HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials say they’re seeing more patients test positive for COVID who don’t even suspect they have COVID. It’s confusion between the flu and the coronavirus, but there are ways to help prevent the spread despite what sickness it is.
Doctors of Waikiki says recognizing the difference between flu and COVID symptoms can be tricky. Doctors say people can also get both at the same time.
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“The symptoms are very similar. So that’s why it can be very confusing. If you think about it, you get fever, body aches, chills, same with COVID-19, same with the flu,” said Dr. Tony Trpkovski, Medical Director and Co-Founder of Doctors of Waikiki. “Runny nose is very common to so they might think this is allergies and guess what, it’s COVID.”
Hilo Medical Center says about half of its patients are incidental COVID positive.
“Maybe they just broke an arm or something that required them to be hospitalized, but we do require screening upon admission and those tests, some of them are coming back positive,” said Elena Cabatu, Hilo Medical Center Director of Public Affairs.
That’s why doctors say testing is important more now than ever and the demand shows. On Monday, one site on Kauai reached capacity an hour after opening.
“Testing is in very high demand right now,” said Derek Kawakami, Mayor of Kauai County. “Today the Convention Hall testing site ran out of tickets at 9 a.m. and hundreds of people came to the mobile vans in Kapaa yesterday.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced Monday that health insurers will be required to cover costs of at-home testing kits starting Saturday. HMSA’s parent company said in a statement:
“There’s no question that in this public health crisis, Americans need access to COVID-19 tests. We appreciate the administration’s efforts to address this challenge, including measures to protect against price gouging and abuse. That being said, we are concerned that the policy does not solve for the limited supply of tests in the country and could cause additional consumer friction as insurers stand up a program in just four days’ time. We will continue to partner with the administration and retailers to help make this work and advocate for policies that promote affordable and equitable access.”Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
“Right now we just all have to pay attention to the supply chain and hopefully the supply chain will catch up with the demand, but we all got to sit tight because we’re at the mercy of the supply,” Cabatu said.
Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page
Gov. Ige’s office is working on getting more testing supplies to the islands. In the meantime, for those that are sick, but can’t get tested or are waiting for test results should assume they have COVID and begin isolation.