HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii island resident, Ilima Choy, showed up at the Old Kona Airport Pavilion for a COVID-19 test during the week of Jan. 2. She was told that she would get her results within 48 to 72 hours.
After days went by with no results, Choy and more than 400 others learned their tests were gone.
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“I get the letter that says, ‘by the way we lost your test,'” Choy said. “If you mandate like a county worker or state worker to get tested and then you cannot work because you cannot provide the test results — that’s pretty frustrating.”
The company responsible for the Hawaii County sponsored testing site is TrueCare24. The county said it takes full responsibility for the mishap.
“Last week Friday’s tests were somehow delayed in transit upon arrival to Phoenix from Kona Airport,” said Cyrus Johnasen, spokesperson for Hawaii County. “Between Kona and the lab, we saw about 407 tests were rendered invalid, meaning that all 407 people that got tested in Kona were not going to be able to get their results back.”
Delays and high demand also caused issues for other testing sites across the state. Nomi Health estimated results for PCR tests will return in four days.
“We do utilize our Nomi Health lab in Salt Lake City, Utah and there’s an increase of test volume just across the nation,” said Ailana Meyer, director of field operations for Nomi Health. “So with that increase at our lab, we are seeing delays in when people aren’t normally accustomed to seeing their results come through.”
Meanwhile, staffing issues have also made resources slim. Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. confirmed it is temporarily closing a few coronavirus testing sites due to staffing issues.
Health officials said at-home tests can also help alleviate the strain on demand.
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“If you get a positive test on your home positive results on your home test kit, you don’t need to go test again, that’s enough to say you have COVID, and you should stay home,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai District Health Officer.