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September 1, 2022


Rhode Island COVID-19 Partner Update

Updated Guidance for People Who Have COVID-19 or Were Recently Exposed

Rhode Island has recently adopted updated guidance for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Highlights of the updated guidance include:

  • You no longer need to quarantine if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, unless you’re hospitalized or a resident of a congregate care setting.
  • If you have symptoms or test positive after you’ve gotten any COVID-19 vaccine, you still should isolate at home for at least 5 days.

After you have ended isolation at home:
  • Wear your mask through day 10, OR
  • If you have access to self-tests, consider using them. If you get two negative test results 48 hours apart, you may remove your mask sooner than day 10. 
    • If your self-test results are positive, you may still be infectious. You should continue wearing a mask and wait at least 48 hours before taking another test. Continue taking antigen tests at least 48 hours apart until you have two sequential negative results. This may mean you need to continue wearing a mask and testing beyond day 10.
  • Regardless of when you end isolation, avoid being around people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 until at least day 11.

Rhode Island has shared updated information on Review more detailed guidance on isolation for different populations, and related guidance from the CDC.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommends Novavax’s COVID-19 Vaccine for People Age 12 through 17 

On August 22, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for use by people age 12 through 17. Before this recommendation, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine was authorized for use by people age 18 or older only.
Novavax is a fourth option for COVID-19 vaccines following the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the Johnson & Johnson viral vector vaccine. 
Novavax is a protein-based vaccine that requires two doses. Most people should get their second dose between three and eight weeks after their first dose. People who have compromised immune systems should get their second dose three weeks after their first dose. People who get Novavax are considered up to date two weeks after their second dose. Boosters are not currently recommended for anyone who gets the Novavax COVID-19 primary series.

COVID-19 Testing Update

The federal program that delivers free COVID-19 self-test kits through the mail will be suspended on Friday, September 2. For more information, visit

Kits that you can use to test yourself for COVID-19 are still available at local pharmacies and through online retailers. Local community-based organizations and schools may also distribute free COVID-19 self-test kits to their community. 
Note: The federal program that provides free COVID-19 tests to people who are blind or have low vision is not being suspended on September 2. Orders will be accepted while supplies last. Visit this web page to learn more.
Where can I get a free COVID-19 self-test kit?
Rhode Island has provided thousands of COVID-19 self-test kits to cities, towns, schools, and community-based organizations. Your local municipality or school district will share information about where and when distributions may take place.  
I bought a COVID-19 self-test kit. How can I get reimbursed?
You can buy kits to test yourself for COVID-19 at local pharmacies and through online retailers. Sometimes a COVID-19 self-test is also called an at-home test or an over-the counter (OTC) test. Private health insurers are required to cover the cost of up to eight tests per month. Every insurer is different. Check your insurance company’s policy to see how you can get reimbursed or if you need to file a claim. 
Medicare enrollees won’t have the same reimbursement policy as people with private insurance. But those who have Medicare Advantage should ask if their plans cover the cost of COVID-19 self-tests. Medicare enrollees can get free at-home tests from community health centers or Medicare-certified health clinics.
State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) programs are required to cover at-home COVID tests with no out-of-pocket costs under the American Rescue Plan Act. 
For more information about how to get reimbursed for the cost of your self-test kit, visit this web page.  

Substance Abuse Prevention Update

Provider Advisory With Updates from testRI  

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), in partnership with Brown University School of Public Health, recently introduced testRI, a two-year research study to find out what is in the local drug supply in Rhode Island and how changes to the supply are impacting people who use drugs in our communities.

The testRI research team tests used equipment, like pipes and syringes, that are collected from the community or donated by individuals or local organizations. Samples are tested using advanced confirmatory toxicology testing (LC-QTOF-MS). Data from all samples tested in the study can be found on Rhode Island’s overdose information website and data dashboard,

RIDOH sent a Provider Advisory on August 24 to all physicians PCPs, SNTs, ED Nurse Managers, and licensed social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, chemical dependance professionals, nurses, physicians (emergency departments), and nurses (advanced practice).

Fentanyl was found in samples sold as cocaine and methamphetamine in the local drug supply in Rhode Island in June and July. To read the Provider Advisory and see details about local testing from June and July, click here

Community Support, Bereavement and Counseling Resources are Available 

People of all ages are affected by substance use – either personally or through a loved one.  Whether children, teens, or adults, there are several peer support, bereavement, and counseling resources that can help.  Don’t hesitate to contact one of them today. 

  • Seven Challenges offers a comprehensive counseling program for youth and young adults age 12 to 25 who have a substance use condition. This program is designed to motivate individuals to evaluate their lives, consider changes they may wish to make, and implement these changes toward desired outcomes. Program settings include a school or home, community health site, and outpatient services as well as a group home.
  • The Family Task Force provides support, education, and advocacy for substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. 
  • Resources Education Support Together (REST) offers connection to individuals and families who are experiencing a substance use condition. This group provides education and support from fellow Rhode Islanders who understand.
  • Parent Support Network of Rhode Island (PSNRI) empowers families, children, youth, and individuals through education and advocacy. PSNRI aims to prevent abuse and neglect, reduce health disparities, and progress toward universal health, wellness, and recovery. Learn more about upcoming support meetings.
  • Friends Way provides peer support bereavement groups for children and teens who have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives.
  • Download these printable bereavement, peer support, and counseling services resource listings for your patients (EnglishCape Verdean PortugueseEuropean PortugueseSpanish), or order the materials free of charge from RIDOH’s Distribution Center.

Next Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Meeting

Save the date: the next meeting of the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force will take place on Wednesday, September 14 at 11 a.m. on Zoom.  Visit PreventOverdoseRI for meeting details.

Download RIDOH’s Latest Podcast

Do you have questions about monkeypox or the JYENNEOS  vaccine? Download the season 2 finale of the Public Health Out Loud podcast to get answers. Co-hosts Dr. Jim McDonald and Dr. Philip Chan talk about the origins of monkeypox, how it’s spread, and how to protect yourself. They also talk about the JYNNEOS vaccine, and how Rhode Island is administering it. Get the facts about monkeypox from our public health experts so you can recognize misinformation when it’s circulating online. Click here to listen now.

To learn more about Rhode Island’s monkeypox vaccination strategy or to sign up for the Vaccine Interest Notification List, visit

Thank you for listening to season 2 of Public Health Out Loud! Subscribe to the podcast and follow the Rhode Island Department of Health on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates on season 3.  


Press releases from the Governor’s Office:
Recent executive orders:
COVID-19 school and child care guidance:
COVID-19 case and vaccination data for children and schools:
COVID-19 prevention guidance:
COVID-19 testing information:
COVID-19 vaccination information:
COVID-19 Information for healthcare professionals:
COVID-19 information for the public:
COVID-19 publications and resources:
COVID-19 information for workplaces:  and
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 © 2022 The Rhode Island Department of Health, All rights reserved.

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