Temporary COVID-19 Testing to Close
As a result of COVID-19 community levels trending downward, the COVID-19 test sites that RIDOH temporarily set up in Providence and Kent counties will close at the end of the week. The last day of testing will be Saturday, Jan. 28. To view this week's schedule, please visit https://bit.ly/3XfkK7Z or view the banner at the top of covid.ri.gov.
COVID-19 test sites were set up in Providence and West Warwick as a temporary measure to address the post-holiday increase in cases. According to the latest data, no Rhode Island counties are currently in the high COVID-19 community level. All five counties are currently in the medium community level. Data show that cases will likely continue to go down. However, people should still take steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:
COVID-19 testing is still available at many local pharmacies, clinics, and primary care offices for those who have symptoms or need to get tested after an exposure. 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. For more information about locations that offer COVID-19 testing services and where you can get free self-tests, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.
New CDC COVID-19 Testing Resource
This week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the COVID-19 Testing Locator website, which helps people find free COVID-19 testing sites near them. The locator is part of the CDC Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program, which provides access to COVID-19 testing, focusing on communities at a greater risk of being impacted by the pandemic, people who do not have health insurance, and surge testing in state and local jurisdiction.
Office of Immunization Updates
Personal Stories of Families Impacted by Vaccine Preventable Disease
Vaccines help prevent different infectious diseases. Before we had vaccines, many infectious diseases devastated communities across the globe. Misinformation about vaccines has helped some of these vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, come back. Texas Children’s Hospital put together an Immunization Project to highlight personal stories of families impacted by vaccine-preventable diseases.
CDC: How Vaccine Recommendations are Made
The CDC recently released this video outlining the role of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in vaccine recommendation. It also provides information on the development and approval process for vaccine recommendations.
Substance Use and Overdose Prevention Updates
Notice of Change to Data Waiver Program for Prescribing Buprenorphine
Last month, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act [health.us2.list-manage.com] into law. This Act includes three bills intended to greatly improve treatment for people who have substance use disorder (SUD). In a related development, this Act eliminated the federal requirement for practitioners to have a DATA waiver to prescribe medications, like buprenorphine, for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). For more information, see RIDOH’s Provider Advisory.
Governor’s Task Force Newsletter for January
The January Governor’s Overdose Task Force Newsletter features meeting highlights, such as presentations on stimulant dispensing trends and stimulant use treatment, PreventOverdoseRI’s new xylazine webpage, information about President Biden’s Consolidated Appropriations Act to improve treatment for substance use disorder, and other news. https://bit.ly/3XhSlys
If you or someone you know would like to sign up to receive this newsletter, please share this link: bit.ly/3C4FHLB
Updates from the Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response
Protect Your Health During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
It is officially winter, which might mean snow a very low temperatures. Winter storms and extreme cold can have negative impacts on people’s health. There are steps you can take before, during, and after winter storms or extreme cold to protect your health.
- Know the signs of and treatments for cold-related illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite: https://health.ri.gov/seasonal/winter/
- Know the signs of and how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: https://health.ri.gov/healthrisks/poisoning/carbonmonoxide/
- Wear layers when going outside. Limit exposure of your skin to the cold.
- Avoid drinking alcohol as it can lower the body’s ability to keep warm
- Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency
- Check on older family, friends, and relatives. Older adults are especially at risk for health problems when it is very hot or very cold.
- Be careful not to overexert yourself when shoveling snow. Stay hydrated.
- Do not run your vehicle until exhaust pipes have been cleared of snow.
- De-ice the sidewalk, driveway, and any well-traveled areas outside of your home. This helps to prevent slips and falls.