PROVIDENCE (AP) — There have been another 74 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Rhode Island and one additional death attributed to COVID-19, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

The new positive cases were out of 3,360 tests administered, a positive rate of about 2.2%.

There have now been more than 18,200 confirmed cases of the disease in the state and 1,002 deaths.

The number of people in the state's hospitals being treated for COVID-19 was 66 as of Wednesday, the latest day for which the information was available, a number that has remained roughly the same for five consecutive days.

Six of the patients currently hospitalized are in intensive care.

BENEFITS OF SCHOOL

Gov. Gina Raimondo has enlisted the help of two pediatricians to reassure parents that it is safe to reopen the state's schools as she has planned on Aug. 31.

Her reopening plan has received pushback from parents, teachers and administrators who don't think the coronavirus will be under adequate control by that date.

Dr. Jim McDonald of the state Department of Health, and Dr. Elizabeth Lange, former president of the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, said during a live forum Thursday that while there is no way to make in-person learning risk-free, there are ways to minimize the risk.

Only 8% of Rhode Island’s COVID-19 positives are under 20, McDonald said.

“It really hasn’t affected children,” he said.

While there are risks with sending kids back to school, there are other risks in keeping them at home, Lange said.

“Children are feeling the stress from the lack of a routine,” she said. “Kids are staying up all night. They are afraid to go outside. They are more sedentary. Getting back to a routine is very important.”

School is more than about classroom lessons, McDonald said. Children learn about social responsibility, develop self-confidence and form lasting relationships with adults.

TESTING SITE CLOSING

A coronavirus testing site at the Community College of Rhode Island's Knight Campus in Warwick is closing on Sunday, the Health Department announced Friday.

Drive-up testing will shift to the Rhode Island Convention Center's parking garage in Providence, which will allow for increased testing capacity in all weather conditions.

Testing at the new site, by appointment only, is for people with symptoms of the disease and certain asymptomatic people in high-contact professions, including health care workers, personal trainers, clergy and barbers.

A testing site at Rhode Island College in Providence closed earlier this week.

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