HONOLULU (KHON2) — The city’s free COVID testing program suffered an embarrassing episode on Aug. 26, impacting about 1,000 tests taken at the Kaneohe District Park and Leeward Community College (LLC) . The botched tests had to do with the Honolulu Fire Department not getting correct guidance on how to label vials.
The U.S. Department of Health and Services says about 1,000 vials arrived at the lab with no patient information. Without it, the tests cannot be validated and those impacted are urged to get re-tested.
“I find it frustrating that a mistake of this magnitude could have happened, you know,” said one man who did not want to be identified.
He believes his test has been mislabeled.
“They just told us to drop the vial back into the bag, fold our voucher, put it in the bag, seal the bag, and then we placed it in a box,” he said.
A total of 1,776 tests were returned as incomplete. The majority of the botched tests came from the Kaneohe site and a few from LCC. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the process was not fully explained and he thought he would get more help from the federal government on the first day.
“We had 4 days advance notice. The Surgeon General called us and said we’ll come out, we’ll be there in 4 days to do surge testing. I had two choices, one to reject the offer or accept it,” Caldwell said.
Mayor Caldwell says he wants people to get tested and those affected will get an email that looks like the following:
Unfortunately, your specimen arrived at the laboratory without any matching identifiers. Because of this, the laboratory cannot process your test.
We are working with eTrueNorth to schedule a special “retest” event for all affected individuals. Within the next 48 hours, you will be notified of the special testing location and times. You will not need to take any action to reschedule your test or reprint a voucher. We will send you a notification once those details are available.
If you would like to get retested at a time or location other than the special retest event, please feel free to do so. This retesting initiative is being offered as an option.
A retest is the best way to confirm whether or not you are infected. We will provide you details on the special time and location of your retest as soon as they are available. In the meantime, please also see the below information on what to do while awaiting test results.
Instructions While Awaiting Test Results
Symptoms of Coronavirus
If You Are Sick
Thank you, be safe,
COVID-19 Support Team
“What we are trying to do is go into the two communities where they came from, both Kaneohe District Park and Leeward Community College, so they can have a second test that is more convenient and they are not in a long line where they got to wait with everyone else,” said Caldwell.
The Mayor has also asked and is anticipating an additional 30,000 tests on top of the 60,000 being provided to the city.
“I think we corrected the problems on the first day. We had a little bit of a rocky roll-off. Everyone has been brought up to speed on how to label the vials and I think we learned from that experience,” he said.
On Sept. 1 and Sept. 3 , the H-3 Freeway will be completely closed between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. and used as a surge testing site. For more information, click here.
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