PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s day one of 2022 and state leaders in Rhode Island are ramping up COVID-19 testing.
Thousands of appointments were added to state testing sites on Saturday to help curb the spread of the virus.
On Thursday, Gov. Dan McKee announced over 3,000 tests were made available across eight different testing sites on New Year’s Day as New Englanders continued to struggle with long lines and turnaround times for PCR testing.
“I’ve seen long lines, short lines, quick lines can’t get our hands on at home tests,” Lindsay Ayres said.
“It’s extremely frustrating when we’re trying to prevent and stop the spread and everything, but we can’t. The process is so far behind a PCR is taking seven days to get back, meanwhile people are having negative rapids and a PCR is roaming around out there and you could be positive and you’re out and about,” Ayres said.
At the governor’s COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott said, even with the continued delays, Rhode Island continues to be the nationwide leader when it comes to testing per capita.
We’re scheduling a test to see if she’s able to go back to school on Monday,” Stephanie Hardt Adamek.
In Massachusetts, the National Guard and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) handed out 227,000 rapid home COVID testing kits in hopes that teachers and staff can be tested ahead of school on Monday.
“I think we’re one of the few states in the whole country that’s been able to supply masks and tests kits in advance of returning back to school,” Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley said.
The tests were brought in from out-of-state vendors earlier this week due to a shortage and were supposed to arrive Thursday, which prompted the teachers union to demand schools stay closed on Monday. The request was denied by the Education Commissioner.
“I think at the end of the day we’re trying to use every mitigation strategy we can to have a good outcome in our schools and so this is an important day for us,” Riley said.
To make an appointment at a state-run testing site in Rhode Island, click here.