Updated March 13th at 6:40 pm
(Providence, RI) -- There are nine new cases of coronavirus in Rhode Island, bringing the current total number to 14 including three pediatric cases. All public schools in the state will be closed next week by moving up the scheduled April vacation in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Governor Gina Raimondo says school officials will take the week to prepare for so-called remote distance learning if it becomes necessary. Daycare centers are being encouraged to remain open next week to help parents with child care challenges who must go to work. It's not clear at this point what happens after next week, as the Governor says she is taking things "one day at a time."
Regarding the new cases, one is a student at Cranston West High School. Students, teachers and staff have been instructed to self quarantine for fourteen days. Another case involves a Westerly youth who attended a Celtics game at TD Garden last week and interacted with and received and autograph from Rudy Gobert, a Utah Jazz player who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
During a press conference today, Governor Raimondo said any Rhode Islander who has traveled out of the country in the past 14 days is mandated to self-quarantine immediately. She also said that nursing home visits are now absolutely forbidden by anyone, effective immediately, in an effort to help stop the spread of the virus. The governor is stressing that avoiding non-essentials crowds is critical to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, Raimondo warns there is a lot of misinformation and rumors circulating on social media and she's asking the trusted mainstream media to continue reporting accurate and timely information.
Meanwhile, steps are being taken at the Rhode Island State House to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The General Assembly will not be in session next week based on guidance from the Department of Health. Going forward, access will be limited to the Senate and House chambers and lounges. Seating in committee rooms is being rearranged to increase personal space, and committees are asked to postpone scheduled hearings on bills that are likely to attract big crowds.
See the full press conference below.