Governor Gina Raimondo announced Saturday that there were three more COVID-19 related deaths in Rhode Island taking the total to 17 dead. Raimondo also reported 97 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 806. 93 people are currently hospitalized.

Two of the dead were a man and a woman both in their 80s. The woman was a resident of Golden Crest Nursing Home. The man was not a nursing home patient. The third death was a man in his 90s who also was not a resident of a nursing home. Golden Crest now has a total of six deaths.

12 nursing homes in Rhode Island have at least one case.

The are now 120 positive cases associated with nursing homes with eight deaths.

Raimondo spoke to the run on of days and has some suggestions for Rhode Islanders, “You can’t see people, but get creative, have a semblance of routine, and find a way to reach out to people for that human contact that we all need. Take comfort in knowing 1000s of people are working around the clock to keep you & your family safe.”

“Palm Sunday is tomorrow,” Raimondo continued. “All faith communities have closed their physical doors. There should be no church services tomorrow at church. Watch online, TV, participate remotely. There will be no distribution of palms. This virus sticks to surfaces, lives on them for days.”

Raimondo is all encouraging all rhode Islanders with symptoms to seek testing. “Testing is critical. We need to get to a place where everyone who needs/wants to be tested can be. That’s where we need to be. System is now set up to test 1000+ people/day. If you think you have symptoms, call your doc to get tested. We need to catch up.”

Test is most accurate with people who have symptoms. Any Rhode Islander who has symptoms (fever, chills, cough, short of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, vomiting, diarrhea) can now get tested, even w 1 or 2 symptoms. Call PCP or urgent care for test.

Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott said the state is now recommending cloth based face coverings that cover the  nose and the mouth. Dr. Alexander Scott was clear that although a person may be wearing a face covering that doesn’t mean that they are free to go out in public except for essential trips to the grocery store or to the pharmacy. Cloth based coverings should be laundered after each use and dried on high. If you must wear your covering a second time, it’s essential to wash your hands immediately after use.

Faced with a shortage of healthcare workers, Raimondo once again has called on all retired, part time or recent grads with any healthcare background at all to visit to join in the efforts to combat this virus. Many of these positions are paid.