State taking steps to reduce turnaround time for COVID-19 test results


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The turnaround time for COVID-19 test results is too long, according to Gov. Gina Raimondo, and now state health officials are working to ensure they’re completed within 48 hours.

Right now, the average wait time for test results is 4.93 days, according to the R.I. Department of Health.

The Health Department is reporting a surge in requests specifically for asymptomatic tests, likely due to the new travel restrictions for Rhode Islanders visiting Massachusetts.

New: Massachusetts offers new travel specifics for Rhode Islanders »

Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week that Rhode Islanders are no longer exempt from his travel order and must either produce a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Raimondo said she understands Baker’s concerns and has been working to shore up the state’s testing capacity.

Here’s where to get tested for COVID-19 in RI, Mass. »

“We are not where we need to be,” Raimondo said during her weekly coronavirus briefing. “It’s a fight for resources. Commercial labs are full. We were struggling to get testing kits over the weekend.”

A spokesperson for Raimondo’s office tells Eyewitness News the state is working with two labs which will conduct 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day starting next week.

The results of those tests, the spokesperson said, will be made available within that two-day time frame.

The Health Department advises anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 to schedule an appointment online. Eligible Rhode Islanders who are asymptomatic can also be tested at a community-based testing site.

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RI Coronavirus Hotline: (401) 222-8022 | Work-Related Questions: (401) 462-2020 | Mental Health Assistance: (401) 414-5465

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