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Apr 14

Portsmouth COVID-19 UPDATE April 14, 2020 1536

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 3:35 PM by Richard Talipsky

COVID-19 UPDATE

4/14/2020

 

PORTSMOUTH EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER

Phone: (401) 643-0379

In an Emergency dial 911

Email: covid@portsmouthri.com

 

SITUATION TO DATE:

  • World

(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)

  • Cases:                           1,970,225
  • Recovered:                 469,926
  • Deaths:                        124,544

 

  • USA

(Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University)

  • Cases:                           592,743
  • Hospitalized:              95,624
  • Recovered:                 44,364
  • Deaths:                        24,737

 

  • Rhode Island

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           3251
  • Hospitalized:              213
  • Deaths:                        80

 

  • Aquidneck Island

(RI Department of Health)

  • Cases:                           44
  • Deaths                          Not Available

 

  • Staff
    • Cases:                           1
    • Recovered: 0
    • Quarantined:             0
    • 72 Hour wait:             0
    • Deaths:                        0

TODAY’s NEW INFORMATION:

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER 20-24: REQUIRING CLOTH FACE MASKS AT WORK.  The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  Starting Saturday, the Governor has ordered:
    • All employees of customer/client-facing businesses and non-profit organizations, and any other such business category as determined by the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) that are still in operation shall wear cloth face coverings unless an employee can easily, continuously, and measurably maintain at least six feet of distance from other employees for the duration of their work or unless doing so would damage the employee’s health.
    • All businesses must provide, at their expense, face coverings or materials for the making of such face coverings for their employees.  Nothing shall prevent an employee from fashioning their own cloth face mask.
    • All customer-facing businesses shall take steps to require customers to wear face coverings, including the posting of such requirement at the entrance of the business.  No persons under two years of age or any person whose health would be damages thereby shall be required to wear a face covering.
    • Non-compliance with the order can be reported by emailing DBR at https://www.DBR.ri.gov or calling the DBR hotline at (410) 889-5550.

 

  • GOLDMAN SACHS PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOANS.  The Goldman Sachs Paycheck Protection Program Loan announced yesterday has been expended and is no longer available.

 

  • CONTACT TRACING.  The Governor and Public Health Official are urging everyone to keep track of the places you visit each day and the names of people you encounter.  If you get sick, you will be expected to give those records to the R.I. Health Department, so public health officials can track down others who might have also been exposed to the disease.

 

INFORMATION WHICH IS STILL CURRENT

ORDERS, CLOSURES and SERVICES

 

(All Governor Raimondo's Executive Orders can be found by clicking here).

 

  • PORTSMOUTH STATE OF EMERGENCY.  The Portsmouth State of Emergency Declaration issued March 16, 2020 has been extended through May 8, 2020.
    • Town Hall remains closed.  Business is being conducted online or via phone.
      • In person service is by appointment only.

 

  • RI IS UNDER A STAY AT HOME ORDER.  The Governor signed  Executive Order 20-14 – “Amended Eleventh Supplemental Emergency Declaration - Staying at Home, Reducing Gatherings, Certain Retail Business Closures and Further Quarantine Provisions."
    • Track who you have contact with.
    • Stay and work at home.
    • No gatherings larger than 5 people.
    • All non-critical retail businesses must close until April 13, extended by Executive Order 20-23 to May 8th.
    • Any person coming to Rhode Island from another state for a non-work-related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. This quarantine restriction shall not apply to public health, public safety, or healthcare workers.
    • Any person who lives in Rhode Island and works in another state who can work from home is required to do so. To the extent such a person cannot perform his or her functions via telework or other work from home arrangements, that person shall self-quarantine when not at work. This quarantine restriction shall not apply to public health, public safety, or healthcare workers

 

  • EXECUTIVE ORDER ON UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE.  The Governor signed Executive Order 20-19 which addresses the UI system.  
    • It lifts restriction on the amount of time that certain DLT retirees may return to the workforce without penalty.
    • The charges to employers' accounts under Rhode Island General Laws § 28-43-3(2)(ii) since January 27, 2020 for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 are suspended.

