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Rhode Island has its first 2 deaths from the coronavirus


Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, the same day that the state National Guard was expected to be going door to door in coastal communities to find visitors from New York.

One person in their 80s died Friday night, the other person in their 70s died Saturday, the state Department of Health said.

The Guard was said to be asking people if they are visiting from New York and telling them about the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people from the state. The measure is needed to help control the spread of the new coronavirus because the New York City area is the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., Gov. Gina Raimondo said Friday.

State Police on Friday started pulling over vehicles with New York license plates to tell them of the quarantine order and get contact information from drivers and passengers.



President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for the Commonweath of Massachusetts and ordered federal assistance to help with recovery in areas impacted by COVID-19. The declaration approved on Friday makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for people and for commonwealth, tribal, and eligible local governments and some private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, the White House said.



The Connecticut National Guard has deployed two climate-controlled tents at the VA Medical Center in Newington to deal with possible patient overflow in the future, similar to tents put up on grounds of the VA hospital in West Haven, Gov. Ned Lamont said Friday. Mobile field hospitals have also been set up on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and Danbury Hospital and another one was expected to be set up at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown in the coming days, he said.



A Maine funeral home operator announced it's providing an option for virtual funerals during the coronavirus. Hobbs Funeral Home, which has locations in Scarborough and South Portland, will provide an option for video chats so people can say goodbye and grieve from the safety of their homes. Absent will be physical gatherings and hugs. Hobbs Funeral Home Director Jeffrey Inman says that's just not possible for now.

The number of COVID-19 cases rose to 211 in Maine on Saturday.



The White Mountain National Forest has closed scores of recreation sites and toilet facilities as a result of the coronavirus and in order to promote social distancing. It was unclear when they would reopen. At the same time, the Mount Washington Observatory will offer free distance learning programs three times a week in response to the school closures nationwide. Also, the state legislature has extended its closure through May 4 in line with Republican Gov. Chris Sununu's stay-at-home order.


For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.


AP reporter Michael Casey contributed from Boston.



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