Governor Gina Raimondo and DOH director Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott gave the COVID press briefing today at 1pm.
The data for today is as follows: 101 new cases, 188 hospitalized, 48 of those in the ICU and 31 people on ventilators. Testing in Rhode Island has seen a positive rate of less than 5% the past few days. There were 12 new deaths to report today, bringing the Ocean State’s total to 732. Four people who died since yesterday were in their 70s, two in their 80s and six in their 90s. Nursing homes make up 76% of the total COVID-related fatalities in RI.
Much of the questions today from the press were about the attack on Providence last night. The governor was asked if state officials knew about the planned violence last night downtown, why wasn’t the National Guard activated sooner? Raimondo responded it was a difficult decision, saying “You can’t send in the National Guard every time you get a tip there might be a social gathering.”
Raimondo emphasized the police presence at the mall last night. Her differing view is that they arrested almost 70 people out of the hundreds there last night. Compared to Boston, she reasoned, the state was prepared and had success last night. She credited the actions of local law enforcement, as well as the RI state and MA state troopers, in keeping the situation from being worse. Raimondo said that people came from out of state to blow up the mall, torch the State House and much of the capital city.
The governor is prepared to deploy hundreds of additional National Guardsmen in addition to the ones already called up for COVID-related operations. Raimondo said she wasn’t worried about over extending the Guard, that they have plenty of capacity. She stressed people in Rhode Island should feel safe, and that the National Guard will enhance the security presence throughout the Ocean State. The governor announced she would have specific measures to announce vis a vis the National Guard deployment later tonight.
Raimondo today repeated her comments from the earlier morning press briefing that last night’s perpetrators were not the same as the peaceful protesters from Saturday. “They weren’t even pretending to protest,” said the governor. Law enforcement is currently monitoring the situation. As WPRI reports, there is intel to suggest there might be some kind of action at Garden City or Warwick Mall tonight. The governor assured the state of Rhode Island that she would do what it takes to keep Rhode Island safe, sparing no resource. She expects the investigation to be ongoing for some time.
When asked if state officials were worried about an outbreak, Dr. Alexander-Scott answered they were always vigilant about possible outcomes and outbreaks. The governor answered they would have to wait two or three weeks to analyze the data. Even then it would be difficult to tell if a spike was from the Phase 2 reopening or the mass gatherings last night.
As a last note, the governor also announced next week the press conferences would be reduced to three times during the week. They are switching to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule at 1pm. Tomorrow’s press conference is at 2:30pm, with the rest of the week being at 1pm.
You can watch the governor’s press conferences on local news, Facebook Live or Capitol TV. As always Motif will have our summary up sometime later in the day. You can follow our livetweets of the governor’s press events @motifmagri on Twitter.