Official State of Rhode Island website
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s for Rhode Island residents
For immediate assistance with COVID-19 inquiries, please call the COVID-19 Information Line at 401-222-8022, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or email our new inbox at [email protected]. For all other inquiries, please call the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or email [email protected].
Click here to subscribe to RIDOH's Provider Briefing.
Click here for a searchable list of COVID-19 publications for healthcare providers.
Additional information about visitation for nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric residential treatment facilities is available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
There are three authorized treatments for people who test positive for COVID-19.
Paxlovid is an oral antiviral and is the preferred treatment for COVID-19. Patients who cannot take Paxlovid should be considered for intravenous (IV) Remdesivir. Molnupiravir should be considered when Paxlovid and Remdesivir are unavailable to the patient.
Treatment is most important for people at high risk for progressing to severe disease and/or hospitalization.
For details on medical conditions and other factors associated with increased risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including race and ethnicity, review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s People with Certain Medical Conditions website.
Who: Paxlovid is available for outpatients age 12 and older who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and who started having mild to moderate symptoms in the last five days. (Please note that a positive COVID-19 test is no longer required to prescribe Paxlovid.)
When: To make sure treatment is effective, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Providers should encourage patients who are diagnosed with COVID-19 to learn about treatment options.
How: Paxlovid is available in certain pharmacies across the state. To view current availability before submitting a script to a participating pharmacy in Rhode Island, go to the HHS COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator. This website is updated every 24 hours.
Who: Intravenous (IV) Remdesivir is available for those who test positive for COVID-19, started having mild to moderate symptoms in the last seven days, and are not a candidate for Paxlovid to treat COVID-19. Children who test positive for COVID-19, are age 28 days or older, weigh 3 kg (approximately 6.5 pounds) or more, and have had mild to moderate symptoms in the last seven days, are also eligible for treatment.
When: Remdesivir is highly effective when administered within seven days of symptom onset. This treatment must be administered by IV over three days.
Who: Molnupiravir is available for outpatients age 18 or older who test positive for COVID-19, who started having mild to moderate symptoms in the last five days, and who are not candidates for Paxlovid or Remdesivir.
How: Molnupiravir is available in certain pharmacies across the state. To view current availability before submitting a script to a participating pharmacy in Rhode Island, go to the HHS COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator. This website is updated every 24 hours.
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) recommends COVID-19 testing for patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
RIDOH strongly recommends that healthcare providers offer on-site COVID-19 testing to their patients for three reasons:
Primary care providers can offer PCR specimen collection or point-of-care antigen testing to test their patients for COVID-19.
Providers interested in collecting PCR specimens should reach out to their partner laboratories to determine if they provide this service. Most clinical laboratories in Rhode Island can test respiratory specimens for COVID-19.
Primary care providers and respiratory clinics that are already performing in-office PCR specimen collection and sending tests to a laboratory for processing should order tests according to the office’s or laboratory’s protocol.
Point-of-care antigen tests are a fast and easy way to test your patients for COVID-19 in your office. Any office can procure rapid antigen test kits themselves through medical supply vendors. Most of them are relatively inexpensive to purchase and can be reimbursed through insurance.
Outpatient healthcare providers who don’t offer in-office specimen collection or point-of-care antigen testing can direct patients to a local pharmacy or respiratory clinic. Patients may also test themselves for COVID-19 at home.
For more information about COVID-19 testing options in Rhode Island and to find the test site closest to you, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.
CDC’s Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program supports free COVID-19 testing for people who have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. To find an ICATT site near you, visit cdc.gov/icatt/AboutICATT.html.
Rhode Island also has several Test to Treat sites, where patients can get tested for COVID-19 and, if they’re positive and eligible, get a prescription for treatment all at one location. To find a Test to Treat site near you, visit aspr.hhs.gov/TestToTreat.
Exposure, quarantine, and isolation for healthcare workers:
The following resources and tools help providers assess whether a staff member or patient who tests positive for COVID-19 may have exposed others in the practice. RIDOH encourages practices to use these tools to identify and inform staff and patients who are close contacts and should quarantine, and to instruct them to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days from exposure.
