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Small businesses in R.I. affected by virus getting more help

Goldman Sachs is providing $10 million in loans to small businesses and nonprofits in Rhode Island struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday.

The loans of up to $250,000 are available to businesses that don’t have a solid relationship with a bank or lender, or that can't apply for a Small Business Administration loan.

Applications can be made through Rhode Island Commerce, the state's economic development agency, she said.

The loans can be partially or wholly forgiven for businesses that maintain or rehire their workforce and can be used for payroll, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.

Raimondo said her decisions during the pandemic that have forced restrictions or even the shutdown of many businesses “weigh heavily" on her, but said her goal is to be one the first states in the country to get back to work.



When it comes to testing for COVID-19, the Democratic governor said the state's next goals are to establish mobile testing capacity that can be brought to nursing homes, and set up more inner city testing sites to serve low-income and minority populations who may not have a car and need to walk to a testing site.



The Rhode Island Foundation, the state's largest philanthropic funder of nonprofits, is providing $100,000 for devices and Wi-Fi hot spots to families of children who have not yet been able to access the state's distance learning program.



Ten more people have died of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, bringing the state's death total to 73, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the state Department of Health, said Monday.

More than 300 additional people have tested positive, bringing the the state's total to almost 3,000. Nearly 200 people remain hospitalized with the disease.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.



High winds and heavy rains prompted the closure of all outdoor COVID-19 testing sites Monday in Rhode Island, the state Department of Health announced.

State officials hope to reopen the sites on Tuesday. They are at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown; Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick; Rhode Island College in Providence; Rhode Island, Kent, Newport and Westerly hospitals; CVS in Lincoln; and outdoor sites at respiratory clinics.

Health care professionals were asked not to make additional appointments for Monday. Patients with appointments for Monday have been rescheduled for the same time on Tuesday.



Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said a complete shutdown of society may be the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Elorza explained the idea Monday to WPRO radio, suggesting that after preparing for a couple weeks, the “entire world” would shut down for two weeks.

“After that point ... I would think there would be a dramatic decline in the number of new infections," Elorza said.



The Rhode Island Bar Examination scheduled for July has been postponed indefinitely because of COVID-19-related concerns, the state's highest court announced Monday.

The May 1 application deadline has been suspended while the state Supreme Court considers the impact of the public health crisis on the bar admission process.

Results of the February bar examination are still scheduled for release on May 8.



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