COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Kona & Waikoloa Announced

Premier Medical Group, with the support of the County of Hawai‘i, Hope Services and the Hawaii National Guard, will offer a drive-through screening and testing clinics for COVID-19 at Old Kona Airport Park in the Kekua‘okalani Gym/KCAC parking lot on Friday, May 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at Kamakoa Nui Park in Waikoloa on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entrance is from Kamakoa Drive, at the end of Paniolo Avenue.

These free clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinics will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing will also be available at the testing clinics. Antibody testing can determine if you have previously had COVID-19. 

Antibody testing will be offered only to those previously identified as having had the Coronavirus, or those with high risk exposures, including healthcare workers, first responders, and family members or those with close contact to known positives. A simple blood draw detects the presence of SARS-Cov2 IgG antibodies in your system. 

Note: there is a $43 out-of-pocket cost to people whose medical insurance plans do not cover the antibody test. Call your insurance provider to find out if you’re covered.

For further information, call Premier Medical Group at (808) 304-9745 or Hawaii County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

COVID-19 Testing Capacity Up to Total of 3,620 Tests Daily in All Four Counties

In-state COVID-19 testing capabilities have been a top concern throughout the pandemic, but an assessment of statewide testing capacity this week shows there are ample supplies of tests that can be conducted in Hawai‘i. 

It means Hawai‘i residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Healthcare providers can now consider testing patients whom they suspect may be infected to ensure rapid identification of cases. This is a shift in the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s earlier guidance that required specific symptoms and epidemiological criteria before testing.

In the past three weeks, the number of sites conducting tests has increased from five to 11, and testing is now available in all four counties, including on all of the Neighbor Islands.

One of the critical requirements for the state to confidently and safely continue its path to fully reopen is readily accessible COVID-19 tests for all who meet recommended testing criteria, with test results available within 48 hours.

According to data compiled by DOH, as of Monday, May 18, Hawai‘i has more than 38,300 tests on hand for COVID-19 tests and is performing an average of 690 tests each day, with test results available the same day or by the next day. The maximum turnaround time is three days. The number of staff trained to perform the tests has also doubled, jumping from 68 to 135 within the past month.

“The compilation of data provides a realistic snapshot of the state’s overall testing capacity,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division (SLD) administrator, who compiled the data. “If necessary, the state has the capability to cumulatively ramp up to 3,620 tests a day, and this number is expected to significantly increase over the next three weeks.

In addition to the SLD, 10 laboratories (three public health and seven private sector) and healthcare facilities on O‘ahu and the neighbor islands currently are testing collected specimens. Private laboratories include Clinical Labs of Hawaii, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, and S&G Labs in Kona. Healthcare facilities include Kaiser Permanente and Adventist Health Castle.

Desmond added Hawai‘i initially sent tests to mainland labs to determine if individuals were COVID-19 positive and there was a backlog and results could take up to a week to receive.

“As a state, we’ve come a long way in a relatively short time to become more self-sufficient,” he said. “We initially had several hundred specimens waiting to be tested at mainland labs. That number has dropped to just 60 outstanding, untested specimens because our need to send samples to the mainland has been greatly reduced because of our in-state capabilities.”

Hawaii to Receive Over $62 Million for COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delivering $11 billion in new funding to support testing for COVID-19.

Hawaii’s total share of this funding is $62,676,098.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10.25 billion to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC) cooperative agreement.  The Indian Health Service (IHS) will provide $750 million to IHS, tribal, and urban Indian Health programs to expand testing capacity and testing-related activities. A detailed allocation and distribution methodology will be announced for the IHS funds in the coming days. This funding is part of the Trump Administration’s broader effort to ensure that states, territories, and tribes have the resources necessary to meet their testing goals as they begin to reopen.

This funding from the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act will provide critical support to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, conduct surveillance, trace contacts, and related activities. These funds, along with the previous funding support CDC and IHS provided, will help states, tribes, and territories with their efforts to re-open America.

“This funding secured by President Trump for state, tribal, and local public health activities is a historic investment in America’s ability to track and control the spread of the virus, which is essential to a safe reopening,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “For the sake of all Americans’ health and well-being, we must help Americans get safely back to work and school, and that requires continued expansion of testing, surveillance, and contact tracing. The Trump Administration stands ready to support and guide states in their life-saving work to combat the virus and reopen our country.”

