COVID-19 Testing in Rhode Island

The Delta variant is much more aggressive than other variants we’ve seen because it spreads more easily and quickly and may cause more serious illness. 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.

Who should get a COVID-19 test?

If you're not yet fully vaccinated, get tested every week. 

Whether or not you're vaccinated, get tested if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You’ve been identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • You’ve taken part in activities that put you at higher risk for COVID-19 because you can't physically distance as needed to avoid exposure. Higher-risk activities include travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings.

You're fully vaccinated if you’ve gotten all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 14 days have passed since the final dose. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

How can I get a COVID-19 test?

There are several ways to get tested for COVID-19 in Rhode Island.  Click here or on the map to find the test site closest to you.

covid testing site locator

How can I schedule a COVID-19 test at a State-run test site?

Click here to schedule a free COVID-19 test on portal.ri.gov.

All Rhode Islanders can schedule a free COVID-19 test for themselves or their dependent child online at portal.ri.gov or by calling 401-222-8022. This list has more information about each State-run test site.

  • Some State-run test sites are walk-through, and others are drive-through. 
  • You do not need insurance or identification to get tested at a State-run site. 
  • You do not need an appointment to get tested at a mobile test site in your community.
  • Results from any State-run test sites can be accessed on portal.ri.gov/results. Some test results may be slightly delayed when the volume at State-run COVID-19 test sites increases, like before or after a holiday, after test sites are closed, or when demand for testing is high. Learn more about COVID-19 test results. 

What type of test will I get at a State-run test site?

When you arrive at a State-run test site, a staff member will ask if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you will be offered PCR testing. PCR tests are sent to a lab for processing.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will get swabbed twice to collect two specimens. The first swab will be a rapid antigen test. The second swab will be sent to a lab if needed.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and your rapid antigen test result is positive, your confirmatory PCR test may not be sent to the lab. You have COVID-19 and should isolate at home.  
  • If you have symptoms and your rapid antigen test result is negative, your PCR test will be sent to the lab to confirm your rapid results. You should isolate at home while you wait for your PCR test results.

Who should get a rapid antigen test?

Rapid antigen tests are a fast way to test for COVID-19 infection. According to the CDC, antigen tests perform best in symptomatic people and within a certain number of days since symptom onset. If you receive a rapid antigen test, you may need to get a lab-processed test to confirm your results. 

At State-run test sites, symptomatic patients will get swabbed twice to collect two specimens. The first swab will be a rapid antigen test and you will get the result in the same day. The second swab will be a PCR test and it will only be sent to a lab if needed.

At State-run test sites, asymptomatic patients will be offered PCR testing only. PCR tests are sent to a lab for processing and results are ready in one to two days.

Should I get a lab-processed test to confirm the results of my rapid antigen test?

RIDOH recommends confirmatory testing if: 

  • You have symptoms and get a negative result on your rapid antigen test. 
  • You do not have symptoms and get a positive result on your rapid antigen test. 

RIDOH does not recommend confirmatory testing if: 

  • You have symptoms and get a positive result on your rapid antigen test. 
  • You do not have symptoms and get a negative result on your rapid antigen test. 

Your confirmatory test must be a lab-processed nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. You cannot use a rapid NAAT or PCR test or an at-home NAAT or PCR test to confirm your rapid antigen test result. 

Any State-run test site can give you a PCR test to confirm your rapid antigen test result. If you leave the test site before your rapid antigen test result is ready, you can schedule a follow-up PCR test at portal.ri.gov or by calling 401-222-8022.  

PCR tests are sent to a lab. Results are usually ready in 1 to 2 days on portal.ri.gov/results. It is very important that you stay home and away from others as much as possible while you wait for your results. Do not go to school or work. 

If your confirmatory test result is negative, you are not infected with COVID-19 and may return to school or work. Contact tracing is not needed. Close contacts do not need to quarantine. 

If your confirmatory test result is positive, you have COVID-19 and should isolate at home. Contact tracing is needed. Close contacts should quarantine. More information is available at covid.ri.gov/whattodo. 

If you got your rapid antigen test at a Pre K-12 school, you can go to any State-run test site to get your confirmatory test. Learn more about testing Pre K-12 students and staff. 

It is highly recommended that you get your confirmatory test on the same day you had your rapid antigen test.  If you do not get your recommended confirmatory test within 48 hours after your rapid antigen test, RIDOH will consider your positive rapid antigen test result final and start contact tracing. 

People who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must get tested whether or not they’re fully vaccinated. Close contact means you’ve been within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.

  • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated must get tested immediately and, if the result is negative, get tested again 5 to 7 days after exposure or if symptoms develop during quarantine. 
  • Fully vaccinated close contacts must get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they get a negative test result.

Whether or not you're vaccinated, watch for symptoms for 14 days after close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, isolate at home, call your healthcare provider, and get tested.

If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive, you cannot use an at-home test to shorten quarantine. Self-schedule a COVID-19 test at a pharmacy, respiratory clinic, or State-run test site or contact your healthcare provider to get tested. 

Learn more about close contact quarantine requirements. 

To lower the chances of catching and spreading COVID-19, RIDOH recommends all travelers arriving in Rhode Island follow quarantine and testing guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Learn more about Rhode Island’s guidance for travelers.  

If you plan to travel, check with the health department in the state or country you are traveling to for quarantine and testing guidance.

If you are using an at-home test because you plan to travel out of state, check with the department of health in the state or country you are traveling to for quarantine and testing requirements. Some states, countries, or airlines may not accept at-home tests as proof of a negative result. 

Rhode Islanders travelling to Hawaii should schedule a COVID-19 test at a location that meets Hawaii’s travel partner criteria