Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), made several announcements today about the state’s response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

– Courts: The courts have extended their closure for all non-essential business–including residential and commercial evictions–through May 17th.

– Contact tracing: The state has partnered with SalesForce, a global software company, to make the contact tracing process more efficient. SalesForce is creating a secure database that will allow RIDOH and the National Guard to do contact tracing more efficiently and effectively. SalesForce is also creating a platform for physicians to order tests for patients at the National Guard testing sites.

– Job Lot: Starting today, Job Lot is making free fabric available to all Rhode Island residents to make our own fabric face coverings. Every Job Lot has a display set up and they have enough free fabric for 1 million masks.

The Governor reiterated that everyone should wear a cloth face covering when in public. (These are different than medical grade masks, such as N95s, which should be reserved for healthcare workers.) A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. A cloth face cover could be sewn by hand or improvised from household items such as scarves or T-shirts. Cloth face covers are not substitutes for physical distancing, washing your hands, and staying home when ill.

COVID-19 Data Update

Dr. Alexander-Scott announced today that Rhode Island has 220 new cases of COVID-19. This brings Rhode Island’s count to 1,450. RIDOH also announced five additional COVID-19 associated fatalities. Three of these people were in their 70s. One person was in their 80s and one person was in their 90s. Rhode Island’s number of COVID-19 associated fatalities is now 35