Rhode Island

13 More Rhode Islanders Die of Coronavirus

The number of Rhode Islanders who have tested positive for coronavirus as of Friday is 4,177, according to the state's new data tracker

The number of Rhode Islanders who have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, rose to 118 on Friday, according to the state's new data tracker. That's an increase of 13 people from Thursday.

The number of residents who have tested positive for coronavirus is 4,177, an increase of 366 from Thursday.

There are currently 252 patients hospitalized with 62 of those people in the ICU and 43 on ventilators, according to the data tracker.

Of the 30,761 people who have been tested for COVID-19 in Rhode Island, 26,584 cases have come back negative.

During her Friday news briefing at the State House, Gov. Gina Raimondo said the state was "headed in the right direction" despite the increase in deaths and positive cases. She said residents were doing a good job at social distancing and asked them to "hang in there" until the extension of the May 8 stay-at-home order.

"I hope that soon we can turn the corner and get on the downswing," Raimondo said.

The governor said her team has been working with Rhode Island hospitals for weeks to prepare for a possible surge in cases and have increased their capacity by 250%.

Field hospitals with the capacity to hold 1,200 beds will be available in a couple of weeks in Cranston and at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Raimondo said.

The governor talked about personal protective equipment and the state's goal is to have a 30-day supply on hand. She said the supply is not there yet but officials are working towards that goal within another week or so.

Raimondo thanked the more than 3,300 part-time and retired health care professionals who have already signed up to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, as more help is needed, anyone else looking to assist can sign up on the Rhode Island Department of Health website.

Also speaking at the Friday news conference was Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, the state Department of Health director, who said Rhode Island is working to reduce the amount of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. Part of the state's efforts is to isolate residents once they show symptoms of COVID-19 and to prohibit visits.

Of the 13 new deaths reported Friday, 10 of them were from nursing homes, Alexander-Scott said.

Raimondo is urging residents to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines to keep the number of coronavirus cases in the state at the lower end of her administration's projections.

During her Thursday news briefing at the State House, Raimondo said that according to the best estimates, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations will peak around May 3 at 2,250 hospitalized cases and 2,000 deaths through October.

If residents relax their compliance with social distancing guidelines, the hospitalizations are projected to peak around April 27, and the state will need 4,300 hospital beds and 4,000 will die through October.

The governor issued an executive order earlier in the week requiring all employees at retail businesses in the state to wear masks. Raimondo said businesses must provide masks to employees who do not have them and checks will be made by state officials.

NBC10 Boston and Associated Press
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