PROVIDENCE - Despite saying that Rhode Island is no longer facing the daily crisis that the coronavirus has created over the past three months, Governor Gina Raimondo announced Friday that she is extending her state of emergency declaration until at least July 5.
Raimondo said the declaration won’t remain in place “a minute more than necessary,” but she acknowledged the state needs to take advantage of federal resources as it continues to address the highly contagious disease. She also said she supports President Trump’s decision to extend states’ use of the National Guard until Aug. 21.
“As long as we’re not out of the woods, I will have to keep this in effect,” Raimondo said.
Raimondo also announced she is extending an executive order requiring Rhode Island residents to wear masks until July 4, and another order requiring health insurance companies to cover telehealth-related services until July 5.
The state Department of Health reported Friday that 16 more residents have died from the virus, bringing the total to 772. But Raimondo said she was encouraged by the fact that only 100 more residents tested positive for the disease, despite the state administering 4,400 tests.
“We’re testing thousands of people all over the state, and the test-positive rate is the lowest it’s ever been,” Raimondo said.
Raimondo once again warned those who intend to attend a Black Livers Matter protest in Providence Friday to wear masks and practice social distancing. The health department plans to have employees handing out masks during the protest.
Providence Police, State Police, and the National Guard have been preparing for the possibility that Friday’s rally could turn violent after the city’s 9 p.m. curfew takes effect, but Raimondo said she’s hopeful the event will remain peaceful. She said she has asked law enforcement to remove a barrier to the steps of the State House so that protesters have more access during their rally.