Increased demand for testing leads to delayed appointments
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – The Department of Health announced it’s working to build out their testing capacity in response to an increase in demand for testing recently.
That includes expanding testing hours at some sites, adding a new testing site and ramping up available tests at existing ones.
State officials will open a new testing site at the Wick Ford Train Station in North Kingstown, running up to 500 tests a day. They’ll also expand testing at existing locations like adding 100 additional tests per day at the Convention Center.
They’re also expanding hours of operation at several state run COVID-19 testing sites including asymptomatic Stop & Shop sites in Cumberland and Newport.
All of this comes as many people are seeing delays, saying it’s taking several days to schedule an appointment.
Amanda Harwood from Warwick called the experience “a headache”.
“I had a possible exposure,” Harwood said. “My mom works in assisted living and tested positive. I was near her within that two week time frame, so I went to get tested. It took me six days to actually get a test.”
Harwood says first of all, figuring out where to go based on certain symptoms was confusing. She says she called several places, many of them charging $150-plus without insurance or booked into the following week.
She says she tried a walk-in appointment at Garden City where she was told to come back the next day.
“I went back, stood in line in the freezing cold for over an hour with my grandparents who are in their 80’s,” Harwood said. “We get there, we finally get up and I was told that they are no longer doing any tests for possible exposure.”
Next, she went to the Convention Center.
“When I finally got to the convention center, I guess they changed protocols. You used to be able to just drive up and now you have to make an appointment. It took me until Friday to get an appointment and that was from Monday.”
Test results were back within a day, but at that point she had been out of work for a week. ABC 6 News spoke to several other people who experienced a delay in scheduling an appointment as well.
To schedule a test or view available test sites, head to: https://health.ri.gov/covid/testing/