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Gov: RI has allocated all federal money for virus response

December 22, 2020 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) —

Rhode Island has earmarked all $1.25 billion it received from the federal coronavirus response legislation, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.

The Democrat broke down the the state’s spending allocations for the CARES Act during her final weekly COVID-19 briefing of the year.

Raimondo said a large chunk of it — about $490 million — has been allocated towards business and economic support. The Providence Journal reports another $288 million was designated to cover state workers responding to the pandemic while $136 million has gone to city and town workers responding to the virus.

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The governor said the state also allocated $129 million to other public health response costs, about $117 million on education and $90 million toward cash assistance, food, housing assistance and other benefits for families and individuals.

The newspaper reports the briefing was also the first time state Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott and Raimondo’s Director of Administration Brett Smiley joined the governor in person since they tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

Raimondo also implored Rhode Islanders to get tested before and after Christmas to protect their loved ones and communities from the virus.

A look at other coronavirus developments in Rhode Island:

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STUDENT MEALS

The Providence Public Schools and its food vendor are making sure the city’s children don’t go hungry over the holidays amid the pandemic.

The schools and Sodexo on Tuesday as part of the grab-and-go program are offering students 13 days’ worth of meals, enough to cover the holiday break, at its eight meal sites across the city. The grab-and-go meal sites will not be active during the break.

The Home for the Holiday meal pack includes a turkey or pork roast, potatoes, mandarin oranges, macaroni and cheese, cereal, milk, juice and other items.

Parents and guardians may pick up a student’s meal pack, provided they have the student’s school ID number.

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VIRUS CASES

State health officials on Tuesday reported eight additional deaths and 880 positive cases of COVID-19.

The state Department of Health also said there are 440 patients hospitalized with the virus, which is down from a high of about 500 last Tuesday.

Rhode Island’s seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate has declined from nearly 9% on Dec. 7 to about 6% on Dec. 21.

The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases has declined over the past two weeks, going from about 1,300 per day on Dec. 7 to 880 per day on Dec. 21.