The coronavirus is affecting everyone in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the effort to contain it is straining our medical system, our economy and our everyday lives.
Here's the latest
Rhode Island has confirmed 693 deaths associated with COVID-19 and 14,635 cases. Massachusetts has confirmed 6,718 deaths and 95,512 cases.
When Rhode Island’s District Court put eviction hearings on hold in mid-March, complaints of landlords illegally forcing tenants out more than tripled, according to Rhode Island Legal Services.
Writer Mike Stanton says the recent death of his father-in-law can teach us an important lesson as we contemplate the raging national debate over the acceptable costs of reopening the country.
With cooped-up people eager for something safe to do outside the house, outdoor theaters like the Misquamicut Drive-In in Westerly and the Rustic Tri-View in North Smithfield are selling tickets like grocery stores ringing up paper goods and flour.
The broad-sweeping changes set to begin June 1 will allow new opportunities for restaurants, businesses and recreational groups to reopen with restrictions.
Testing is now available to all Rhode Islanders with symptoms of COVID-19. Find out how to get tested through the Department of Health, or by calling your primary care physician.
Rhode Island Department of Health
COVID-19 Information Page
Rhode Island residents can call the RI Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline: 401-222-8022. People who think they have symptoms should call their healthcare provider. These people should NOT go directly to a healthcare facility without first calling a healthcare provider (unless they are experiencing a medical emergency).
Massachusetts Department of Health
COVID-19 Information Page
Massachusetts residents who have symptoms of respiratory illness and/or fever — or who have come in contact with someone who meets these criteria– should contact their local board of health, health care provider, or call 2-1-1, a 24-hour state-supported telephone hotline.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
COVID-19 Resource Page
Mental Health Information
- For immediate support, Rhode Island adults can call 401-414-LINK (5465). Kids and their caregivers can call 855- KID-LINK (543-5465). More information on this service is available here.
- “Taking Care of Your Emotional Health” from the CDC.
- “Manage Anxiety and Stress” from the CDC.
- “Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak” from the World Health Organization.
Domestic Violence Support
Support services for people experiencing domestic violence remain open during the pandemic, including the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, shelters, and the Victims of Crime Helpline (1-800-494-8100).
Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT)
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
If you are unable to work, but your workplace remains open, you may qualify for Temporary Disability Insurance. If you are quarantined due to COVID-19, you may qualify for Temporary Disability Insurance. If your place of work is closed or your employer tells you that you must stay home, you may qualify for Unemployment Insurance.
Help for Businesses
If your business has been affected by COVID-19, please call the RI Commerce Corporation Small Business Hotline: 401-521-4357. Businesses can apply for a loan under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
Student Loan Relief
The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is offering relief to borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic by suspending their monthly loan payments for up to two months. Apply for relief here.
Resources for immigrants and low-income families
The Economic Institute of Rhode Island provides information focused on low-income and immigrant communities both in English and Spanish.
El Instituto Económico de Rhode Island tiene información para comunidades de bajo ingresos e inmigrantes en inglés y español.
Resources for Artists
The Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund will award grants of up to $1,000 to help artists, teaching artists, arts administrators and other freelance arts and culture workers stay housed, fed, and safe in this time.
If you’ve been told to quarantine or isolate yourself to prevent the spread of COVID-19, check this list of delivery services, compiled by Rhode Island’s Office of Healthy Aging.
Meals for school-aged children
Free “Grab and Go” meals are available in many cities. You can find a list on the RI Department of Health website.
The state court system is operating on an emergency basis only; no evictions or adjudications will be processed until May 17, even for people who have received an eviction notice. More information is available from Homes RI.
Rhode Island’s Public Utilities Commission is barring state-regulated utilities, including gas, electric, water, and sewer utilities, from shutting any services due to unpaid bills. It’s also requiring utilities to stop sending past-due accounts to collection agencies.
Discounted Internet Access for Distance Learning
Information from Cox Communications about discounted internet access for families with K-12 students.
Microsoft has agreed to provide all Rhode Island businesses the Microsoft Office 365 program for free for the next six months to support telecommuting and remote file sharing.
Restaurants Providing Take-out or Delivery
Have a little extra time on your hands, or looking for a way to help out at a time when you may feel a little disengaged or underutilized? Below is a list of nonprofits who have volunteer or other opportunities. Help us grow this list! If you know of a nonprofit you’d like us to include, please email Nancy Wood.
Rhode Island Blood Center is experiencing a high demand for blood donations.
Meals on Wheels is looking for drivers for lunch-time deliveries.
Providence Animal Rescue League -is looking for temporary pet foster homes.
Rhode Island Food Bank is experiencing increased demand; learn how you can help.
Coronavirus Direct Relief has a variety of ways to help COVID-19 specific relief areas.
Refugee Dream Center is looking for supplies.
AMOR provides support for victims of hate crimes and has volunteer opportunities.
Here's What You're Telling Us
My husband is an essential, full-time medical worker in a Massachusetts nursing home. He is 67 years old and both he and I are extremely worried about Covid-19. There are daily scares of the virus getting into the nursing home and I assume it is only a matter of time before it does.
Boy, this has been a challenging time. In our slice of the world, the cut flower business has been upended…. As the outdoor farmers’ markets open up for the season, we are feeling good about our local agricultural community and hope that the local food and farming network comes out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
I am a non-traditional (adult) student, on the precipice of college graduation. First in my family to graduate at age 41, with an adult child in college and 2 in high school at the same time. We are doing our final papers and exams at home, at the kitchen table. I’ll be wearing my cap and gown to the backyard, and celebrating with the pigeons.
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