PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The number people hospitalized in Rhode Island with confirmed cases of COVID-19 — a key indicator in the success of controlling the disease — continues to decline, the state Department of Health reported Wednesday.

There were 69 people in the state's hospitals with the coronavirus according to the latest data available, down from 74 the prior day. It's the lowest daily number of hospitalizations — which peaked at 375 in late April — since March 27.

The department also reported 27 new confirmed cases of the disease and six new deaths.

“It’s another good news story. Thankfully, we’re continuing to trend in the right direction,” Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said.

There have now been more than 16,850 confirmed cases and 956 fatalities.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.



The coronavirus pandemic has claimed this year's Newport International Boat Show.

Newport Exhibition Group announced Tuesday that the annual event scheduled to take place Sept. 17-20 at the Newport Yachting Center has been canceled.

Rhode Island has limited the number of people who can attend outdoor events to 250 in the third phase of its economic reopening plan.

“The adjusted and stricter COVID guidance regarding events announced from the state was a strong indicator to us that we cannot move forward with a major event in this environment,” Paul O’Reilly, owner of the Newport International Boat Show, said in a release. “There are just too many unknowns at this point and a very high probability that the show will not be allowed to move forward and, even if it was, it would be in a format that would clearly not be valued by our exhibitors and attendees."

The outdoor show typically attracts about 600 exhibitors and about 40,000 visitors over four days, a show spokesman said.



Raimondo’s administration gave a $1.85-million no-bid contract to a Boston consulting firm to help the state respond to the pandemic and plan the eventual reopening of the economy, The Providence Journal reported Wednesday.

The Boston Consulting Group, a global management advisory firm, initially provided the state with “free support” according to administration documents.

It was then given a $1.85-million contract to embed its employees within state agency teams responsible for everything from hospital surge planning to testing and contact tracing.

The contract originally scheduled to end May 15 was extended, under as yet undisclosed terms, for work on assistance programs for hospitals and nursing homes.

When he put his reasons for not seeking competitive bids in writing on April 16, Department of Administration Director Brett Smiley cited the “unprecedented threat to the health, welfare and safety" of state residents during the pandemic, the newspaper said.