Study to test COVID-19 presence in city’s sewage system likely to be discontinued

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Contractors are set begin work on sewage lines in Kailua Monday morning

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A city pilot program to test the presence of COVID-19 in the sewage system will likely be discontinued.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the program last month as an added measure to detect an increase of infection.

But the director of the city’s Environmental Services Department told the city council that the mainland lab, so far, has not detected the virus from one week’s sample.

And it’s not clear if it’s because the lab is just not able to detect such a small amount.

“Right now, if you were to ask my knee jerk reaction, I don’t have a lot of confidence unless I see the remaining test results show something. But as the curve goes down I’m thinking it’s gonna be even worse as far as detection goes,” said Environmental Services Director Lori Kahikina.

Kahikina says the city has committed to six weeks of testing which costs more than $6,000, provided by federal funding from the CARES Act.


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