Governor David Ige is just back from Japan and gave us an update on the Coronavirus or COVID-19. He says the Japanese visitor who was in Hawaii is still in the hospital with the virus but his wife has recovered. A Hawaii resident quarantined at Pearl Harbor is doing well and should be released at the end of the week.
Governor Ige says he’s been pushing hard for those CDC test kits and to be able to test in Hawaii because of our location and ability to test for the islands in the Pacific. After two batches of the test kits sent to Hawaii were defective, Governor Ige says the CDC is taking a step back as new kits are being developed.
“We suggested that we wanted to be beta-testers because we want to help them. We do have a terrific lab in Pearl City. We feel that we have the personnel to be able to execute the tests that are required,” said the Governor.
This would also mean the state may have earlier access to the testing process. Dr. Bruce Anderson from the Health Department says there’s currently a backlog of testing for COVID-19 at the CDC lab in Atlanta.
“They shortened it now for 24 to 48 hours but it does take us a couple of days to get the samples to CDC and it takes some time to get it back to us, so it takes close to a week under the best of circumstances for us to get the results,” said Dr. Anderson.
But so far, no one in Hawaii has been tested for COVID-19. Officials only test those who have symptoms.
“First of all, we can rule out the flu which is the most common symptom like this. There is a good test for the flu,” said Dr. Anderson.
“I do think there is increased awareness about why Hawaii needs that ability to test in the islands and we also offered that we would be willing to test for the Pacific island nations Guam and other U.S. territories as well as other nations if necessary,” said Gov. Ige.
Once they get their hands on these kits, state health officials anticipate they will be ready to conduct testing possibly in early or mid-March.