System overload is causing delay in coronavirus test results; officials are trying to streamline the process

Coronavirus

HONOLULU(KHON2)–Officials continue to stress the importance of testing for COVID-19. Hawaii has done more than 5,000 COVID-19 tests and the state is ranked fourth in the nation for testing per capita, according to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green. But some residents said there’s too much lag time getting those important test results back.

A flight attendant, who asked to remain anonymous said she was tested on March 17th. She’s still waiting for results. She said her symptoms started on March 14th, right after she finished working on a flight from the mainland to Hawaii. She said she was tested for flu the same time she was tested for COVID-19. She said her flu test was negative.

She’s concerned for her coworkers.

“If I was infected with coronavirus, everybody needed to know…I should have gotten the results right away… not seven to nine days or nine to 10 days. It’s ridiculous.”

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said the system was overloaded.

“It’s the volume. The volume on the mainland is also surging at the same time. We are getting now commitments that it will be three to five days and we have begun to streamline the process.”

Green said there are three locations that test for COVID-19 in Hawaii: The State Lab, Clinical Labs and DLS.

A special certification is needed to conduct testing. The COVID-19 joint information center said the process has been expedited and more sites should be certified soon.

Green said there are more than 40 locations that currently collect the samples to be tested, but those sites, like the drive-thru testing sites, don’t actually test you there.

“The swab will be taken there and the test will be sent through the process whether its the DLS lab, or Clinical Lab or the State. Frankly we will send them all and they will prioritize them,” Green explained.

Green said results should only take three to five days to get back.

“We’re now going to be able to test about 200 at least here in the state on the same day. Those tests will usually be used for people that have to go back into the trenches.”

Green said the priority turnaround will focus on expediting results for nurses, doctors and other essential workers.

He stressed that tests will only done on those who are showing symptoms.

“We will test only people who are symptomatic. If you’re not symptomatic you really shouldn’t stop in for these tests.”

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