RIDOH reopening 2 COVID-19 test sites as cases continue to rise


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As demand for COVID-19 tests has soared in Rhode Island in recent weeks, the state is reopening two test sites on Monday.

Beginning Monday morning, the R.I. Department of Health says tests will be available by appointment only at the Smithfield VFW and Barrington Shopping Center.

Both sites, according to the DOH, will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rhode Islanders can also still get tested at a local pharmacy, respiratory clinic, primary care office, or state-run test site.

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.

Last Friday, the state reported 10,139 tests the previous day with a 3.4% positive case rate, and 163.2 total new cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days.

In light of the demand, most state-run testing sites are now requiring appointments. Insurance is accepted but not required. 

To make a same-day appointment at a state-run testing site, visit portal.ri.gov or call (401) 222-8022.

Weekly mobile testing events, the test site at the Block Island Fire and Rescue Barn, plus the test site for travelers at T.F. Green International Airport will continue to accept walk-ups without an appointment.  

RIDOH is urging anyone with symptoms to get tested regardless of vaccination status, as the Delta variant spreads more easily and quickly, and may cause more serious illness. A message on RIDOH’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 RIDOH, some state-run test sites have a new swabbing process to align with testing recommendations from the CDC, and staff members will ask you if you 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 isolate yourself at home while you wait for your PCR test results.

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