Governor Gina Raimondo, DOH director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and DOA director Brett Smiley gave the COVID press briefing today at 1pm, from The Vets.
Rhode Island COVID cases continue their decline; DOH is reporting only 25 new cases since yesterday. There are 91 people who remain hospitalized for reasons associated with the coronavirus. Sixteen people are in the intensive care unit, and 15 of those people are on ventilators.
Governor Raimondo announced today that Phase 3 guidance would be forthcoming from state leaders starting on Monday. Her executive order for Phase 2 is set to expire Monday night, and if data trends continue to be favorable, Phase 3 will tentatively start Tuesday. Raimondo said today she would be implementing some kind of travel restriction/advisory as Rhode Island reopens and heads into the summer season. She is not considering setting checkpoints up on the highway at the border. Instead she is considering working with airports, businesses that require travel, the train station and realtors for a more subtle approach.
If there was a theme to these press conferences, today’s would have been child health. Childhood immunizations are down by 50%, and the governor spent much of her announcements today advising parents to get out of the house and get their children’s vaccinations up to date. DOH is looking especially at ages younger than 2, ages around f just before entering public school, and ages between 11 and 16. The state is not planning to make vaccinations conditional on attending public school, but is working with schools and school nurses to make sure everyone is up to date.
Rhode Island confirmed its first case of multi-system inflammatory syndrome yesterday. It’s a rare condition in children where different body parts, including the skin, the heart, lungs, kidney, brain, eyes or gastrointestinal organs become inflamed. The case is a girl of school age who has tested positive for COVID-19. According to DOH officials, she is not in the ICU and is recovering well in the hospital.
The state is still falling short in its Housing Works program, where landlords who pledge to rent apartments to residents with vouchers are eligible for signing bonuses. Ramaindo stated today that they are up to 60 pledged units, 40 short of the goal she wanted to be at by July 1. The governor said income discrimination was wrong, and she hoped the legislature passed the bill. The bill banning income discrimination passed the senate and remains still in the house. When asked if the governor would consider an executive order if the income discrimination bill dies in the house, the governor answered she thought it was beyond the scope of her powers.
One hundred homeless Rhode Islanders have been housed in two separate facilities. Director Smiley said today it was to decrease the density of the homeless population for public health reasons. The program is ending next week, and the state has been working toward a solution at both ends, providing rental assistance to homeless folks and financial incentives to landlords.
Next press conference is Monday at 1pm. You can watch it on Capitol TV, Facebook Live and watch our live tweets during the broadcast. Motif will have its summary up later that day.