To make the COVID-19 testing process as streamlined and efficient as possible, most fixed, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today that State-run testing sites are now requiring appointments. Rhode Islanders can schedule a free test online at portal.ri.gov or by calling 401-222-8022. Insurance is accepted but not required.

Making an appointment ahead of time reduces long lines and crowding at testing sites and ensures easy access to results, says RIDOH. If you arrive at a State-run testing site without an appointment, site staff will help you schedule a same-day test.

While most of Rhode Island’s 17 fixed testing sites are now appointment only, the Block Island Fire and Rescue Barn and the testing site for travelers at T.F. Green Airport will continue to accept walk-ups. In addition, the State has mobile pop-up testing opportunities that do not require appointments. A schedule of mobile testing sites is available online.

Over the last several weeks, Rhode Island has seen an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing. From the week of July 26th to the week of August 2nd, there was a 69% increase in the number of tests scheduled at State sites. When demand for COVID-19 testing was lower, State-sites would accommodate people without appointments. With demand now higher, State test sites are returning to an appointment-only model.

Rhode Island’s COVID-19 testing program currently has approximately 4,600 appointments on average per weekday. The State is planning to expand appointment availability and may open additional test sites if the demand for testing continues to increase.

With the Delta variant now the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Rhode Island, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated and get tested.

RIDOH encourages those who are not yet vaccinated to get tested for COVID-19 every week. “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. RIDOH also recommends testing if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled out of state”.

For more information about COVID-19 testing options and the latest guidance, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp, LLC. Belmore has led What's Up Newp since December 2012. Belmore also serves as the Sr. Editor - North America for Mountain News - publisher of OnTheSnow. In his spare time, Belmore serves as the Vice President for the Board of Directors at Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors at Lucy's Hearth. Belmore is also a member and supporter of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.