- Associated Press - Thursday, April 30, 2020

It’s OK to feel stressed, and there are resources to help you cope with the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gina Raimondo told Rhode Island’s schoolchildren Thursday.

For the second time since the state’s stay-at-home order was issued, the Democratic governor and her husband, Andrew Moffit, spent her daily news briefing answering questions sent in from children.

A common theme emerged: Children miss their friends, school and sports, and they crave normalcy.

“We’re going to try every day to make things better for you,” said the governor, who has two teenagers.

In response to a secondary student from Pawtucket worried about missing out on graduation, Raimondo said the state will find ways to celebrate the achievements of high school seniors.



Another high school senior from Newport wanted to know whether the state’s colleges would open in the fall.

Raimondo said she has asked the presidents of all 30 colleges in the state to submit their plans for safely reopening in September.

A fourth grader wanted to know whether she would be able to attend camp in the summer. Raimondo anticipated camps opening, but with restrictions on large groups, frequent hand-washing, masks worn and possible temperature monitoring.

Raimondo urged children to stay active, keep in touch with friends and “do one thing every day to cheer somebody up.”

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15 NEW DEATHS

The state Department of Health reported more than 370 new positive cases and an additional 15 coronavirus-related fatalities Thursday. The state has now had more than 8,600 cases and 266 deaths.

The 15 deaths was the third-highest single-day total but does not mean all 15 of those people died within the previous 24 hours. It sometimes takes several days to confirm a cause of death.

Raimondo has said that she hopes to start a phased economic reopening of the state starting May 9, but that it will take several days of decreases in the number of new cases or hospitalizations.

The state also reported more than 335 people currently in the hospital with the disease, a large bump over the roughly 270 reported Wednesday, but the department attributed the rise to an updated and more streamlined reporting tool.

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SOCIALLY DISTANT WEDDING

Drs. Sarah Love Rhoads and Brandon James wore bride and groom masks during their socially distant wedding ceremony Saturday.

The couple are both fourth-year medical residents at Rhode Island Hospital. Rhoads is in pediatrics and James is in neurology.

Rhoads and James had planned a big wedding in Virginia on April 25 but opted for a smaller ceremony on the Providence River Pedestrian Bridge as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic worsened.

“It was not the wedding we expected, but it came together as well as we could ask for,” the bride told the Providence Journal. “We’re grateful.”

About 20 relatives and friends were able to witness the ceremony digitally, along with a few other friends who watched in person from a distance.

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BIG BLUE BUG MASKED

Rhode Island’s famous Big Blue Bug has donned a face mask to pay tribute to health care workers and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The painted mask on Nibbles Woodaway, the giant blue termite that overlooks Interstate 95 in Providence and serves as the mascot of pest control company Big Blue Bug Solutions, is also a reminder to everyone to wear a mask in public, company officials said Wednesday.

“This is our way of thanking the incredible work being done every day by front line workers of all kinds, delivering goods and services, keeping us well, and putting their lives on the line every day for us,” CEO Brian Goldman said in a news release.

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STATE POLICE STORY TIME

The Rhode Island State Police launched State Trooper Story Time on Wednesday to reach kids quarantined at home during the pandemic.

Troopers will be recorded reading favorite children’s books and the videos will be posted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 p.m. and at the agency’s website.

“The books were chosen by the troopers and represent their favorite books or ones they have enjoyed with their own children,” said Cpl. Heather Palumbo, who is coordinating the program.

Books are appropriate for children in preschool through fourth grade and will include selections in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

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