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CORONAVIRUS

Rhode Island scales back its COVID-19 testing strategy

By the end of June, more than a dozen sites will stop offering testing

Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — With more than half the state’s population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and the number of new confirmed cases falling, Rhode Island is scaling back its COVID-19 testing program, the state Department of Health announced Monday.

The state was testing about 125,000 people per week in April, but that has since fallen to about 50,000 per week.

By the end of the month, more than a dozen sites will stop offering testing, and be consolidated into 25 sites throughout the state so all residents have convenient access to free testing.

The state is also offering mobile and popup testing in places where it is needed most, like schools, communities with low vaccination rates, travel destinations, and in places experiencing outbreaks.

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Retail pharmacies and medical offices will also continue to offer testing.

“The COVID-19 positivity rate in Rhode Island has gone down and vaccination rates are among the highest in the nation,” department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said in a statement. “But the pandemic is not over, and Rhode Islanders need to remain vigilant. COVID-19 testing will continue to be a critical tool in identifying disease and preventing outbreaks.”

The state still has the ability to ramp up testing capacity if needed.