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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Rhode Island under a “State of Emergency”

Governor makes declaration as coronavirus spreads
By Will Collette

No, there aren’t any National Guard troops stationed outside your window. But the March 9  State of Emergency declaration by Gov. Gina Raimondo would make it easier for her to mobilize the Guard in case the coronavirus gets out of control in Rhode Island.

Of more immediate value, the declaration has led to a substantial step to allow workers some help if they lose time at work because of illness or a company closure due to the outbreak. 

Workers can apply for unemployment compensation or Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) without the usual 7 day wait period and on self-declaration of illness.

While this will not provide the same amount of income as mandatory paid sick leave – the best way to allow workers who feel ill to stay home and not infect others – it’s a big step in the right direction.

So far, the highest death toll from coronavirus is among older people with pre-existing conditions. Persons in their 70s and 80s with conditions like lung cancer, diabetes, heart disease and COPD face death rates of up to 15-20%.

This makes nursing homes particular hot spots. Thus nursing homes are now being told to:
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  • Limit visiting hours
  • Actively screen all visitors, staff, vendors and others for their state of health or recent travel activity
  • Not admit visitors under 18 or those who have been ill or have traveled internationally within the past two weeks.
  • Exceptions can be made, case by case, for special circumstances.
The Lifespan hospital chain (Rhode Island, Miriam, Newport, Bradley) are suspending virtually all patient visitation. Other hospitals are also imposing restrictions.


The Rhode Island General Assembly is implementing a system to allow people to submit testimony electronically. For the Senate, you can use slegislation@rilegislature.gov.

For the House, send an e-mail to the clerk of the committee handling the legislation that interests you.

What we know so far

Rhode Island’s numbers are still very low, with only 3 confirmed cases (as of March 9th). But the numbers can change quickly.

We can see the way the numbers worldwide are trending. Since the first public knowledge of COVID-19 in China, the disease has spread to more than 100 countries and to two-thirds of the US.

But so far, it has not spread as widely or as quickly as the flu, largely due to emergency containment measures.

COVID-19 is not the flu even though it shares some of flu’s symptoms. One major difference is that COVID-19 seems to kill a higher percentage of people than flu so slowing down its spread is pretty important.

Image may contain: 2 people, possible text that says 'Chattanenga Bemиe PROTECT YOURSELF & OTHERS from Coronavirus MUTE WASH AVOID COUGH HANDS TOUCHING INTO OFTEN. FACE SLEEVE DON'T LISTEN TO TRUMP'
Progressive Charlestown has published a number of articles on COVID-19 articles lately focusing primarily on common sense things you should do, such as:
  • Wash your hands a lot
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home if you are sick (and you now may be able to get state help with lost income)
  • Stay off cruise ships
  • Curtail nursing home and hospital visits
  • Stay informed but don’t be obsessive about it
  • Keep essential supplies and medicines on hand, enough to cover you if there should be a 2-week lock-down, but don’t hoard
  • Do not, repeat, do not listen to anything Donald Trump has to say about this outbreak.