Gov. Gina Raimondo on Monday said social distancing measures had slowed the spread of the novel coronavirus, even as she reported a spike in cases since the previous day.
"We have slowed the curve and flattened the peak," Raimondo said in a news conference, saying strict social distancing measures were "clearly working."
The remark came despite Raimondo announcing 339 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 5,090. She also announced five new deaths, bringing the death toll to 155.
Meanwhile, Raimondo detailed her administration's plan to reopen the economy, while cautioning the situation remained fluid.
Raimondo said the plan was "overall consistent" with the phased approach laid out by the Trump administration that recommends states gradually loosen social distancing restrictions after seeing a period of sustained decreases in cases.
She laid out a series of questions her administration would use to gauge when to reopen the economy.
- Has the rate of spread continued to decrease?
- Do we have the capacity to quickly identify community spread on an ongoing basis before a major outbreak occurs?
- Do we have necessary supports in place for vulnerable populations, and for anyone in quarantine?
- Does out health care system have the capacity and PPE to handle future surges?
- Do businesses, schools, child care sites, faith organizations and recreational spaces have plans for long-term social distancing?
- Are we prepared to reimpose measures or re-close certain sectors of the economy if it becomes necessary?
The governor warned, however, that life would not resume normally for some time, saying large gatherings would likely not be possible for some time.
Rhode Island is part of a group of East Coast states working with each other to coordinate on reopening the economy in a safe way. Raimondo said it was particularly important to work with Massachusetts, with which its economy is closely tied.
Raimondo has said the virus is expected to peak in the state sometime between the last week of April and the first week of May.
Rhode Island's stay-at-home order is in effect until May 8.