PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Four new deaths of people with COVID-19 were reported in Rhode Island Sunday, bringing the state’s death toll to 422.
The number of people in the hospital also dropped again Sunday, to 283, according to data released by the R.I. Department of Health.
Of those who are hospitalized, 70 are in the ICU and and 52 are on a ventilator.
There were 285 new positive cases reported Sunday, the second day of Phase 1 after Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the stay-at-home order on Saturday.
Retail stores were allowed to reopen in Phase 1, with very limited capacity for browsing in stores. Restaurants are expected be allowed to open for outdoor dining by the end of Phase 1, and new guidance for how and when that will start is expected next week.
State officials are closely watching the COVID-19 data for new cases and hospitalizations in order to determine when Phase 2 can start.
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Raimondo did not hold her daily briefing Sunday, instead releasing a pre-taped Mother’s Day message with health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.
She acknowledged that because of COVID-19 restrictions on travel, visitation at nursing homes and gatherings, not everyone would get to see their mothers Sunday.
“We can’t necessarily go see our moms, and we definitely can’t get together in big group family gatherings,” Raimondo said. “But I hope you’ll all find a way to show your mom how much you love her and how much you appreciate her.”
She also wished a happy first Mother’s Day to Dr. Alexander-Scott, who has a 9-month-old son.
“With this being my first one, it wasn’t what I anticipated,” Dr. Alexander-Scott said. “But I’m oh so grateful, nonetheless.”
Raimondo also thanked other mothers in her administration, including Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, Director of Elderly Affairs Rose Jones, Deputy Chief of Staff Lisa Vura-Weis and Department of Human Services Director Courtney Hawkins.
“These are the women who have been working seven days a week, day and night for two months to keep you safe,” Raimondo said. “I am so proud of them and so grateful for them.”
She also thanked all the moms working on the front lines of the crisis as health care workers, grocery store clerks, members of the National Guard and more.
“You’re there for us when we need you, and at the same time you’re there for your families,” Raimondo said. “You are truly heroic and strong and brave, and today we celebrate each and every one of you.”
Moving forward, the governor said she will no longer hold daily briefings on weekends. The weekday briefings will move to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Monday so that reporters can be distanced and ask questions in person again. The news briefings had been held remotely since mid-March.
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