Rhode Island asks child care centers to close amid outbreak

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo on Sunday asked child care centers to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Democrat said no new cases have been reported since Saturday, when the number of cases rose from 14 to 20.

While she called the lack of new cases a “welcome pause,” Raimondo said she expects more cases to be announced in the days to come.

Jury trials and state legislative work already been canceled because of the virus. The state’s two casinos are closed, gatherings of 250 or more people are banned, and April break has been moved up to this week for the state’s public schools.

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TESTING RAMPS UP

The state is now capable of administering 100 tests for the virus each day, Raimondo said.

That’s a big increase in a matter of days; on Friday the state reported that it had tested a total of 200 people to date.

Raimondo says the expanded testing capability will make it easier for state health officials to track the spread of the virus.

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GOVERNOR: STAY HOME

Raimondo thanked the leaders of many churches and other religious organizations who canceled services this weekend and advised them to cancel additional events planned for the next week.

The practice of Christian communion, she noted, can carry an “extreme” risk of spreading the virus.

“That’s why we’re calling for extreme measures,” she added.

Officials also urged Rhode Islanders to contact older relatives and friends to ensure they’re ready for a prolonged stay at home. Raimondo added a special warning for students, telling them not to use their unexpected break from classes to hang out with friends.

“No, you can’t go to the mall,” she said.

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ABOUT THE VIRUS

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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