Isolation for patients:
RIDOH is partnering with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to provide medical respite housing to people who are housing insecure or homeless and who need a place to isolate because of an infectious disease, like COVID-19. A limited number of medical respite beds are dedicated for isolation because of infectious disease.
Providers can refer patients for consideration for a medical respite isolation bed using the Medical Respite Pilot Program Isolation Support Referral Form.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death is to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. Rhode Island regulations (216-RICR-20-15-7) require that healthcare workers or assisted living residence workers shall be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, meaning a person has received all recommended doses of COVID-19—including a booster dose when eligible—or wear a National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 mask while working in healthcare facilities during a period in which the COVID-19 prevalence rate in the State is greater than or equal to 50 cases per 100,000 people per week.
For more information on these regulations, please see the covid.ri.gov page on Healthcare Worker Vaccine Requirements.
Healthcare providers who offer rapid tests to their patients should report positive results to RIDOH within 24 hours. If you need help reporting your patient results, please email [email protected].
All other settings that offer rapid tests onsite (e.g., long-term care settings, group homes, shelters, corrections and detention facilities) should report test results through their respective portals.
For information about how to access the respective POC results reporting portals for these special settings, email [email protected].
New users will require login credentials as well as initial training.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends reporting of MIS-C and MIS-A. Clinical criteria for each condition follows. Report cases to Rhode Island’s Center for Acute Infectious Disease Epidemiology by calling 401-222-2577 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If after hours, please call RIDOH’s answering service at 401-276-8046 to connect with the medical staff on call.
MIS-C is a condition associated with infection from COVID-19. Clinical criteria for MIS-C diagnosis include:
Click here for clinical information from Hasbro Children's Hospital and additional resources on MIS-C.
MIS-A is a condition similar to MIS-C, but in adults. For the MIS-A case definition, providers can use either the same definition for MIS-C or the definition used in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) series.
The MIS-A case definition used in the report includes the following five criteria:
Long COVID, also known as "long haul" COVID, has been described as subacute and chronic multi-system post-infectious sequelae of acute COVID-19 infection. It is distinct from MIS-C and MIS-A.
For specialty care of patients with Long COVID, primary care providers can refer their patients to the Infectious Disease and Immunology Clinic at Lifespan.
CDC, Evaluating and Caring for Patients with Post-COVID Conditions: Interim Guidance
Oral healthcare is recognized as an essential component of overall health. It’s critical that infection prevention and control practices are in place to protect the health and safety of patients and dental healthcare personnel (DHCP). We continue to learn about the transmission and severity of COVID-19 and the implications for dental practice. DHCP have a very high potential for exposure to COVID-19 if performing certain aerosol-generating procedures on known or suspected COVID-19 patients. Therefore, when providing care, these patients should be isolated in a room with effective ventilation.
Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and DHCP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a framework for healthcare personnel and healthcare systems for delivery of non-emergent care during the COVID-19 pandemic. DHCP should use their clinical judgment in determining those procedures that can be performed safely and effectively at this time. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) recommends continued review of Guidance for Healthcare Personnel from CDC for guidance on screening, source control, use of personal protective equipment, and more, and defers to this guidance in areas of question.
Individual dental practices should review guidance for healthcare providers and dental-specific information below and customize it for their clinical setting. This guidance represents suggested minimum standards, and some practices will choose to exceed these standards. For example, practices treating vulnerable patients, including older adults at greater risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, should use effective source control, including N-95 respirators, when caring for unmasked high-risk patients.
Place signs and posters at facility entrances and in strategic places, such as restrooms, registration desks, waiting rooms, and exam rooms, providing instruction on washing hands, wearing face coverings, and cough etiquette.
Individual healthcare facilities can choose whether to require the use of face masks outside of the clinical areas. RIDOH recommends wearing a mask in all healthcare settings when community transmission rates of COVID-19 are high (greater than or equal to 100/100,000 people) and more routinely when interacting with patients likely to have chronic illness.
Fundamental to safe practice is effective ventilation. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers has provided information on dental office design to reduce airborne disease transmission.
Questions are welcome and answered via email at [email protected].
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