PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Family Court is holding night sessions to deal with a backlog of cases because of the coronavirus pandemic, court officials say.

Chief Judge Michael B. Forte will preside over nine uncontested divorces on Thursday evening and another nine on the evening of Aug. 20.

The sessions, starting at 6:30 p.m., will be conducted remotely, with Forte presiding from home and other participants from their homes or offices. Proceedings will be streamed live and are expected to last about three hours.

“When I learned in early July that the earliest a couple could get a hearing on an uncontested divorce was November, that was unacceptable,” Forte said in a statement. “We want to address the backlog, but we also want to take advantage of the remote hearing technology we have been using since this past spring and provide hearings during evening or non-working hours that are more convenient for many people.”



The Rhode Island Department of Health reported 91 new confirmed coronavirus cases and one more death on Wednesday.

The new cases included 84 positive tests on Tuesday, and seven that were added to Monday's total.

There were 79 people with coronavirus in the state's hospitals as of Monday, the most recent date for which the information was available, down from 80 the prior day. Fourteen were in intensive care.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has risen over the past two weeks from 56.86 new cases per day on July 21 to 95 new cases per day on Aug. 4, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has risen from 3.86% on July 21 to 6.05% on Aug. 4, according to Johns Hopkins.

There have now been nearly 19,500 confirmed cases and 1,012 coronavirus deaths in Rhode Island, according to the state Health Department.



Bryant University has invested nearly $3 million to conduct weekly on-campus COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff this fall.

Test results will be available within 24 hours.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of every member of our community,” school President Ross Gittel said in a statement. “Our phased return to campus will adhere to the health and safety standards, regulations, and guidance described in Gov. Raimondo’s Reopening Rhode Island plan along with return-to-work guidelines from the CDC.”

Faculty and students returning to the Smithfield campus starting this month will receive the self-administered test.

Face coverings and social distancing will still be required on campus.