Testing options about to increase as more officials push for second tests for travelers

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — There is more push for travelers to get tested within days of arriving in Hawaii, on top of getting tested before flying to the state.

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But state officials say that there are not enough tests in Hawaii to do that. However, there’s a company that is setting up operations in Hawaii trying to fix that problem.

City Councilman Tommy Waters introduced a resolution that is asking the state to postpone the reopening of tourism until travelers can get tested before departure and four days after arrival.

The lieutenant governor says that it is just not practical.

“First of all, most places aren’t requiring a test. Even this is added protection. So to add a whole other layer of protection will essentially mean no one would come here,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

He adds that the biggest obstacle is that the state can only do up to 4,000 tests a day, and that Hawaii could easily have 8,000 passengers arrive daily. A Texas company called Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory partnered with a company in Hawaii called All American Refinery.

They are setting up operations to do up to 1,000 mail-in tests daily by next week. The plan is to set up collection sites throughout Oahu and the neighbor islands and even deliver the test kits.

“We’ll deliver the test to them. We’ll have the person who delivers it supervise and monitor taking the test at home, and then they will collect there and we send it off FedEx overnight to the Texas facility,” said Alvin Paguio, of All American Refinery.

The PCR tests are done with swabs to the rim of the nose while observed by a company representative. Paguio says that the tests are 99.9% accurate and will cost $105. For inter-island travelers, most can get results overnight.

“Kauai, there might be some challenges on possibly an extra day. But we’re looking at 48 hours to get the results back for the people flying to the neighbor islands,” said Paguio.

The company is trying to set up a lab in Hawaii that will be able to do 5,000 to 8,000 tests a day. It is working with the state to ramp up testing capacity and adds that the tests are also valid for international travel, which will help if and when a travel bubble is established.

This comes as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell raises concern about more surges with the reopening of tourism and some schools going to in-person learning.

“I think we’re going to see an increase in cases. I’m hoping we can stay below 100 cases per week and a positivity case per week under 5% so we can move to tier two,” said Caldwell.

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