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January 13, 2023


Rhode Island Community Partner Update


CDC Updates COVID-19 Community Levels for Rhode Island Counties

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the weekly COVID-19 Community Levels for Rhode Island’s counties. Four Rhode Island counties are designated as “medium” – Bristol County, Washington County, Newport County, and Kent County. One Rhode Island county is designated as “high” - Providence County.

Regardless of the community you live in, everyone should take certain prevention measures to stay healthy and safe. 
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccination, including recommended booster doses. 
  • Ventilate indoor spaces as well as possible. 
  • Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. 
  • Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19. 
  • Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19. 
  • If you are at high risk of getting very sick, talk with a healthcare provider about additional prevention actions. 
CDC recommends that people in “medium” counties consider self-testing and masking when around those who are at high risk for getting very sick. CDC recommends that people in “high” counties wear high-quality masks while in crowded, indoor public settings. (This is a recommendation, not a requirement.) The full recommendations by community level from the CDC are available online. 

Testing Update
RIDOH Opens Free Community COVID-19 Testing Sites in Some Communities

As a result of one county still remaining at the high COVID-19 Community Level, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is offering free, COVID-19 testing services in some high-density communities that have been impacted by the recent surge. No appointment is necessary.
Currently, RIDOH is offering COVID-19 testing at:  
  • Scalabrini Dukcevich Center: 300 Laurel Hill Ave. Providence, RI 02909 
  • South Providence Library: 441 Prairie Ave. Providence, RI 02905 
  • Washington Park Library: 1316 Broad St. Providence, RI 02905 
  • West Warwick Public Library: 1043 Main St. West Warwick, RI 02893 
  • Providence Public Library: 150 Empire St. Providence, RI 02903 
Testing is located at community-based organizations in ZIP codes that have been identified as high-density communities. Testing at these locations is intended for people in the local community. The updated list of Mobile COVID-19 Testing Sites and Schedules can be found here.
COVID-19 testing is available at many other locations across the state, like pharmacies, clinics, and doctors’ offices. You can also test yourself for COVID-19 at home. Federal programs are available to support free COVID-19 testing and treatment for people who are sick. 
  • 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  
  • 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
  • For more information about locations that offer COVID-19 testing services and where you can get free self-tests, visit
Precautions for Schools as CDC Updates Community Levels

With one Rhode Island county still at high community levels, schools are urged to put extra prevention measures in place. On top of the CDC’s recommended individual-level precautions, schools in counties that have been designated as high may take additional steps, such as:
  • Putting masking policies in place.
  • Doing screening testing, particularly after breaks and for high-risk activities (such as close contact sports, choir, and band).  

Any school policies are at the discretion of the school district. For more information about COVID-19 community levels and steps you can take to help stop the spread, please see RIDOH’s announcement and visit Additionally, view Rhode Island’s PreK-12 COVID-19 Playbook here.

Substance Use and Overdose Prevention Update
Information About Xylazine Now Available on PORI website 

Information about xylazine, a powerful veterinary tranquilizer that is showing up in the local drug supply in combination with fentanyl, is now available on a dedicated page on the (PORI) website. The page can be found under the “Learn More” tab: Learn About Xylazine – Prevent Overdose RI 

“Alcohol and Health” Report Show Dangers of Excessive Drinking  
A report, “Alcohol and Health: Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use Among Adults,” written by Emily Ledingham, alcohol epidemiologist with RIDOH’s Substance Use Epidemiology Program, outlines the dangers of excessive drinking and provides the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines on alcohol for Americans and tips for preventing excessive alcohol use. It can be viewed on the RIDOH SUEP webpage under “Program Publications.” 

Check Out the December Newsletter
The December Governor’s Overdose Task Force Newsletter features meeting highlights, such as a review of the Task Force Strategic Plan Metrics and Future Directions; a Year in Review: Highlights from the Task Force Strategic Plan Pillars; updates on a statewide public awareness campaign; recent testRI findings; and other news.  

If you or someone you know would like to sign up to receive this newsletter, please share this link: 


Press releases from the Governor’s Office:
Recent executive orders:
COVID-19 prevention guidance:
COVID-19 testing information:
COVID-19 vaccination information:
COVID-19 Information for Parents and Schools:
COVID-19 publications and resources:
COVID-19 resources in multiple languages:
CDC COVID-19 information:
Project Firstline Rhode Island: 

Social media platforms:

To view all past publications and to subscribe to our distribution list to receive future communications visit the COVID-19 Periodic Briefings, Advisories, and Updates webpage at

Please contact RIDOH Infectious Disease Communications Coordinator Aaron Frechette ( for assistance with educational materials and communication resources. Please contact the RIDOH COVID-19 Information Line at 401-222-8022, or email, with any other questions.
Copyright © 2023 The Rhode Island Department of Health, All rights reserved.

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