Hundreds flock to free Oahu coronavirus testing, many of them children

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2)– The Department of Health (DOH) held its free testing event at the Aloha Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 14.

A total of 736 tests were administered with a 6.1% positivity rate and many of those in line were children.

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DOH officials said it was no surprise that more families brought their kids in to be tested. Positivity rates among children are rising and parents said they want peace of mind.

Linette Ida brought her son Makana — a student at Benjamin Parker Elementary School student in Kaneohe — to be tested.

“Yes, both negative,” she said as she smiled. “So, I’m happy.”

Ida said getting those negative results was a relief, especially after one of her sons’ schools suggested they get tested.

“We got an email from the school saying that one of the students in his class tested positive for COVID,” she explained. “So him and the rest of the class has to not come to school for 10 days.”

Ida is not alone. Hundreds flocked to the Aloha Stadium for free testing and many of them were families.

Justin Bagayas brought two of his sons to get tested after he also found out kids in their classes tested positive.

“Plenty kids getting tested,” Bagayas said. “Everybody wants that peace of mind with the schools opening up, which is good, our kids got to go school.”

The Department of Education (DOE) reported 430 cases of COVID-19 linked to schools since keiki returned to in-person learning just two weeks ago.

DOH Kauai District health officer Dr. Janet Berreman said they are expecting to see more cases in school communities with kids back on campuses.

“We also know that parents are feeling anxious and concerned about that. So I think that having your children tested is an entirely reasonable choice for parents to make,” Berreman said.

Berreman said roughly a quarter of the positive cases were children in the last few weeks, in large part because they can not get vaccinated.

DOH State Laboratories administrator Edward Desmond said they were expecting a considerable number of positives at the Aloha Stadium testing event Saturday.

“That’s been our experience lately. We’ve had something like 7% positive at our community testing events,” Desmond explained.

DOH officials confirmed that there was a 6.1% positivity rate at the event.

Most got their results within 15 minutes once they were tested, although lines were long at Aloha Stadium. Berreman said the wait for results can vary greatly by testing location, however.

“Most people are not having to wait more than 24 hours,” Berreman said. “But it does, of course, depend on where you go and what the volume of testing is.”

Vance Texeira brought his daughter Avinni to get tested at the airport location. He said they should get their results back within six hours.

“It’s just safety, a precautionary measure,” he explained.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Avinni said. “It didn’t really hurt as much as you think it would.”

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The DOH is working to make even more free testing sights available.

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