2 New Coronavirus Deaths in RI, 711 Total Cases

The state said nursing homes remain a problem area, with dozens of cases and at least seven deaths reported

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday that two more people in the state have died from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 14.

Fifty-four new COVID-19 cases were announced, for a total of 711. Seventy-two of them are currently hospitalized.

"We know we are in a rapid spread scenario here in Rhode Island. What that means is we have got to get even more serious about the rules we have in place around social distancing, staying at home, absolutely staying at home if you're sick, obeying quarantine and washing hands," Raimondo said. "These sounds simple, but they are life saving and I need us all to do better."

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo held a special press conference answering questions submitted by kids.

She said data shows that Rhode Islanders still are not following the rules enough and are not following social distancing guidelines as well as their neighbors in Massachusetts or the national average.

Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the state's Department of Public Health, said one of the major areas of concern continues to be nursing home facilities. Dozens of cases and at least seven deaths have been reported at facilities across the state.

Raimodo also said the state still needs more retired and part-time doctors, nurses and healthcare workers to step up to help during the coronavirus crisis. She said anyone who qualifies can go to

"We can't do this without you," the governor said.

White House Coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx discusses the positive tests rates in states across the country.

Rhode Island officials also said they are now recommending that residents wear cloth masks in public even if they don't have symptoms. This is a reversal from previous advice saying this was not necessary or helpful.

Wearing a cloth mask would not prevent the wearer from getting the virus, but could help keep asymptomatic people with coronavirus from spreading it.

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