LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders will now be able to get COVID-19 test results in as little as 15 minutes, at a new testing site set up by CVS Health.
On Monday, CVS announced it would launch the new Abbott ID NOW system at a new drive-through testing site in the parking lot of Twin River Casino in Lincoln, which has been closed to the public because of the pandemic.
The tests are free, and results will be available as the patient waits in the car. Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday this testing site alone will be able to perform approximately 1,000 tests per day.
The CVS site does not require a referral from a doctor, but does require an appointment to be made online. Patients must be 18 years or older and a Rhode Island resident, and must have symptoms.
Rhode Island is still operating its other testing sites, run by the R.I. National Guard at CCRI, URI and Rhode Island College. Those sites will remain open, Raimondo said Monday, but results will still take a few days to run through a traditional lab.
“Think of this as the fast pass,” Raimondo said. She said people who are still going to work should go to the new CVS site, while those who are able to stay home should go to the traditional sites run by the state.
The National Guard sites still require a referral from a doctor. Parents should also bring children to those sites.
With the Twin River testing location, Rhode Island will be performing approximately 2,000 tests per day, doubling the state’s current testing capacity.
The test is the fastest available molecular point-of-care test, CVS Health says, by delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes.
“Today marks a giant leap forward in our efforts to combat this virus,” Raimondo said. “Making testing rapid and readily available is the key to slowly reopening our economy, and today we are one step closer to that goal.”
According to CVS Health, Rhode Island and Georgia are the only two states to launch this new partnership. They will be utilizing licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, CVS’s retail medical clinic, to oversee the testing at no cost to patients.
“We are pleased to offer Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln as a rapid COVID-19 drive through testing site,” a statement from the casino said. “We are supporting the efforts of the RI Department of Health, CVS Health, the Rhode Island State Police and the RI National Guard to ensure as smooth a testing experience as possible.”
“This level of collaboration truly is representative of the fact that we are all in this together, and we stand ready to do all we can to support the continued health and safety of all Rhode Islanders during this pandemic,” the statement continued.
Anyone who would like to receive a test at this site will need to pre-register in advance. You can sign up on their website to schedule a same-day slot for testing.