Rhode Islanders wait in line up to 10 hours for COVID test

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – The demand to get a COVID-19 test has spiked in recent weeks and because of this, testing sites are overwhelmed.

CareWell Urgent Care in Warwick is one of the few places you can get a rapid test without an appointment.

The CEO and President of CareWell, Shaun Ginter, said the demand for their services has grown 300% since May.

“We just can’t hire enough people fast enough to keep up with the demand,” said Ginter. “We’re doing our best to work as quickly as we can, but yes, some days the patient demand can cause some pretty long wait times.”

The wait time for some patients has been as long as 10 hours.

“People get here at like five in the morning, sit in lawn chairs, and wait for them to open,” said Coventry resident Tressie Seymour.

She went to CareWell to get tested after developing a sore throat and cough. The center opens at 8:00 a.m., Seymour arrived at 8:45 a.m. to an extensive line.

“Now it’s going on seven hours that I’ve been waiting in my car to get a rapid test,” Seymour told ABC6 while waiting in line.

In total, she waited 10 hours for the test.

“We don’t want anybody to wait that long, but we do have capacity and restrictions within the system,” said Ginter.

Seymour said she tested negative for the coronavirus, but positive for strep. She said she was extremely frustrated with how long she had to wait to find this out.

“They tell you to go get tested but they make it nearly impossible for you to get tested,” said Seymour.

Ginter said as an alternative to waiting in cars, patients can register into a virtual waiting room and wait at home until it’s time for their appointment. Seymour said she was not given that option and was told not to leave the parking lot.

“I think we just need everybody to be calm and understanding and work with us,” said Ginter.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island