Mar 27, 2020

By Michael McDermott
Journal Managing Editor

Posted Mar 27, 2020 at 4:30 PM

Good afternoon and welcome to This Just In. I’m Mike McDermott, managing editor of The Providence Journal. Today is March 27; happy 73rd birthday to Warwick native and former Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg.

Here is the latest on the coronavirus crisis in Rhode Island:

  • Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that 38 new cases of coronavirus have been identified in the state since Thursday, bringing the total since the start of the month to 203. The governor extended several of her executive orders — including the one closing dine-in service at restaurants and bars, and the one banning gatherings of 10 or more people — to April 13. Twenty-eight people with coronavirus are in Rhode Island hospitals, 11 of them are in intensive care and seven are on ventilators.
  • The governor also announced that the National Guard troops and local law enforcement will be going door-to-door in coastal communities starting tomorrow looking for New York residents. She has ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine for 14 days, and the state police began seeking vehicles with New York plates today.
  • Lifespan has just two weeks worth of N95 masks left, and staff have been instructed to curtail their use even further to stretch supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Providence police learned yesterday that one of their officers tested positive for the virus, and the president of the union is concerned about others the officer may have come in contact with. The Providence Fire Department reports a recent uptick in transporting patients to hospitals for flu-like symptoms.
  • Meanwhile, two East Greenwich firefighters are on quarantine after providing mutual aid for a single-car crash in North Kingstown. It turns out the driver should have been on quarantine due to potential virus exposure.
  • The Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton will remain closed indefinitely.
  • The head of the Rhode Island Dental Association says times are tough for dentists, who have had to cancel routine appointments, but they are still stepping up to provide emergency care and have also donated personal protective equipment to assist in the coronavirus response.
  • Some in Rhode Island’s battered restaurant industry are optimistic about help they might be receiving from Washington. On the flip side, the owners of Red Stripe in East Greenwich have announced that the restaurant will be permanently closing.
  • Some major Rhode Island institutions are doing what they can to help. The Rhode Island Foundation and the United Way announced that they will soon be distributing $1.2 million to stressed nonprofit groups, with more on the way; and the Champlin Foundation is pledging $1.6 million to help fight the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island.