Raimondo: Close Childcare Centers—Next 2 Weeks “Critical” to Combat Coronavirus

GoLocalProv News Team and Reynaldo Almonte for Latino Public Radio

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced Sunday a “welcome pause” of no new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours — but warned that strict measures will continue to be needed to limit the spread in the state. 

“We are now up to testing 100 people a day,» said Raimondo with health and public safety officials at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.

«[We had] no new cases overnight — we remain at 20 positive cases, and over 2000 people in self-quarantine,» she said. 

Raimondo clarified the self-quarantine number to be at around 2300. 

«[It’s a] welcome pause — there are going to be more cases, this is just a pause,» she warned. «What this tells us though is what we’re doing is working. Rhode Island took an aggressive, robust effort to shut this down. It is not lost on me [the impact] to business, and family— the only way we’ll get through this is through measures for self-distancing and staying home when sick.»

Change in Childcare Center Policy 

Raimondo announced a change in policy, after last week announcing that schools will be closed this week but childcare centers could stay open — now, Raimondo is urging them to be closed. 

«Childcare centers — I’m calling on childcare centers to close for the week,» said Raimondo. «We are directing all child care centers, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs — please shut down staring tomorrow. At this time our direction is to avoid large groups. We’re working overtime to make provision for the children of first responders and health care workers — I don’t have an announcement [on that yet].»

«Rhode Islanders are doing a great job. What we’re putting in place is the right direction and working — it’s going to save lives, plain and simple,» she added. 

Raimondo also reiterated her call to students on break this coming week to avoid gathering together. 

«Avoid crowds at all costs,» said Raimondo, who said her daughter asked if she should go to the mall this week. 

«No,» Raimondo said she told her. «Don’t go to restaurants, [or go] congregating with friends — if you’re out with friends, you’re doing the wrong thing. The point is to give you time off from school and keep yourself and Rhode Islanders safe. The quicker we do this, the better off we’ll be.»

«The next two weeks are the critical time to stay in the house,» she said. 

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