precautions could be in place for the next year, or until effective treatments and a vaccine are in place.
The governor announced a partnership with Beacon Mutual Insurance Company that will allow front line healthcare workers to file for expedited workers’ compensation “under the presumption that the contracted the virus in the course of doing their job.”
This benefit is in addition to the other emergency benefits guaranteed by state and federal funds, the governor said.
Raimondo sounded a note of encouragement as she displayed the chart introduced yesterday showing two possible projections for hospitalizations over the next three weeks. The governor said Rhode Island was in good shape to meet the required number of hospital beds, with field hospitals in Providence and Cranston coming online soon to meet added capacity at the state’s hospitals.
Hospital capacity has increased by 250 percent, Raimondo said.
The governor acknowledged the efforts of 3,300 additional healthcare workers that signed up to work through the RI Responds website.
On the subject of personal protective equipment, the governor said the state was aiming for a 30-day supply statewide. While currently falling short of that goal, Raimondo said the stockpile of gowns, face shields, and masks was growing, with the help of donations from businesses and civic groups.
Raimondo acknowledged the struggles for PPE faced by frontline healthcare workers, who are forced to reuse equipment, sometimes with less than ideal sterilization methods.
“You are truly the heroes in this fight,” Raimondo said. “Continue to be brave.”
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, head of the Rhode Island Department of Health, outlined steps that the department was taking to increase protective measures for residents of the state’s nursing homes.
Alexander-Scott announced the formation of “strike teams” that will provide on-site testing for staff and residents.
The teams will also ensure that the homes adequate protective gear and are following isolation and quarantine protocols.
Alexander-Scott described a “cyclical testing strategy”– giving tests to staff andresidents every seven to 10 days– regardless of weather they were displaying symptoms or not.
The increased testing should provide more information on how the virus is spreading, and what additional measures are needed to control an outbreak.
©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2020