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RI Leads the Nation in COVID-19 Testing: Summary of the governor’s June 8 press conference

Governor Gina Raimondo and DOH director Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott gave the COVID-19 press briefing today at 1pm.

The governor today said Rhode Island’s COVID data was still trending in the right direction. DOH reports 51 new cases since yesterday. The Ocean State has the highest rate of testing per capita in the nation, with 15% of the total population tested. For comparison, the average for other states 5.5%. There are 146 people are in the hospital, 28 of those are in the ICU and 20 people are on ventilators. There have been 27 new deaths since Friday — 10 since yesterday, seven on Sunday and 10 on Saturday. Two people were in their 60s, seven in their 70s, nine in their 80s, eight in their 90s, and one person was older than 100.

The governor announced version 1.5 of the Crush COVID app was rolled out as of this morning. The update makes the app easier to work on Android systems. Ramindo stated the full Version 2.0 of the app would roll out by the end of the month.

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Raimondo today also announced the state would start testing smarter. Starting today, close contact workers can schedule a free COVID-19 test at any of the National Guard sites in Rhode Island. The state is looking to test 900 people a day who might be asymptomatic. These close contact workers include but are not limited to: hair stylists, barbers, nail salon workers, gym employees, tanning salon workers, tattoo artists and massage therapists. Raimondo stated it was to give Rhode Islanders the confidence that going out to eat, shopping and getting their hair done was now safe.

The governor and Dr. Alexander-Scott today also gave advice to the tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders who attended protests over the last week. She noted the protests were peaceful for the most part and she was wrong to step into the crowd without a mask as she did on Friday night. The governor said she and her family, as well as Dr. Alexander-Scott and DOH workers attending the protest, would get tested later in the week. The governor said testing was most effective three to seven days after exposure. Dr. Scott encouraged any attendees of the event to minimize social interaction, avoid sharing food or drink and monitor their symptoms. The governor said she was pleased with the behavior about the protests and DOH presence there, but remains wary of seeing a spike. 

Raimondo, when asked today, declined to support efforts spreading around the nation to defund the police. When asked by Steve Ahlquist of Uprise RI whether she would reallocate money toward other social services, the governor also declined, but said she would rather fund those services more.

The next press conference is on Wednesday at 1pm. Press conferences from here on out are three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Motif will have our summary of the governor’s comments and answers later that day. You can watch the press briefings live on Capitol TV, Facebook Live or local news.

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