PROVIDENCE – Gov. Gina M. Raimondo cited increased noncompliance at beaches by visitors of state COVID-19 mandates on Thursday during her coronavirus briefing on Friday afternoon.
In particular, the governor called on Misquamicut Beach, which had congregations during high tide and a lack of face masks being worn.
“We saw a lot of people piling into cars with 8-10 people,” said Raimondo, who urged visitors to make good choices when going to beaches.
When mentioning other states that have had to close their beaches because a lack of social distancing and face masks, which resulted in a spike of new COVID-19 cases in those states, Raimondo said, “Of course I would [close the beaches again], but I don’t want to.”
The second version of the Crush COVID RI app was released with additional updates and is ready to download. Raimondo said nearly 60,000 Rhode Islanders have downloaded the app so far, and she urged for another 40,000 residents to download to help their own contact tracing.
The app’s upgrades include being able to add notes to the location diary feature, where a user can type in who they were in contact with manually, and write the name of the business or person’s house they were, instead of just a raw address.
In addition, users can now have a record of symptoms for 20 days in the app. Testing locations have also been uploaded onto the map, including asymptomatic testing centers.
“The best way to keep yourselves informed is to download the app,” said Raimondo, who outlined that there is an additional link for resources and new efforts that have been introduced. “This is a one-stop place to go.”
The second version will also be available in Portuguese, where it originally was only available in English and Spanish.
“What we haven’t changed is our commitment to privacy,” said Raimondo, referencing the privacy concerns that Rhode Islanders have raised regarding the app. “It’s for you to use to manage your lives safely.”
The governor said the location diary will never be shared with the R.I. Department of Health unless the user grants them permission after they have tested positive.
The governor’s briefing comes as cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island increased by 45 on Thursday, totaling 17,312 to date, the R.I. Department of Health said Friday.
The three-day average of positive COVID-19 tests in the state was 49.
Deaths due to the virus increased by two day to day to 976.
“We continue to lose lives every day,” said Raimondo as she outlined that Rhode Island is one of very few states that are seeing declines in new cases and deaths.
The state conducted 3,247 tests on Thursday with a 1.4% positive rate.
Current hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients totaled 61, an increase from 55 one day prior. Of those hospitalized, four were in intensive care units and five were on ventilators. The three-day average of hospitalizations was 59.
“I am leading with confidence,” said Raimondo of Rhode Islanders following the rules to keep hospitalizations down. However, she warned that if residents become too relaxed with health restrictions, such as congregations and lack of face masks, then hospitalizations could go up. “It’s simple steps.”
Starting next week, the governor will be condensing her press conferences to once a week, on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. She said this is subject to change in August when there will be additional information about the reopening of schools.
This story has been updated to include information from the governor’s press conference.
Want to share this story? Click Here to purchase a link that allows anyone to read it on any device whether or not they are a subscriber.