NORTH SMITHFIELD – While the number cases of COVID 19 in North Smithfield remains low in comparison to the state’s larger cities and towns, 14 have been confirmed, according to the latest figures from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

And a local nursing home reported its first case this week.

In an email sent the the families of residents on Friday, April 17, The Residence at Saint Antoine announced that the nursing home has had its first confirmed case of the virus. Debrah Putman, executive director of the facility, said the nursing home is in full compliance with all the RIDOH protocols and has notified the agency.

Town Administrator Gary Ezovski, meanwhile, issued his third extension to the town’s emergency executive order this week, announcing that the official due date for fourth quarter property and auto taxes had been moved to May 15.

“COVID 19 continues to spread including by community spread,” the order noted.

Ezovski also addressed the issue of the growing tally of local cases of the virus in his weekly newsletter.

“My concern for our town’s ability to stay healthy remains elevated,” Ezovski stated. “By comparison to other communities, we are still doing okay, but we cannot let our guard down.”

The latest data shows 36 confirmed cases in neighboring Burrillville, and 153 in Woonsocket.

On Saturday, April 18, Gov. Gina Raimondo’s order that all employees at customer-facing, office-based and manufacturing businesses wear face masks went into effect.

The governor held off this weekend on an expected announcement regarding public school closures, stating that her decision on whether or not to keep buildings shuttered through the remainder of the school year will be made in the upcoming week.

“I am not willing to throw in the towel yet and say ‘school’s out for the rest of the year,'” the governor said, pointing out that many state’s across the country have already announced that in-house learning is done for the year.

Raimondo did announce this week that models project that the peak for coronavirus cases in the state should occur sometime between the last week of April and the first week of May.

If Rhode Islanders adhere to social distancing protocols, Raimondo said the state will need around 2,250 hospital beds at the peak.

“That number of hospital beds is a number we could handle in our existing hospitals,” she said, noting that the state has also been building overflow hospitals.

In the “worst case scenario,” where protocols are abandoned, the governor said the state will need 4,300 beds.

“For those of you who wonder it really matters, we’re talking double the number of deaths,” she said.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Raimondo said. “We’ve been preparing for the worst. Even worse case scenario under state’s current model has improved.”

“Social distancing is what’s saving us,” Raimondo said.

The current number of confirmed cases in Rhode Island is 4,706, with 150 fatalities.

Visit https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-data-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com/ to see the latest figures by community.

Editor’s note: The above article has been edited to reflect the latest figures as of Sunday, April 19.

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