“As the Nation cautiously begins the phased approach to reopening, this considerable investment in expanding both testing and contact tracing capacity for states, localities, territories and tribal communities is essential,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “Readily accessible testing is a critical component of a four-pronged public health strategy – including rigorous contact tracing, isolation of confirmed cases, and quarantine.  As communities move toward a blended mitigation and containment strategy, I encourage all Americans to continue to embrace powerful public health measures – social distancing, hand washing and face coverings. We are not defenseless in the battle against this pandemic.”

“These resources will greatly expand testing capacity at federal, tribal, and urban Indian organization facilities throughout the Indian health system,” said IHS Director Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee. “Testing is critical to our public health response as we work to defeat this pandemic.”

Each Governor or designee of each State, locality, territory, tribe, or tribal organization receiving funds shall submit to HHS its plan for COVID-19 testing, including goals for the remainder of calendar year 2020, to include:

  • Number of tests needed, month-by-month to include diagnostic, serological, and other tests, as appropriate
  • Month-by-month estimates of laboratory and testing capacity, including related to workforce, equipment and supplies, and available tests
  • Description of how the resources will be used for testing, including easing any COVID-19 community mitigation policies

Jurisdictions will use the funding they receive to meet the testing goals laid out in their COVID-19 testing plans, including purchasing supplies (such as test kits and other testing supplies, as necessary).

To view the list of funding recipients, visit herepdf icon.

For more information about CDC’s ongoing support to States, visit this CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/open-america/index.html

For more information about how IHS is responding to COVID-19 in Indian Country, visit this IHS website: https://www.ihs.gov/coronavirus/external icon

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing Next Week

Premier Medical Group, with the support of The County of Hawai’i, Hope Services and the Hawaii National Guard, will offer free drive-through screenings and testing clinics at Hilo’s Civic Auditorium on Monday, May 18 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Access through the Manono Street entrance. They will also offer them at the Pāhoa District Park on Wednesday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

These clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing will also be available at the Pahoa testing clinic. Antibody testing can determine if you have previously had COVID-19. Drive-through antibody testing is available nowhere else in the state. 

Antibody testing will be offered only to those previously identified as having had the Coronavirus, or those with high risk exposures, including healthcare workers, first responders, and family members or those with close contact to known positives. A simple blood draw detects the presence of SARS-Cov2 IgG antibodies in your system. 

Note: there is a $43 out-of-pocket cost to people whose medical insurance plans do not cover the antibody test. Call your insurance provider to find out if you’re covered.

For further information, please call Premier Medical Group at 808-304-9745 or Hawaii County Civil Defense at 935-0031.

County Announces More COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing Locations

Premier Medical Group, with the support of the County of Hawai‘i, Hope Services and the Hawaii National Guard will offer a free COVID-19 drive-through screening and testing clinics at the following locations and days:

  • Pahoa District Park, 15-3022 Kauhale Street, Pāhoa, on Wednesday, May 13 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
  • Waimea District Park in Kamuela on Friday, May 15 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. 
  • Kamehameha Park in Kapa‘au, North Kohala, on Saturday, May 16 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. 

These clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required. 

Antibody Testing

Antibody testing will also be available at the North Kohala testing clinic. Antibody testing can determine if you have previously had COVID-19. Drive-through antibody testing is available nowhere else in the state. 

Antibody testing will be offered only to those previously identified as having had the Coronavirus, or those with high risk exposures, including healthcare workers, first responders, and family members or those with close contact to known positives. A simple blood draw detects the presence of SARS-Cov2 IgG antibodies in your system. 

Note: There is a $43 out-of-pocket cost to people whose medical insurance plans do not cover the antibody test. Call your insurance provider to find out if you’re covered.

For further information, please call Premier Medical Group at 808-304-9745 or Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Big Island COVID-19 Antibody Testing Friday, Saturday & Monday

Premier Medical Group and the County of Hawai‘i are offering antibody testing at their Waimea, North Kohala and Hilo testing clinics. Antibody testing can determine if you have previously had COVID-19. Drive-through antibody testing is available nowhere else in the state. 

