Central Falls opens new COVID-19 test site amid high demand

Coronavirus

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — A former Rite Aid in Central Falls is now home to a new COVID-19 testing location.

The site, located at 1114 Broad St., is expected to be able to test up to 800 people per day, or a combination of about 1,200 rapid and PCR tests, according to the office of Mayor Maria Rivera.

The new walk-in site will be open Monday through Sunday, with no appointment necessary.

  • Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The new site opened less than a week after residents were seen waiting in long lines during cold weather to get tested at a different clinic.

“The previous site had four windows,” Rivera said Monday. “This one, they have 10 lines, so we increased it by over 50%, and they do have a rapid line here.”

While the new site offers more testing capacity, parking was a different story. A full parking lot led to congestion in the area, and a Central Falls police officer was placed on traffic duty.

“There are three exits here, but unfortunately, they have ropes up at two of the exits,” Rivera explained. “So, we’re trying to get the key from the owner so that we can open up the exits, and I think that will alleviate some of the traffic right in here in the parking lot.”

Rivera told 12 News that while the city handed out thousands of free at-home COVID-19 tests last week, she is hoping to hand out more as soon as the state supplies them.

Rivera also said the city will be focusing on vaccinations in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to start hosting weekly booster clinics,” she said. “But besides the booster, we’re also doing the first vaccine and the second vaccine for anybody who hasn’t gotten it and now wants to get it.”

The city, which became the hardest-hit by COVID-19 in Rhode Island at the start of the pandemic, is currently seeing daily positivity rates hovering around 20%, according to Rivera.

“That’s pretty scary,” she added. “I can’t wait for at least six weeks to go by and see where we are, because this is crazy.”

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