 

  • ENFORCEMENT OF QUARANTINE RULES.  The Governor signed Executive Order 20-20 (link to http://governor.ri.gov/documents/orders/Executive-Order-20-20.pdf) directing health officials to develop regulations to enforce penalties, including a series of fines, on those who break their quarantines.
    • The rules apply to those who have been ordered to quarantine because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as those required to do so because they had contact with someone with the disease.
    • Out of state visitors.  All out of state visitors must also self-quarantine for 14 days.  This applies to everyone traveling for non-work-related purposes and includes travelers entering RI for the purpose of using local marinas.

 

  • STATE PARKS AND BEACHES CLOSED.  Governor Raimondo announced all State parks and beaches are closed, effective Friday, April 3rd.  Starting April 3, parking lots will be closed until further notice to prevent gathering at these public spaces.  In addition, the opening of state campgrounds will be delayed until at least May 1.
    • PORTSMOUTH PARKS and GOLF COURSES.  Portsmouth parks and golf courses remain open.  All patrons are mandated to comply with social distancing guidelines established by the CDC and RI DOH.  The Portsmouth EOC is coordinating with golf courses to ensure safe operations and best practices are shared across all Aquidneck Island courses, to include compliance with State and National Golf Associations' COVID-19 Safety Operating Guidelines.
    • PORTSMOUTH PLAYGROUNDS.  Portsmouth playgrounds are closed until further notice.

 

  • VOTING BY MAIL.  The Governor’s Executive Order 20-11 moved the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) in Rhode Island to June 2nd.  The Executive Order also stated that this will be a predominantly mail ballot election. 
    • For this election, all Rhode Island registered voters will receive a mail ballot application along with a postage-paid return envelope.  To vote by mail, voters must return the application by May 19th. Also, the deadline to register to vote and to update your voter information for this election is Sunday, May 3rd. 
    • Due to the public health emergency there will be fewer polling places available on June 2nd. For this reason, we are urging voters to vote by mail.  If you choose to vote at a polling place, go to www.vote.ri.gov to confirm where you will vote.  Polling places will be confirmed soon.

 

  • RI COURTS CLOSED.  The state judiciary has decided to keep the courts closed to non-emergency matters through May 17th.

 

  • DMV EXTENSIONS.  The RI Department of Motor is granting 90-day extension on motor vehicle expirations that occur in the months of March and April.  More information on expiration date extensions can be found at the DMV Website.

 

  • PORTSMOUTH DOG LICENSES.  The Town Clerk's office is processing dog licenses by mail, or all necessary items may be placed in an envelope and put in the Tax Assessor’s drop box. Forms and envelopes are in the Town Hall south entry vestibule which is accessible to the public during the workday. Payments and applications are due by April 30th.

  • DISTANCE LEARNING.  RI Public Schools will remain closed and continue distance learning through April 30th.
    • Any household with a smartphone with Wi-Fi hotspot capability and cell phone service from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint will receive free hotspot coverage until May 8th.
    • The RI Office of Innovation has released a digital reference guide aimed to help those without home internet connection.

 

  • RI READS AT HOME.  Congratulations to Portsmouth Middle Schoolers for excelling in the Governor’s Reading Challenge!  More information about the program can be found by clicking here.

 

  • GRAB AND GO.  Breakfast and lunches are available for all Portsmouth students in the main foyer of Portsmouth Middle School, Monday-Friday, between the hours of 9:00 - 10:30 am.

 

  • PORTSMOUTH LIBRARY.  The library is closed but you can still download books and audio.  Find out more here.  Additionally:
    • Tumblebooks is free until August 31st.
    • All fines have been suspended until May 1st.

 

  • NEW REAL ID DEADLINE.  The October 1st, 2020 deadline requiring citizens have Real ID compliant driver's licenses and other identification cards in order to board an airplane has been pushed back.  The new deadline is October 1, 2021.

 

  • UPDATED PORTSMOUTH RECYCLING EVENTS DUE TO COVID-19.
    • SHREDDING: August 8, at Clements’ Market from 9 a.m. - 12 noon
    • ELECTRONIC WASTE COLLECTIONS: June 13; Sept. 12; Nov.14 - at Portsmouth High School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • HARD PLASTIC COLLECTION: June 6th at Portsmouth Transfer Station from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • SCRAP METAL COLLECTION: July 18th at Portsmouth Transfer Station (Lower Area) from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • Contact the Recycling Coordinator for specific rules and eligibility: rantaya@portsmouthri.com or 401-643-0359.

