As COVID-19 cases climb, Raimondo says to expect ‘significant changes’ come Friday

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ As the state grapples with what she’s calling a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Gina Raimondo warns that “significant changes” are in store for Rhode Islanders in an effort to keep the positivity rate down.

During her weekly coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Raimondo warned that she will be announcing new mandated restrictions come Friday, but did not specify what that will entail.

“What is happening in the Midwest is coming our way, so the swifter we act, the better off we’ll all be,” Raimondo said. “I learned in the spring. The longer you wait, the harder it is. So I don’t know exactly what it will be, but it will be significant. We have to put a lid on it.”

“The truth of it is, we are out and about too much right now,” she continued. “Too many birthday parties, bridal showers, social gatherings, play dates, hanging out with friends…In our contact-tracing a few months ago people had a few contacts ─ now it’s 20. We have to reign it in significantly. It’s not going to be a light touch.”

While she’s still unsure of what “significant changes” will be made, she did tell 12 News reporter Kim Kalunian Thursday that she is not considering a stay-at-home order at this time.

“People need to continue to work and do essential activities,” she said. “Anything not truly essential, we’re going to have to reign it back in. You don’t really need a baby shower with 17 people over. It’s not forever. Then, if we do this now, maybe we can have a nice Christmas and a nice end of the year.”

Raimondo said it is “reasonably likely” that she will be decreasing the size of social gatherings, but did not say by how much.

“The hardest art is the uncertainty and constant need for flexibility,” she said. “Right now, make a list of people you must be with…Limit your interactions to those people. If everyone did that, we’d be fine.”

Raimondo is slated to announce these new restrictions during a news briefing at 1 p.m. Friday. She encouraged everyone to tune in.

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