The next clinics that will offer antibody testing are:

• Waimea District Park — Friday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
• North Kohala (Kamehameha Park) — Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• Hilo (behind the Civic) — Monday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Antibody testing will be offered only to those previously identified as having had the Coronavirus, or those with high risk exposures, including healthcare workers, first responders, and family members or those with close contact to known positives. A simple blood draw detects the presence of SARS-Cov2 IgG antibodies in your system. 

Note: there is a $43 out-of-pocket cost to people whose medical insurance plans do not cover the antibody test. Call your insurance provider to find out if you’re covered.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID.  Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen.

For further information, please call Premier Medical Group at 808-304-9745 or Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Hawai‘i Health Centers to Receive $3.8 Million to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing

 U.S. Senator Brian Schatz announced that 14 health centers across Hawai‘i will receive $3.8 million to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

“Ramping up testing is critical to reopening our economy,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will give our local health centers additional resources to test more people for COVID-19, conduct contact tracing, and help stop the spread in our state.”

The new federal funding, which was part of the latest relief package passed by Congress, will be used by health centers to expand the range of testing and testing-related activities to best address the needs of local communities, including the purchase of personal protective equipment, training for staff, procurement and administration of tests, laboratory services, notifying identified contacts of infected health center patients of their exposure to COVID-19, and the expansion of walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities.

  • Bay Clinic on Hawai‘i Island will receive $418,489
  • Community Clinic of Maui will receive $283,774
  • Hamakua Health Center on Hawai‘i Island will receive $182,389
  • Hana Community Health Center on Maui will receive $126,904
  • Hoola Lahui Hawai‘i on Kauai will receive $153,049
  • Kalihi Palama Health Center on Oahu will receive $434,254
  • Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services on Oahu will receive $270,199
  • Koolauloa Community Health and Wellness Center on Oahu will receive $185,809
  • Lanai Community Health Center will receive $130,714
  • Molokai Ohana Health Care will receive $134,119
  • Waianae District Comprehensive Health on Oahu will receive $678,814
  • Waikiki Health on Oahu will receive $236,704
  • Waimanalo Health Center on Oahu will receive $171,844
  • West Hawai‘i Community Health Center on Hawai‘i Island will receive $356,314

Hawaii Receiving $58M in Federal Funding to Support & Cover Cost Of COVID-19 Care, Testing, Treatment

Sen. Brian Schatz announced that Hawai‘i will receive $58 million in new federal funding to support 56 rural hospitals and community health centers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The funds will cover lost revenue due to delayed or canceled non-emergent services or procedures, as well as additional health care expenses attributable to the coronavirus, including testing, treating patients, and instituting preventive measures.

“Rural hospitals and health care providers across Hawai‘i provide essential primary care and other health care services to thousands of Hawai‘i families,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will help our state’s rural health care providers so that they can weather this pandemic and continue to provide high quality care.”

The new funding is part of the $100 billion grant program for health care providers in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Recipients of this allocation for rural providers include rural acute care general hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers (CHCs) located in rural areas.  RHCs and CHCs will receive a minimum of $100,000, and rural acute care hospitals and CAHs will receive a minimum of $1 million, with additional payment based on annual operating expenses.

In addition to the funding announced today, over 1,700 health care providers in Hawai‘i have already received more than $165 million through this program. The recently enacted Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act included an additional $75 billion in grants for health care providers as well as $25 billion specifically for testing.

More information on federal support for Hawai‘i health care providers can be found on Senator Schatz’s online resource guide: schatz.senate.gov/coronavirus.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Honoka‘a & North Kohala

Premier Medical Group, with the support of the County of Hawai‘i, Hope Services and the Hawaii National Guard, will offer COVID-19 drive-through screening and testing clinic at the Honoka‘a Sports Complex lower entrance on Friday, May 1, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Access through the Akia Street entrance.

COVID-19 drive-through testing will also happen at Kamehameha Park in Kapa‘au on Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

These free clinics are open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinics will be asked to show photo ID.  Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

For further information, call Hawaii County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031. 

DOH Uses New Digital Tool to Enhance Contact Tracing & Monitoring Capacity

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is using a new digital tool to follow up with individuals who have had close contact with a person identified by DOH as having COVID-19. The tool will improve the efficiency of data collection by public health staff.

