PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Artists and workers in the state's cultural institutions who have suffered hardship during the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for help through the latest round of grants from the Artist Relief Fund, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts announced Wednesday.

The fund was launched in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 crisis when artists had to postpone and eventually cancel shows, residencies, school performances, and workshops.

It has been providing small grants to artists and culture workers in the state since then, helping people stay safe and pay for living and incidental expenses.

“Income for artists essentially stopped, and artists had trouble paying rent and putting food on their table," Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the arts council said in a statement. It is vital that we continue to offer support and assistance to artists and culture workers, who have and continue to add tremendous value to our state’s economy and the creative life of our communities.”

Applications can be made on the arts council's website through June 14.

The relief fund is also still accepting donations. The funds raised will go directly to the arts community.

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HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA

State Department of Health numbers used to measure the prevalence of the coronavirus in Rhode Island continue to tumble, according to data released Wednesday.

The department reported just about 50 new confirmed cases, 38 from Tuesday and the remainder addded to previous days totals.

There were also no new virus-related fatalities for the third consecutive day.

There were 48 people in the state's hospitals with the disease, according to the latest data, the lowest single-day total since last July.

The number of people in the state who have been fully vaccinated is now at more than 557,000.