What’s next after 2 weeks of surge testing?


HONOLULU (KHON2) — As thousands take advantage of Oahu’s free surge testing, KHON2 is looking into its benefits and challenges, and what’s next in terms of testing.

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Lieutenant Governor Josh Green tells us we will be seeing big developments in the science of testing. He says the surge tests are good for what they’re being used for, which is to get a background assessment of Oahu.

“The understanding people had, that you had to go nasal pharyngeal, has been somewhat debunked. Now the test, if you do adequate swabs in each nostril and sufficient time, you will get an accurate result. So, I wouldn’t worry about that. I do think though they are a sample. They’re a sample mostly of people who are less likely to be positive,” said Green.

Green says surge testing is mostly for the “worried well” – people who are not sick in general – and is getting a low background positivity rate. Surge tests are not necessarily hitting the “hotspots” where the virus could be. As of Sept. 2, more than 13,000 results have come in and only 91 are positive.

Green tells us he would not use these all the time in the hospitals because they have the more expensive, very reliable nasal pharyngeal swabs.

“The original protocols were to the nasal pharyngeal. But as they get these other tests, they’ll be able to do whatever the recommended swabbing method is, some people are going to even move to the cheek swab or the saliva swab where you either spit in a cup or you just inside the cheek there. So you’re going to see a lot more of these things,” he said.

For many, surge testing offers peace of mind during the pandemic. The city has about 90,000 kits for surge testing, but Green doesn’t want it to stop there.

“In fact, after the surge testing is done, I will recommend to the Governor that we have six or eight walk-in sites across the state that we offer, you know, some less expensive free tests, you know, as in, people want to pay for and we pay very little for those.”

Oahu’s surge testing will continue on the H-3 Freeway on Sept. 3. It will be fully closed starting at 5 a.m.

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