Until now, Department of Health employees have undertaken the time-consuming task of daily phone calls to monitor those at risk for infection. Those individuals being monitored can now input and upload information on their health status on their own. They take a less than 5-minute online survey and transmit their responses directly and securely to the Department of Health. All information is encrypted to protect the privacy of the individual. 

“Having a well-developed contact tracing and monitoring system with timely investigations, especially in underserved areas, is one of the criteria for reopening our state,” said Bruce Anderson, director of the Department of Health. “The efficiency of this new system will increase our capacity to identify new cases and their contacts.  We estimate this tool may allow us to monitor up to 5 times more new contacts than previously and thereby enhance our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The tool was developed by HealthSpace, a cloud-based platform with more than 20 years of experience in offering data solutions to local and state public health agencies in the United States and Canada. The Department of Health has contracted HealthSpace, which has contracts with over 500 health departments, many of whom are adopting this tool in their fight against COVID-19.

The secure portal protects an individual’s privacy by providing each person a unique link that expires after 24 hours. The information is then stored on a secure HIPAA-compliant server. Once an individual uploads their health information, surge capacity workers, who may serve as an extension of the Department of Health staff, are allowed limited access to the contacts assigned to them. Surge capacity staff include DOH employees who have been redirected to support the Disease Outbreak Control Division (DOCD) as well as persons with appropriate experience and vetted by DOCD.

When a person has been identified as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, Department of Health staff will call the person to notify them of their exposure. The person is then required to remain at home and monitor their health for 14 days from the last contact with the case. The individual will be asked to provide an email or cell phone number to automatically receive a daily survey. The survey will ask if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms that could be signs of COVID-19.

Anyone can opt-out of receiving these messages if they prefer or do not have access to the internet, and DOH staff will call them to collect their health information for daily monitoring.

It is important to note that the online survey will not collect location information and will only be viewed by Department of Health staff and not shared with any other organization.

Hawai‘i Receiving at Least $21.3 Million to Boost COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz announced that Hawai‘i will receive at least $21.3 million in new federal funding to support the state’s testing capacity, including for the research, development, validation, manufacturing, purchasing, and administration of tests and testing supplies.

“The only way we can begin to reopen our economy is by ramping up testing,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new federal funding will give Hawai‘i additional resources to test more people for COVID-19, conduct contact tracing, and help stop the spread in our state.”

Hawai‘i will receive at least $16.3 million specifically for testing through the new $500 billion coronavirus relief package passed by the Senate on Tuesday. The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives later today.

Hawai‘i is also receiving $5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This funding was provided by the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law in March.

NHCH Offering More COVID-19 Screenings

Drive-up screening for COVID-19 at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will change to a three-times-week schedule, effective Monday, April 6. Screening is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the main hospital campus in Waimea.

Physician’s orders are not required but individuals must have symptoms and complete a screening. Patients are asked to bring photo ID and insurance information, and to stay in their vehicle; screening and testing takes only a few minutes and is done while the patient stays in the vehicle.

Leaving one’s home to seek medical care is an essential and allowable activity under the State’s Stay-at-Home order.

For more information, visit coronavirus.gov or hawaiicovid19.com or call the Queen’s COVID-19 Information Line at 691-2619.

COVID-19 Drive-Through Testing in Hilo

Premier Medical Group and Bay Clinic with the support of The County of Hawai`i COVID-19 Task Force will offer a drive-through screening and testing clinic. The one day clinic for COVID-19 will be held at Hilo’s Ho`olulu Complex on Sunday, April 5, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Access only through the Pi’ilani/Hinano entrance.

This free clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring their own pen, and any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

NHCH Announces Relocated COVID-19 Testing

Drive-up testing at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will be relocated to a more convenient location starting Thursday, March 19, and testing will be expanded to 6 days a week – Monday through Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm.

The new location is at the QNHCH Primary Care Clinic, 65-1267 Kawaihae Rd., located next to Longs Drugs in Waimea. Physician’s orders are not required. Patients are asked to bring ID and insurance information, and to stay in their vehicle; testing takes only a few minutes and is done while the patient stays in the vehicle.

For more information, visit coronavirus.gov or the State of Hawaii Department of Health new website hawaiicovid19.com or call the Queen’s COVID-19 Information Line at 691-2619.