McKee, RIDOH to hold weekly COVID-19 briefing at 1 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island officials will provide their weekly update on the state’s COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts at 1 p.m. Thursday.

You can watch the briefing live on WPRI 12, right here on WPRI.com and in the 12 News app.

As more people get vaccinated, the focus of state officials is to continue reopening Rhode Island safely.

McKee has been highlighting the importance of small businesses since well before he became governor.

He toured Federal Hill in Providence Wednesday where he spoke with restaurant owners about what they need as the state approaches the busy spring and summer months.

When asked if Rhode Island will lift restrictions by May 19 like Connecticut is expected to, McKee said the Ocean State will likely have fewer restrictions than them before that date. He didn’t go as far as saying he’s lift restrictions, especially on restaurant capacity during the briefing, but that the state is in good shape with vaccination rates.

“We need to get capacity up and we need to get restrictions down, so that’s what we’re working on,” McKee said Wednesday. “I’ll be headed to a call in a half-hour that’s a continuation of a call that started around 8:30 and we’re expecting to have some good strong announcements tomorrow about how we can do that.”

There are still thousands of vaccination appointments available on VaccinateRI.org.

McKee said Rhode Island got about 50,000 doses this week because they built out the capacity to administer about 160,000 shots per week. He is hopeful people will go out and actually get vaccinated now.

Health officials on Wednesday reported roughly 337,000 Rhode Islanders are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while about 491,000 have received at least one dose.

The data also showed 296 new positive cases and four additional deaths.

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