 

  • FATHER'S DAY SOCCER TOURNAMENT.  The Father’s Day Soccer Tournament scheduled for June 20-21, 2020 has been cancelled.

 

  • DOG PARK.  The Portsmouth Dog Park will be closed until further notice.

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

  • THERE IS A NATIONWIDE CALL FOR PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT.  If you are a researcher, supplier, manufacturer, business, organization, or individual in possession of needed items and willing to donate or sell them, please visit COVID 19 Medical Supply Donations.
    • A Protective Equipment Team was established under Portsmouth's lead, and is locating sources N-95 masks and other needed items for local emergency response and Health Workers.  Please contact us at covid@portsmouthri.com or 401-643-0379 if you can help us source these much needed supplies.

 

  • MASK WEARING 101: HOW TO PROPERLY USE & RE-USE A MASK.  For a mask to offer protection — rather than becoming a vehicle for COVID-19 germ-spreading — it must be handled, worn and stored properly.  This step-by-step video on mask-wearing covers the how-to’s and the do's and dont's of mask use:  Mask Wearing 101.

 

  • FREE FABRIC FOR CLOTH FACE MASKS.  Job Lot is making free fabric available to all Rhode Island residents to make our own fabric face coverings.  Every Job Lot has a display set up and they have enough free fabric for 1 million masks.

 

  • CLOTH-BASED FACE MASKS RECOMMENDED FOR ALL.  The Governor in conjunction with the RI Department of Health is recommending everyone wear cloth-based coverings for their mouths and noses while out in public.
    • Medical-grade masks should be reserved for health care workers.
    • RI DOH is advising people to secure cloth-based coverings to the head with ties or straps, "or simply wrapped around the lower face (such as a scarf).
    • This measure is not being recommended to prevent catching the virus.  It is being recommended as a measure to help prevent anyone from spreading it.
    • It’s important to wash these face coverings frequently in hot water and detergent, and to dry them in a hot dryer.
    • CDC Guidance and homemade mask tutorials can be found by clicking here.
    • Here are some additional educational resources on making homemade masks:

 

COVID-19 TESTING

  • COVID-19 TESTING FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC.  RI Dept. of Health (RIDOH) is recommending anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches (myalgias), chills, runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, or diarrhea) to be tested.  Information for those with and without insurance, and ways to get tested, can be found at the RIDOH Website.
    • TRANPORTATION TO COVID-19 TEST SITES:
      • MTM has procedures/policies in place to transport Medicaid and ETP (Elderly Transportation Program: individuals 60 years of age and older) individuals to COVID-19 testing sites. MTM will confirm individuals are eligible for transport and have no other transportation options prior to scheduling a trip. Eligible individuals can call: 1-855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) or visit their website by clicking here
      • This service is only available if no other transportation options are available.

 

  • RAPID VIRUS TESTING SITE:  CVS opening rapid virus testing site at Twin River Casino in Lincoln.  The testing site will be by-appointment only.  Results from test being administered at the site could be ready in as little as 15 minutes.  The site is intended only for RI residents who are over 18, experiencing symptoms, and are required to leave home for work.  More information can be found at COVID-19 testing.

 

BUSINESS INFORMATION

  • COVID-19 ECONOMIC RECOVERY WEBINARS.  The SBA Rhode Island District Office is hosting a series of Small Business Recovery webinars to provide the latest information on how the SBA is helping small businesses with their economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19. 

 

  • HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS.  The RI Commerce Corporation has established COVID-19 Resources for small businesses affected by COVID-19.  Information can be found at RI Commerce Help or by calling (401)521-HELP.

 

 

  • PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAMCongress has passed the CARES Act.  An important part of that legislation which will have a positive impact for businesses is the Paycheck Protection Program.  The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. 

o   Help for Small Businesses: Small businesses will have access to more than $375 billion in relief. The SBA is being given $350 billion. Small companies are eligible for up to $10 million in loans.

