Gov. Gina Raimondo said Wednesday that she remains hopeful she will be able to lift Rhode Island's stay-at-home order on May 9 if the number of coronavirus cases continue to stay flat or even begin to decline.
"We're not seeing a decline, but we're also not seeing an increase, and that's really good news," she said at her daily press briefing. "It doesn't mean we're out of the woods -- we're seeing a slight uptick in hospitalizations, a slight uptick in ICU -- but it is a plateau. And that's something you should be proud of and feel good about."
If everybody continues to obey the stay-at-home order between now and May 8, and if the numbers continue to trend the way they have for the past week, she said her goal is still to allow the state to enter the first phase of the reopening on May 9.
But Raimondo urged residents not to ease up now, despite the fact that the weather may be improving in the coming days.
"If the weather is nice and people start congregating, the cases will go back up and I will not be allowed to life the stay-at-home order," she said. "And that would really be a shame. Hang in there with me. Buckle down a little bit longer."
The first phase of the reopening will still limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer, expanding to 15 or fewer and eventually even more, but Raimondo said she doesn't imagine large gatherings like Fourth of July parades, music festivals or big weddings will be possible in Rhode Island this summer.
Earlier Wednesday, the state reported 12 additional coronavirus deaths, bringing the total death toll to 251. Health officials also announced 321 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 8,247.
More Coronavirus News
On Tuesday, the governor signed an executive order mandating "burdensome regulations" be relaxed to ensure residents can access affordable health care in a timely manner.
The order prevents insurers from changing the drugs they cover unless the changes benefit the patient, Raimondo said. No increases to out-of-pocket and prescription costs can be made while the order is in place.