PROVIDENCE — The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Rhode Island has risen from five to 14, state officials announced Friday.
Gov. Gina Raimondo also announced that public schools will move April break up to next week, visits to nursing homes will be banned and people who have traveled abroad in the last two weeks will have to self-quarantine.
The Democrat said next week's school recess will allow teachers to develop plans for teaching classes remotely.
Raimondo said she's asking childcare facilities to remain open. She also said that anyone who is able to work from home next week should do so. The state has already banned gatherings of 250 people or more.
“The mantra now is be serious,” Raimondo said. “Don't panic, but take this seriously.”
The latest coronavirus developments in Rhode Island:
State Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said the nine additional confirmed cases include three pediatric cases.
She also said all nine people are recovering at home, save for one who is in isolation at a nursing home.
Alexander-Scott said the cases are still under investigation but are tied to at least four different trips to the Caribbean and Europe.
Officials said Friday about 200 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the state to date.
A Rhode Island police chief says a young resident who is among the nine additional cases of the coronavirus announced Friday may have contracted it from an NBA player.
Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said Friday that the child, who he did not name, attended a Boston Celtics game last week and got an autograph from an infected player, who he also did not name, the Providence Journal reported.
The Celtics played the Utah Jazz on March 6; two Jazz players — stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert — have since tested positive for the coronavirus.
Another Westerly youth also contracted the virus after recently returning from a cruise to the Bahamas, said Lacey, who is also the acting town manager.
All jury trials in Rhode Island state courts have been postponed in response to the new coronavirus, the state Supreme Court's chief justice said Friday.
The courts will remain open and staffed to deal with emergency matters including domestic violence petitions, temporary restraining orders, bail, and arraignments for charges of serious crimes, Chief Justice Paul Suttell said in a statement.
The directive applies to the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Family Court, District Court, Workers’ Compensation Court and the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal.
Providence Municipal Court was closed until further notice on Thursday. U.S. District Court Chief Judge John McConnell, Jr. said all criminal matters and grand jury proceedings in federal court will be postponed, unless a defendant’s liberty is at stake.
The state General Assembly said Friday that all House and Senate sessions, including committee hearings, will be canceled next week.
Legislative leaders said they will also push for the administration to thoroughly clean the State House during the closure.
CASINOS STAY OPEN
Rhode Island's two casinos, which generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state, are staying open.
The Twin River Casino in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel have postponed or canceled concerts and other events, but otherwise remain open.
Twin River, which operates the casinos, says both facilities are being aggressively cleaned and more hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed.
Special Olympics Rhode Island is suspending all sport training and competition activities until at least the end of March.
The virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, poses heightened risks for people with intellectual disabilities and the elderly, the organization said in a statement.
Fundraising activities originally scheduled for later this month have been postponed. ———
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 from the new virus. 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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