  • Lenders may begin processing loan applications today.
  • SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program offers businesses immediate access to liquidity through a new loan program tied to prior year payroll.  Loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program are backed 100% by the federal government.  Eligible borrowers will find the lending requirements under the Paycheck Protection Program to be significantly less onerous than those provisions that many businesses found in the SBA’s Disaster Loan program.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

 

  • SUPERIOR COURT INITIATIVES FOR BUSINESSES.  The Rhode Island Superior Court will start a business protection program in response to disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Under the Business Recovery Plan, the court will supervise and provide protections for Rhode Island businesses so they can remain operational, access new working capital and pay debts.
  • ·More information can be found by clicking here.

 

SOCIAL WELFARE

·         PORTSMOUTH COVID-19 WELLNESS SURVEY .  In an effort to ensure our residents are safe and secure, and to provide them information and access to essential services, the Town of Portsmouth is sending every household a COVID-19 Wellness Survey that, if completed and returned, will help the Town identify those in need.  More information can be found by clicking here.

  • Thank you to the over 300 respondents so far!
  • RESPONSES WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL.  The Town urges every household, even if assistance is not needed, to please take a minute to complete and return the survey.  If you do not return it, the Town will not know the COVID-19 impact upon you or your family.  We are seeking 100% participation so that no family with a need is missed.  If a home needs assistance, the Town intends to contact the home to assess their welfare concerns.
  • The survey may also be completed online at https://bit.ly/PEMA-COV19-Wellness-Survey
  • This survey is voluntary participation is optional, but we highly encourage responses.
  • If you have questions about this initiative, please feel free to call Ray Perry, CEM, our Town Emergency Manager, at (401) 477-2172 or e-mail him at COVID@portsmouthri.com

 

  • RENEWED STATEWIDE CALL FOR MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS.  The State is issuing another call for available medical and health care professionals.  If you are available to join Rhode Island’s response to COVID-19, please visit Rhode Island Responds and register to volunteer.

 

  • RI DELIVERS.  RI Delivers has been established to provide food delivery help for those living in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.  Their goal is to ensure that for this temporary quarantine period, you have what you need to safely remain home and monitor your symptoms. By doing so, you will help slow the spread of COVID-19.  If you are under quarantine, you should not leave your home for any reason.  Please click here for more information.  If you have a question or need further guidance, call 2-1-1 or the Point at 401.462.4444.

 

·         FOOD BANK.  The Town of Portsmouth is currently stocking a community emergency food bank that is designed to serve the needs of those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. St. Barnabas Church has graciously provided the use of their parish hall at 1697 East Main Rd, Portsmouth, for the Food Bank.  The Food Bank opened for food distribution on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.  We have supplied 300 meals for 120 families as of yesterday.

  • TO DONATE FOOD.  The Food Bank is accepting donations from 8 am - 4 pm, Monday through Friday.  The Town expects an increasing need to replenish the Food Bank throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Call 401-643-0323 or email portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com and leave a message if you need more information about donating food.  Non-perishable, non-expired food Items can be dropped off at the parish hall (church lower parking lot).
    • Food and food-related items needed include things such as:  cereal, pancake mix, syrup, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly, powdered milk, baked beans, canned fruit, pasta sauce, canned pasta, canned vegetables, canned tuna and  chicken, crackers, Minute Rice packages, canned soups, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and grocery store gift cards.
    • TO GET FOOD FROM THE FOOD BANK.  Come to the Food Bank between 10 am and 2 pm Monday through Friday and a Food Bank volunteer will bring food out to your car. We are in the St. Barnabas Parish Hall, around the back of the church, lower parking lot. If you are unable to get to the Food Bank between 10 am and 2 pm, please call 401-643-0323 or email portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com and a Food Bank volunteer will get back to you within 24 hours to address your needs.
    • WANT TO VOLUNTEER?  If you desire to volunteer at the Food Bank to accept food, re-stock the shelves or have the ability to deliver food or pick up food donations from those who cannot come to the Food Bank, call 401-643-0323 or email portsmouthri.foodbank@gmail.com with the days/times available and what you would be interested in doing.
    • WANT TO DONATE MONETARILY?
      • Text pefb to 555888 and click on your choice of a one-time gift or a recurring payment, or
      • Visit the Donation link stbarnabasportsmouth.weshareonline.org and click on the “Make a Donation” button under the “Portsmouth Emergency Food Bank,” or
      • Write a Check - Make checks payable to the “Town of Portsmouth.”  Note “Food Bank” on the check and either hand-deliver to the Food Bank or mail to Portsmouth Community Food Bank, Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, RI 02871.
    • FOR MORE INFORMATION regarding the Portsmouth Community Food Bank, visit the Portsmouth Town Hall website at portsmouthri.com, or contact Wendy Bulk at the Portsmouth Town Hall by calling 401-787-0281 or emailing wbulk@portsmouthri.com.

