Dunkin’ Donuts Center to serve as mass vaccination site; testing ends Friday

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Friday is the final day that coronavirus testing will be offered at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence.

The R.I. Department of Health confirms the facility will be turned into a mass vaccination site.

“We don’t expect these state-run locations to be open until a little later this month, when we will have the vaccine needed to run these mass vaccination sites,” Heath Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken said in an email to 12 News.

Rapid tests have been available at the Dunk for a little more than two months, and in that time, 29,091 were administered, according to Wendelken.

Testing will still be available at other sites in the city, such as the adjacent R.I. Convention Center.

“We have built out our testing infrastructure significantly over the last several months,” Wendelken added. “We have testing sites all throughout Rhode Island at this point, so we decided that this will be the best use of this space going forward. We want these large, state-run sites to be as accessible as possible.”

The state is planning to open five to ten mass vaccination sites, Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said Thursday, which will be one of three ways people can get immunized, along with local and regional sites and pharmacies.

In addition to CVS Health beginning to administer vaccines to eligible Rhode Islanders at several locations, Alexander-Scott announced Walgreens will also start offering shots at 14 of its pharmacies next week. People 75 and older can register starting Sunday morning by visiting Walgreens.com or calling their local pharmacy.

On Friday, Alexander-Scott revealed the state’s vaccine allocation will be increased to roughly 19,000 first doses a week later this month. Rhode Island is currently receiving around 16,000 doses per week.

The Health Department also new specifics on the state’s estimated timeline for vaccine distribution:

According to the latest data from the Health Department, more than 82,000 people in Rhode Island have received the first dose of the vaccine to date, while roughly 31,500 people are fully vaccinated, having gotten both required shots.

Health officials on Friday also reported 450 new positive cases and more than 15,000 tests administered the previous day, putting the daily positivity rate at 3%. Since Jan. 15, Rhode Island’s positivity rate has been at or below 5%, which is the threshold used to impose travel restrictions on other states.

Another three people in Rhode Island have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the reported death toll to 2,212.

Hospitalizations ticked down to 288, with 41 people in intensive care and 20 on ventilators, the Health Department said.

With the state’s COVID-19 data showing improvement, officials announced during their weekly briefing that restrictions are being eased for certain industries like restaurants and gyms.

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