PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations surging, many Rhode Islanders are rushing to get tested prior to the New Year.
With at-home rapid tests and appointments hard to come by, Gov. Dan McKee said the state has opened additional testing sites this week to meet the demand ahead of New Year’s Eve.
But not everyone is having an easy time landing a test.
Currently, all state-run testing sites are booked through the New Year, and even with the additional testing sites, many Rhode Islanders are still struggling to secure an appointment.
The situation is dire in Central Falls, where Mayor Maria Rivera tells 12 News the city’s walk-up testing site ran out of tests within three hours of opening Wednesday.
Rivera said dozens of residents waited in the cold for their chance to get tested, only to be told there weren’t any left.
“It’s a little out of control,” she said, adding that she and her staff spent the afternoon handing out at-home tests to those who were turned away.
Rivera is calling upon anyone who can help one of the state’s hardest hit communities.
“People are scared,” she said. “This is a very dense community. It’s not going to get better. We need to test as many people as we can.”
Meanwhile, McKee’s office has also announced two additional community-based vaccination clinics that will take place Thursday in Warwick and Providence at the following times and locations:
- Community College of Rhode Island – 10 a.m. to noon (Pfizer ages 5-11)
- Higher Ground International – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Pfizer and Moderna)
“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and those around you from serious illness related to COVID-19,” McKee said. “I thank all Rhode Islanders who have already rolled up their sleeves, got vaccinated and then got boosted.”
The state recommends anyone who wishes to take part in one of these clinics to sign up online beforehand.
The vaccine is also available at all state-run vaccination sites, as well as at certain healthcare providers’ offices and pharmacies.