Two more Rhode Island residents have died from the coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 27, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday.
At an afternoon news conference, Raimondo also announced there are now over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 in the state.
Raimondo said there were 160 new cases of the virus since Sunday, for a total of 1,082 cases overall.
"I've said all along these numbers are going to continue to go up. They're not cause for alarm. They are certainly not cause for panic," Raimondo said. "They're very consistent with what we are expecting, and I expect every day for the numbers to continue to increase for many weeks."
While Raimondo stressed the increase is expected, she added, "It's serious, very serious. More people will get sick. More people will die unfortunately. More people will be in the hospital."
More than 100 people are in the hospital, Raimondo said. Health officials said 37 people are in intensive care units, with 26 of those people requiring a ventilator to breathe for them.
Raimondo took the opportunity to remind Rhode Island residents to use a contact tracing journal that could be handed over to the state's Department of Health if and when somone tests positive for COVID-19.
"We have widespread community spread of the virus. Many many many of us are going to get sick," she said. "Please, I'm asking you everybody, get a notebook and at the end of every day write down with whom you've been in contact and where you've been."
Continuing Coronavirus Coverage
Earlier Monday, Gov. Raimondo announced that CVS Health will roll out a free, rapid COVID-19 test at a new drive-through testing site at Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
"Today is a good day in our fight against coronavirus here in the state of Rhode Island," Raimondo said as she began discussing the new testing site during her afternoon press conference.
The testing site, which is by appointment only, is operated by CVS in conjunction with the state of Rhode Island and the Department of Health.
It has the capacity to test 1,000 people per day, meaning the state can now test more than 2,000 people per day.
"Due to this one new site, we have quite literally overnight doubled our testing capacity here in the state of Rhode Island," Raimondo said. "This is a huge announcement."
The test results at the CVS site will be given to people within 15 minutes, Raimondo said. "In fact you will be asked to wait in your car to get your result right then and there," she added.
Raimondo gave the following guidelines for the CVS testing site:
- You do not need to call your doctor. Visit Cvs.com
- Use the online reservation system to book an appointment and then drive to Twin River for the rapid testing when you're told to.
- This is for Rhode Island residents only.
- This site is not for children. You must be 18 years or older.
- The site is intended to be used for people who have to go to work, are essential employees that have to leave their houses.
- This site is for people who have serious symptoms consistent with coronavirus symptoms.
Rhode Island is the first state in America to roll this initiative out, Gov. Raimondo said.
Raimondo said Rhode Island has some of the highest testing per capita in America now and praised CVS, which is headquartered in the state, for being an unbelievable corporate partner citizen.
"Big, big weekend for us. We had a big push, and I'm so grateful to everybody who made it possible. The CVS testing site is a game changer," Raimondo said. "I'm sure other states will follow us."