PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — High demand for COVID-19 testing in recent weeks has led to long lines at some clinics in Rhode Island, including the Rhode Island Convention Center, where people were seen wrapped around the building outside.
But with feel-like temperatures hovering around zero on Tuesday, state-run testing sites in several cities and towns had to shift their operations indoors.
Lawrence Lepore, the convention center’s general manager, tells 12 News that all of Tuesday’s appointments are already booked. He said they’re currently offering fewer slots due to a staffing shortage, but hope to increase their testing capacity by the end of the week by adding a drive-through option in the parking garage.
“We have ramped up trying to nip this pandemic in the bud, again, with the exposure going up, trying to make sure individuals aren’t standing on the sidewalk in these freezing temperatures,” he said. “As long as it’s like this, we will continue to do it this way.”
Data from the R.I. Department of Health shows more people than ever are getting tested. Over the past week, the state is averaging more than 25,000 tests per day, which doesn’t include at-home test kits.
The Health Department reported 4,287 new positive cases on Tuesday, but fortunately, the three-day average of new cases has declined significantly over the past few days, from an all-time high of 6,496 on Jan. 6 to 3,385 on Jan. 10.
Eight more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, according to health officials, while 459 infected patients are currently in the state’s hospitals, with 52 in the intensive care unit and 36 on ventilators.
The data also shows the state has surpassed 2 million total vaccine doses administered, which includes both the primary series and booster shots. Roughly 77% of Rhode Island’s population has completed the primary series to date and more than 32% has gotten a booster dose.
Additionally, the Health Department provided new weekly numbers on Tuesday, which unsurprisingly showed increases across the board. There were 473 new hospital admissions over the past week, up from 383 the previous week, while the weekly positivity rate went from 16.6% to 21.4%.
The rate of new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day span increased to 3,383. Any state with a rate above 100 new cases per 100,000 people over seven days is considered by the CDC to have high transmission of the virus.
On Monday, state officials announced new regulations regarding visitation at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Gov. Dan McKee has scheduled his next COVID-19 briefing for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, which will be streamed live right here on WPRI.com.
McKee’s office also said several community-based vaccination clinics will be held on Wednesday:
|2:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.||Brownell Library||44 Commons||Little Compton||Pfizer (12+)|
|6 p.m. – 9 p.m.||Johnston Recreation Center||1741 Atwood Ave.||Johnston||Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|
|5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.||McCoy Stadium||1 Columbus Ave.||Pawtucket||J&J, Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|
|3 p.m. – 7 p.m.||Monsignor Gadoury||1371 Park Ave.||Woonsocket||Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|
|10 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.||Northern Plaza||301 Main St.||Pawtucket||J&J, Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|
|4 p.m. – 7 p.m.||Providence Children’s Museum||100 South St.||Providence||Pfizer (5-11)|
|4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.||Warwick Library||600 Sandy Lane||Warwick||Moderna, Pfizer, Pfizer (5-11)|
|9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.||WBNA: West Broadway Neighborhood Association||1560 Westminster St.||Providence||Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|
|3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.||West End Community Center||109 Bucklin St.||Providence||Moderna, Pfizer (12+)|