At Thursday’s coronavirus update, Governor Gina Raimondo have us the latest update as we fight to flatten the curve Here’s the recap:
Rhode Island has eight more coronavirus related deaths, bringing the state total to 43.
We have 277 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the new total of positive cases to 1,727. As of today, there are 160 individuals who have been hospitalized and 45 people are in the intensive care unit.
Currently, Rhode Island is performing over 1800 tests a day (that’s twice as many as Massachusetts and Connecticut) and is continuing to add to our capacity to test even more people. However, at this time, we are only testing people with symptoms for the simple fact that we still don’t have enough tests for everyone.
Governor Raimondo summarized an executive order she signed today in regards to quarantine rules, “If you have been diagnosed with Coronavirus, either by a lab test OR by a doctor who has assessed your symptoms, you cannot leave your house until you no longer have symptoms. You also have to do your best to separate yourself within your house from those who aren’t sick. If you don’t have Coronavirus symptoms but you’ve been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus, you also must quarantine for 14 days.”
In addition, she also emphasized a previous executive order which states that if you are traveling to RI by any means of transportation and are staying here for non-work purposes, you must self-quarantine for 14 days.
She is, this time, enforcing these executive orders by enabling and directing the RIDOH to develop regulations to enforce quarantine as well as civil penalties including a series of fines which have not yet been determined.
Last month Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order postponing the RI primary election to June 2nd and to prepare for a predominantly mail ballot election.
As almost all things are now COVID-19 related, shortly after Wisconsin’s primary election this week, Wisconsin’s Elections Commission announced the discovery of three bins of absentee ballots had never been delivered by the US Postal service. Given Governor Raimondo’s push for mail-in ballots and further support for virtual notarization of absentee ballots, I felt it was a question worth asking.
“Wisconsin’s Elections Commission stated the discovery of 3 tubs of absentee ballots. A 2005 commission found these ballots are the largest source of likely voter fraud. To protect election integrity & voter confidence will you work to reverse mail ballot legislation or require physical notarization?”
Her reply didn’t come as a surprise,
“No. I am not familiar with that so I’m not going to talk about the hypothetical. Let me tell you what I think about this. I am a proponent of moving towards more voting from home and certainly in this election this it is something we need to do, and the Secretary of State, Nellie Gorbea, is taking point on that. I think we need to have safe elections, obviously and any fraud at all cannot be tolerated but we also need to be in the business of removing barriers to vote making it easier for people to vote including enabling people to vote from home.”
It’s amazing how many times Democrats loudly complain about election interference yet when it comes to actually making our elections safe and secure as possible, those concerns somehow are no longer an issue.
Speaking of safety and security for Rhode Islanders I raised another question of concern for those who fought for that very safety and security, our veterans.
On March 30th an employee at the Rhode Island Veteran’s home had tested positive for coronavirus and I had wanted to see if there had been any change.
I can gladly report that as of right now, no other employees at the RI Veterans Home have tested positive for COVID-19 and no residents have tested positive either.
Sadly, many of our veterans already live in their own form of self-isolation. Add to that how we, as a society, have isolated even more in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak now adds to an already heavy burden our warriors have to carry.
Every day we are asked to check in on the most vulnerable members of our society, the elderly and the sick. We need to also look in on our veterans and I needed to find out if someone was.
Social distancing rules specify that Rhode Islanders cannot gather in groups of more than five people and other orders have closed many places. While these orders are meant to help slow the spread of the virus one unfortunate downside is that many of our veterans who attend support groups cannot.
“Governor, due to social distancing regulations many RI Veterans are unable to connect with much needed support groups. Does the admin have any plans to use the same tech that now connects our schools and businesses to help connect our Veterans virtually to get the support they need?”
Governor Raimondo’s Chief of Staff, Brett Smiley took up the question. The answer was “Not at this time,” but he said that he would follow up with me later.
This is a developing story and updates will follow.
Allan Giberti is the host of RI Red Radio on 990WBOB.com. You can listen to Allan live on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7pm Eastern.
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