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10 more dead, 215 new cases in RI; no daily briefing scheduled for Saturday


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. Department of Health on Saturday announced 10 more people have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 489 in Rhode Island.

The newly reported deaths come on the first weekend Gov. Gina Raimondo and Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott do not have any regularly scheduled news briefings. The daily updates are slated to resume Monday, as state leaders have moved to a new Monday-through-Friday schedule.

In addition to the new deaths, the Health Department announce 215 more people tested positive for the disease, which is slightly more than 203 cases reported a day earlier.

The number of people currently hospitalized increased by one to 273, according to the Health Department, signaling a continued plateau in Rhode Island. The state reported 66 people currently in intensive care units, including 44 people on ventilators.

Raimondo on Friday unveiled four metrics she said public health officials are monitoring during Phase 1 of the reopening plan, which started May 9.

The metrics, including hospital capacity, new hospitalizations, how quickly the disease is spreading and the doubling rate of hospitalizations, will help Raimond determine whether the state is ready to move into Phase 2 — most likely in the beginning of June.

Currently about 30% of the state’s hospital beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, which is a rate the governor said needs to remain below 70% for her to feel confident enough to move the state forward into Phase 2.

“We want to be able to guarantee people have a hospital bed at any time,” Raimondo said.

In addition to the 215 new cases reported Saturday, 3,287 people tested negative, representing a 6.1% positive rate for the day.

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