Coronavirus Disease 2019 Update No. 10

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), our partners across the State, and national public health officials continue to respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As the situation evolves, we want to make sure that our communities and our healthcare system are prepared. Being informed is an important part of being prepared. For that reason, we intend to send regular Partner Briefings, such as this, to our community partners with updates and key information. Please share this briefing with your colleagues and networks.

COVID-19 Situation Update

Rhode Island Updates:
As of March 23, Rhode Island has 106 cases (including presumptive positive cases). Twenty-three cases were announced on March 23. These cases range in age from their 20s to their 90s.

RIDOH has posted current data online. In addition to the positive cases, 1,120 people had negative test results at RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories, 77 people have tests pending, and approximately 3,000 people have been instructed to self-quarantine in Rhode Island because they had direct contact with a person with COVID-19.


  • Beginning 7 a.m. on March 24, anyone returning to Rhode Island by plane (with the exception of public safety, healthcare professionals, and pilots and crew) must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. Rhode Island residents who work in another state must work from home if possible. Rhode Island businesses with employees who are residents of another state must make every attempt to let those employees work from home. The related press release can be found here.


  • On March 23, the Governor signed an executive order moving the date of Rhode Island primary to June 2 for what will likely be a primarily mail ballot election. The related press release can be found here.


  • State courts will not process any residential or commercial evictions for thirty days (starting March 19, 2020). Payment and filing deadlines have also been extended past April 17. Public housing residents with questions can contact Rhode Island Legal Services at 274-2652 x123. Tenants in private rental housing can call the Rhode Island Center for Justice at 401-491-1101. The related press release can be found here.
  • Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management reminds Rhode Islanders to dispose of all disinfectant wipes in the trash, including those labeled “flushable.” There have been reports of damaged pump stations and overwhelmed screening facilities in wastewater collection and treatment systems as a result of flushing disinfectant wipes. The related press release can be found here.

RI Response to COVID-19

  • All gatherings of more than ten people in public and private spaces are prohibited. The related Executive Order can be found here.
  • Governor Gina M. Raimondo activated the Rhode Island National Guard on March 20, 2020. This allows 1,000 Guardsmen and Guardswomen to train civilian medical personnel, staff call centers, distribute food and necessities to the most vulnerable, and perform a number of other critical functions. The related press release can be found here.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers sent a team to Rhode Island to evaluate existing facilities for their potential as alternate care locations. The related press release can be found here.


  • Starting March 23 through April 3, all public K through 12 schools will be conducting distance learning in Rhode Island. The related press release can be found here.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Education has been working with local school districts to make “grab and go” meals available to students while schools are closed. To find the pick-up location closest to you, please visit the Food Sites for Children page on RIDOH’s website.
  • Child care providers have been advised to close. RIDOH is working with child care providers on a case-by-case basis to support those that remain open to do so safely. The related press release can be found here.

Businesses and Consumers

  • By 5 p.m. March 23, 2020, all recreational and entertainment businesses, as well as any close contact businesses (this includes but is not limited to gyms, fitness centers, hair salons, and nail salons) must be closed to in-person operations.
  • On March 20, 2020, Governor Raimondo signed an Executive Order allowing restaurants and bars in Rhode Island to include wine and beer with their to-go orders. The related press release can be found here.
  • On March 20, 2020, Governor Raimondo signed an Executive Order extending from seven to thirty days the time period in which police departments can conduct background checks for firearm purchases. The related press release can be found here.
  • If you are a business with, or manufacturer of, medical supplies and are able to donate supplies to the State’s efforts, please visit to see how you can help.

What you can do

  • If you think you have COVID-19, call your healthcare provider. Healthcare providers have a dedicated number that they are using to consult with RIDOH on potential COVID-19 cases.
  • Protect yourself:
    • Please keep in mind that most people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean (remove dirt, dust, soil, organic matter) and disinfect (using a chemical product to kill pathogens) frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Protect your community:
    • Stay at home if you are sick.
    • Avoid large crowds.
    • If you are at a mass gathering, public event, or religious service, consider waving instead of shaking hands. Do not share chalices, cups, or glasses.
    • Call first. If you are concerned that you may be sick with COVID-19, call your healthcare provider before going to the facility.
    • CDC recommends that facemasks and other protective equipment be reserved for those who are ill and the healthcare workers who are caring for them.
  • RIDOH has activated an information line for COVID-19. For general COVID-19 questions, please call 401-222-8022 or email
  • For clinical questions about COVID-19, please email
  • For COVID-19 information and employment questions, please call the Department of Labor and Training at 401-462-2020, or email
  • People experiencing a behavioral health crisis can call BH Link at 401-414-5465.
  • Remember to only call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
    • When should someone call 9-1-1?
      • If you see smoke or fire.
      • When someone’s life is threatened or in danger.
      • When someone faints or collapses.
      • When someone has persistent chest pains.
      • When someone has difficulty breathing.
      • When someone has slurred speech or any paralysis.
      • When someone’s face is drooping, or when they seem altered, incoherent or confused.
      • When there is a traffic collision with an injury.
      • Where there are wires down on the ground or street.


Please contact RIDOH Infectious Disease Communications Coordinator Aaron Frechette ( or 401-222-7624 for assistance with educational materials and communication resources. To be added to this distribution list to receive future communications, email Anna Tomasulo ( Please contact the RIDOH COVID-19 Information Line at 401-222-8022, or email, with any other questions.

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