Rapid Testing and Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Expanded in Advance of the Holidays

 

In advance of holiday gatherings over the next two weeks, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are expanding access to rapid testing and to COVID-19 booster doses and primary series vaccine.

 

Testing

A test site will open today at the Chapel View Shopping Center in Cranston. This site will be open seven days a week for rapid testing by appointment only. To make an appointment, visit portal.ri.gov. Additional new rapid testing sites will open in the coming weeks. Details on those new sites will be posted online.

 

For those Rhode Islanders who are asymptomatic but are looking for a test before the holidays, the state is expanding access to rapid testing at six existing testing sites. (Previously, people who were asymptomatic received PCR tests at these sites.) Testing is also available for symptomatic people at these locations. Appointments are still needed for these rapid tests. These six sites are:

 

  • Barrington Shopping Center
  • Blackstone Valley Community Health
  • Cranston Parkade Storefront
  • Rhode Island Convention Center Ticket Booth
  • Smithfield VFW
  • Warwick Shopping Plaza

 

People must make appointments to be tested at these sites at portal.ri.gov. PCR tests will still be used for asymptomatic K-12 tests at these sites. To help the testing sites run smoothly, people are asked to arrive on time for their appointments.

 

In addition to making this change at these sites, RIDOH has allocated 100,000 COVID-19 self-tests to community partners located in Rhode Island’s hardest-hit communities. RIDOH is working to obtain one million additional self-test kits for broader distribution.

 

While expanding access to rapid tests in advance of the holidays, these measures will also help reduce turnaround times for PCR tests at State-run sites. Additionally, the State is currently onboarding additional private laboratories to expand PCR testing capacity.

 

Aside from State-run test sites, COVID-19 testing is also available at some respiratory clinics and local pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens. For more information about when and where to get tested for COVID-19 in Rhode Island, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.

 

Vaccination

The Sockanosset Cross Road and East Providence vaccination sites will continue operating at least through the end of December. It was previously announced that the last day of vaccinating at Sockanosset Cross Road (100 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston) would be December 18th, and that the last day for regular operations at the East Providence vaccination site (585 Taunton Avenue, East Providence) would be December 29th.

 

Early indications are that the protection someone gets against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 more than doubles with a booster dose (compared to what they received from the primary series of the vaccine).

 

Everyone who is 16 and older is eligible to get a booster dose in Rhode Island. (Someone who received a Pfizer or Moderna primary series can get a booster dose six months later. Someone who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination can get a booster dose two months later.) Primary series COVID-19 vaccine is available for children 5 years of age and older.

 

To make a vaccination appointment and to get additional information about COVID-19 vaccine, go to C19vaccineRI.org. People can also call the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment line at 844-930-1779.

 

Free at home COVID tests kits will be available to order Wednesday, January 19th. The White House says they'll be available nationwide and are limited to four kits per household. Tests are expected to be shipped within seven-to-12 days of ordering.        Vice President Harris has a message after being asked about what's next in the administration's push for voting rights legislation. Harris said "We keep fighting," noting they're in it for the long haul. Efforts to pass new laws on voting rights have been stalled in the Senate.        The go-head is being given for the case against the suspect in a deadly Wisconsin Christmas parade incident. A court commissioner made that ruling Friday for the case against Darrell Brooks. He faces nearly 80 charges for what happened back in November.        A case regarding a high school football coach and on-field prayers is headed to the high court. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Joseph Kennedy's argument saying prayers taking place after games should be held in the same respect as the First Amendment. Kennedy was let go from his job in 2015 for refusing to stop prayers after football games.       Saturday Night Live is back on the air tomorrow night. In the show's first episode of the year, "West Side Story" and new Golden Globe winning actress Ariana Debose will take up hosting duties. The Jack Antonoff-led band Bleachers will fill the musical-guest slot.        A Los Angeles woman is thought to have made NHL History. During Thursday night's L.A. Kings game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, athletic trainer Aisha Visram sat behind the bench. The Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society says it's believed that Visram is the first woman to ever do that.