RI seeks to rent the Dunk for assembly of coronavirus testing kits


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The state is eyeing the Dunkin’ Donuts Center as a space where employees can assemble coronavirus testing kits, 12 News has learned.

General Manager of the Rhode Island Convention Center Larry Lepore said the state is hoping to rent the Dunk from December to June.

As part of the contract, Lepore told Rhode Island Convention Center board members Tuesday he would bring back 40 full-time employees to assemble approximately 20,000 kits per day on the event floor of the Dunk.

“[They would be] assembling the test kits, packing them and having them on a loading dock to be shipped to different locations throughout Rhode Island,” Lepore explained.

The state is hoping that by doing this, it will take some of the burden off of the Rhode Island National Guard, which is currently in charge of assembling the kits inside the Convention Center.

The National Guard and Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) will to supervise the assembly of kits. Lepore said all of the supplies needed to assemble the testing kits would be shipped straight to the Dunk.

Lepore told board members there is a clause in the contract that would allow the assembly operation to be moved to another location if, at some point, venues are allowed to reopen.

The cost to the state to rent the Dunk is still being worked out.

Due to a high demand for testing statewide, Gov. Gina Raimondo recently added more than 2,000 tests and three additional testing sites.

“We really have to crank up our testing,” Raimondo said.

She hopes the state can double its testing capacity by the start of the state’s two-week “pause,” which begins Monday.

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