Raimondo: Backlog of COVID-19 tests will be reduced, eliminated with new drive-through testing sites

Coronavirus

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Three drive-through COVID-19 testing sites are now up and running in an effort to increase Rhode Island’s testing capabilities.

Gov. Gina Raimondo has been calling for an increase in testing for weeks and hopes Rhode Island will soon be processing 1,000 tests per day by the end of this week. Right now, she said the state is testing between 500-600 people per day.

The testing sites are located at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, Rhode Island College in Providence and the Community College of Rhode Island’s Knight Campus in Warwick.

As the state begins to ramp up testing, Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to not show up without setting up an appointment through their healthcare providers. Those without a healthcare provider should contact an urgent care center.

The need for increased testing in Rhode Island has created a backlog, so while the drive-through sites are designed to be convenient, Raimondo said patients will most likely have to wait.

“Expect lines,” she said. “We’re going to do our best to get you in and out quickly.”

Raimondo warned that it could take three to four days for an individual to get back his or her test results because officials are prioritizing running tests for essential workers such as medical personnel, hospitalized individuals and the critically ill.

As the Rhode Island Department of Health works to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the backlog, Raimondo said officials will continue to prioritize who they’re testing.

Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said as more test capacity becomes available, the state is going to begin testing more people who are 65 or older and have symptoms, those with underlying medical conditions, and critical infrastructure workers such as police and fire personnel.

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