JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Lifespan announced Monday that a fourth urgent care location will open next week in Johnston as COVID-19 cases rise.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) raised the COVID-19 community level to “high” for Newport, Providence and Kent counties. Bristol and Washington counties are at “medium.”
The community levels are updated weekly based on case and hospitalization rates.
The Rhode Island Department of Health said cases have nearly doubled over the past month: 204 cases per 100,000 residents as of Dec. 31, 2022.
With various respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and flu circulating amid other emergencies, emergency departments continue to struggle.
The National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale (NEDOCS) is used to estimate the severity of overcrowding in emergency rooms, with a scale of 1-200. Monday, the Anderson Emergency Center at Rhode Island Hospital was at 200 with 100% occupancy, according to a Lifespan spokesperson Kelly Brennan.
Brennan says currently one could expect a wait time at the emergency department to range anywhere from eight to 21 hours, while urgent care centers may be anywhere from two to three hours on a busy day.
Lifespan says the new site on Commerce Way will give those who live in the Providence County area quick access to medical care.
“I am proud Lifespan is taking another step in delivering the care our neighbors need, when and where they need it most,” Lifespan Urgent Care Medical Director Olivier Gherardi said. “Lifespan Urgent Care centers provide their surrounding communities the expertise and compassion they need – and expect – when being treated by Rhode Island’s leading health care providers.”
The new urgent care will initially be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except certain holidays, according to Lifespan. The hours will be expanded in the coming weeks.
Lifespan already has urgent care centers in Providence, Warwick and Middletown.