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

The following information was provided by RIDOH today;


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 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 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


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 People can also call the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment line at 844-930-1779.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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