7 deaths, 106 new cases in RI on final day of Phase 1


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Another seven people have died with COVID-19 in Rhode Island, the R.I. Department of Health announced Sunday.

There were 106 new cases to report out of nearly 4,000 tests performed, the lowest daily positive rate thus far at 2.6%.

There are 206 people in the hospital with the virus, according to the Health Department, a decrease from Saturday. (The Health Department’s hospitalization data is reported with a three-day lag.)

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The latest data comes on the final day of Phase 1 in Rhode Island, with Phase 2 set to begin on Monday with the reopening of a large swath of industries.

Hairdressers, barbers, tattoo parlors, malls, gyms, yoga studios, indoor restaurants, child care facilities and more are among the businesses allowed to reopen Monday, with capacity limits and guidelines. The state is also reopening all beaches (only two are currently open).

Offices are encouraged to keep employees working from home if they can in Phase 2, but those businesses can bring back 33% of their workforce or 15 people in the building, whichever is greater.

Youth sports will also be allowed in Phase 2, in “stable groups” of 15 or fewer. Because the groups have to remain consistent, teams won’t be able to play each other in league games or tournaments.

Twin River’s two casinos are also opening in Phase 2, with an invitation-only pilot starting on June 8. There will only be slot machines (spaced apart) and no table games. Smoking will be banned and masks will be required. The casinos will also close each night for deep cleaning rather than remain open 24/7.

Phase 3 is expected to start in early July, depending on the COVID-19 data during Phase 2.

Ten new testing sites opened in Rhode Island on Friday, at CVS drive-throughs throughout the state. Gov. Gina Raimondo has said she wanted the state to be able to perform 10,000 tests a day by the middle of the summer, more than double the daily tests being done now.

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