Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 Friday.
In what she called the first of two rounds of new guidance, Raimondo said the number of people allowed to gather together in social settings had decreased.
"Effective immediately, I'm reducing the social gathering limit from 15 to 10, and I'll be signing an executive order later today to that effect," Raimondo said. "By the way, that needs to be a stable, consistent, closed circle of a maximum of 10. If you could keep it to five, that would be better."
The governor said that not only should people not socialize in a large group, but that they should limit the total number of people they see.
"It does not mean you see nine people Monday and another nine people Tuesday and another nine people Wednesday. Shrink your social network," Raimondo said. "Write down the names of the people you're going to see socially and stick to that group for the next two weeks."
"Even when you're with them, wear your mask," she continued.
Raimondo said activities like working, going to school and grocery shopping are not affected by the guidance.
"The spread is happening on casual, social settings. Not so much in larger, structured environments," she said. "The fact of the matter is, we are just seeing too many parties."
The governor said those social engagements are showing up in contact tracing, and that people being unmasked with their guard down is contributing to the transmission of the virus.
When she spoke on Wednesday, Raimondo said Rhode Island could pump the brakes on the state’s economic recovery plan if the current surge in coronavirus cases continues.
“We’re continuing to trend in the wrong direction,” she said.
The state Department of Health on Thursday reported 351 new confirmed coronavirus cases and four more virus-related deaths. The state has now had more than 32,300 cases and 1,195 fatalities according to the state. The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from more than 198 on Oct. 14 to 403 on Wednesday.
“We’re nearing our own metrics to move back to Phase 2,” Raimondo said Wednesday. “On the trajectory we are on, that could happen in a week or two.”
If the current trends continue, hospitals could get overwhelmed within four to five weeks and the state would have to open field hospitals, she said.
Raimondo said she would give the next round of guidance next Thursday.