PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As demand for COVID-19 testing has soared in Rhode Island in recent weeks, the state has reopened two sites.
Tests are now available by appointment only at the Smithfield VFW and Barrington Shopping Center, according to the R.I. Department of Health.
Both sites will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit portal.ri.gov to make an appointment.
More than 11,000 people in Rhode Island got tested last Thursday alone, according to data from the Health Department, and since then, another 17,000 have gotten tested.
On Monday, the Health Department reported 669 new positive cases since data was last released on Friday and added 25 cases to previous daily totals.
Three more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 2,747.
Hospitalizations, which have been on the rise in recent weeks, fell to 75 on Monday, a decrease of 10 since what was reported on Friday.
The state is up to 175 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, which is the rate used by the CDC to track community transmission of the virus. As a result, Rhode Island is considered to have “high transmission” at this time.
In light of the increased demand for testing, most state-run sites are now requiring appointments. Insurance is accepted but not required.
Rhode Islanders can also get tested at a local pharmacy, respiratory clinic or primary care office.
The state plans to expand its capacity to start offering more than 5,000 appointments per day, which would be in addition to all testing being done at pharmacies and other private institutions.
To make a same-day appointment at a state-run testing site, visit portal.ri.gov or call (401) 222-8022.
The testing sites at T.F. Green Airport and the Block Island Fire and Rescue barn will continue to accept walk-ups without an appointment, along with weekly mobile testing events. Rapid tests at the airport are available for airport personnel or arriving/departing ticketed passengers only.
The Health Department urges anyone with symptoms to get tested, regardless of vaccination status, as the delta variant spreads more quickly and easily and can cause more serious illness. A message on the agency’s testing page says, “Whether or not you’re fully vaccinated, get tested right away if you get symptoms of COVID-19, even if you think it’s just a cold or allergies.”
According to health officials, some state-run testing sites have a new swabbing process to align with recommendations from the CDC, and staff members will ask whether patients have COVID-19 symptoms.
- If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you will be offered PCR testing. PCR tests are sent to Dominion Diagnostics Laboratory for processing, with results ready in one to two days.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will get swabbed twice to collect two specimens. The first swab will be a rapid antigen test, and the second swab will be sent to a lab if needed.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and your rapid antigen test result is positive, your confirmatory PCR test will not be sent to the lab. You have COVID-19 and should isolate at home.
If you have symptoms and your rapid antigen test result is negative, your PCR test will be sent to the lab to confirm your rapid results. You should still isolate yourself at home while you wait for your PCR test results.
This story was updated to reflect a clarification that testing at T.F. Green is only available for airport personnel or ticketed passengers arriving or departing the airport.