 

  • PORTSMOUTH SENIOR CENTER MEALS.  Portsmouth Senior Center has established a Meal Site at their address - 110 Bristol Ferry Rd. Meals need to be made with a 24-hour reservation.  Participants can call Cynthia (Director-Portsmouth Senior Center) at 401-683-4106.  If no answer call 401-297-6102.

 

  • HELP FOR LAID OFF WORKERS.  The CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits.  More information can be found at the U.S Department of Labor and the RI Department of Labor and Training.

 

  • CONTINUATION OF MEDICAID.  The State is halting terminations and income verifications related to RI Medicaid for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

 

  • STIMULUS BILL.  On March 27, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be signed by President Trump.
    • Direct Cash Payments: Folks who make less than $75,000 per year ($150,000 for couples) will receive a $1,200 check in a few weeks, with an additional $500 for each child.
    • Unemployment Protections: The average worker who gets laid off as a result of this crisis will be eligible for four months of full pay. Rhode Islanders are eligible for 39 weeks of unemployment benefits.

 

  • SNAP BENEFITS.  anyone receiving SNAP benefits will get an average of an extra $140 starting April 1. All benefits will have a six-month extension and will not need to be renewed monthly.

 

  • FAMILY SERVICES.  Family Service of RI is asking for help to provide items to help the low-income children, families and seniors it serves “be safe” from COVID-19.   Anyone interested in helping should click here or call Maggie Slane at 401-331-1350 ext. 3840 or email slanema@familyserviceri.org.

 

·         EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY COVID-19.  Employees out of work or unable to work due to COVID-19 should review the RI Department of Labor and Training Website for relief options.  Quick facts are located here.

 

 

  • RENEWED EMPHASIS ON MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES.  If you are in a mental health or substance abuse crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and you need immediate assistance, please call 24/7 to get connected to care through BH Link:
    • 401-414-LINK (5465)
    • For under 18 call: 855-KID-LINK (855-543-5465)

 

  • HEALTHSOURCE RI IS OFFERING A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD available to Rhode Islanders losing health coverage due to a change in employment status.
    • Rhode Islanders who wish to obtain coverage can do so by visiting www.HealthSourceRI.com and enrolling online, or by contacting the HealthSource RI call center Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 1-855-840-4774.

 

 

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

 

  • Portsmouth residents may call (401) 643-0379 seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for general inquiries related to the current health situation or for accessing municipal services

Residents may also email requests or inquiries to covid@portsmouthri.com.

 

  • The town has established local information on the town website, its NOTIFY ME system, and social media as follows:
    • Town Website:  www.PortsmouthRI.com – See the COVID-19 Alert at the top and the “Spotlight” section that will direct users to other town web pages with specific COVID-19 information.
    • Notify Me®:  Sign up for automatic e-mail updates.  On the town web home page click the “Notify Me®” button and choose your topic.
    • Facebook:  Log on to the town Emergency Management Facebook page (Portsmouth Emergency).
    • Twitter:  Log on to the Portsmouth Emergency Twitter feed - @PortsmouthEmerg and use Hashtag #COVID02871 for Portsmouth-specific tweets.
    • Phone: The Emergency Operations Center phone number is 401-643-0379.  A volunteer is ready to assist you.  If you cannot get through, use email.  We will get back to you.
    • Email:  Email COVID@PortsmouthRI.com and your message will be routed to the appropriate town staff person to help.
    • Town Webpages:

§  https://www.portsmouthri.com/1594/Portsmouth-Specific-Coronavirus-Informat (and the Quick Links located on the right side of the page)

Portsmouth Emergency Management Blog