coronavirus in new england

Coronavirus in RI: 11 New Deaths, Total Cases Reach 7,439

Gov. Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to prioritize mental health in a news conference

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Rhode Island health officials on Sunday reported 11 deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the state's death toll 226.

The fatal cases were comprised of a person in their 50s, four in their 70s, a person in their 80s and five in their 90s, officials said.

The state also reported 310 new cases, bringing the total to 7,439.

The number of new cases was down from the previous day's 430, prompting Gov. Gina Raimondo to express cautious optimism that social distancing efforts were having a positive impact.

It was a "good day in the fight against the coronavirus," Raimondo said.

In a news conference, the governor emphasized the importance of maintaining mental health during the crisis.

The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Rhode Island increased to six on Friday, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo. The governor also discussed the latest on the state's unemployment benefits.

Dealing with mental issues is "tough on a good day, much tougher when we deal with the added anxiety" amid the pandemic, she said.

"If you're feeling like you're not okay, I want you to reach out," Raimondo said, adding that those with addiction issues and economic hardships were among those who should reach out for help if they need it.

Insurance companies must cover phone and video calls to mental health professionals as if they were in-person visits, she said.

Adults who need to speak with someone can call 401-414-LINK. Children seeking help, as well as their parents who may have questions about their children, should call 855-543-5465.

Meanwhile, Raimondo urged small business owners to access loans through the Payroll Protection Program.

Owners should contact their bankers to access the funds, Raimondo said. Those who do not have an existing relationship with a banker can seek help by emailing

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a coronavirus relief package into law that includes $310 billion in new funds for the PPP, which provides small business loans that can be forgiven if used for wages, benefits, rent and utilities.

Raimondo has been increasing availability to tests in Rhode Island for weeks and said Friday the state plans to increase mobile and walk-up testing sites in communities across the state.

Though Rhode Island has been praised for testing more people per capita than any other state, there is a need for more testing in harder-hit neighborhoods, she said. Next week, walk-up diagnostic testing sites will open in densely populated neighborhoods and places where many residents do not have cars.

Raimondo also announced that rent assistance will be made available for low-income residents of the Ocean State. That will start next Thursday.

The state's stay at home order remains in effect until May 8 as cases continue to rise in the state.

NBC/Associated Press
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