HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than 20,000 COVID-19 test kits were given out to Maui county residents. 

Volunteers from Malama I Ke Ola, the Hawaii Department of Health and the Office of the Mayor gave out 20,250 free at-home COVID-19 tests to Maui County residents and organizations earlier in the week. 

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Health officials on Maui have been keeping their eyes on the rising COVID numbers and with anticipation of a surge from the highly contagious omicron sub-variants the county wanted to partner with an organization to distribute tens of thousands of tests. 

“The people of Maui County continue to help and support one another even after almost 30 months of battling COVID-19,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “I especially want to thank Dr. John Vaz and his team at Malama I Ke Ola, RoAnn Viloria and her supporters from the Department of Health and members of my own staff and others who volunteered to help with yesterday’s drive-thru.”

The number of residents who came out to get their hands on free COVID-19 test kits show the need is still there. 

“Thanks to our residents who came down in their vehicles to receive their free test kits. It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have,” said Victorino. 

This isn’t the first time the mayor handed out free COVID-19 test kits. During the previous three months, the County of Maui partnered with the Maui District Health Office to provide more than 100,000 test kits to community nonprofits and organizations for distribution.

They made sure to focus on underserved individuals and families throughout the county, including those in rural and isolated communities, and those without vehicles.

According to the CDC, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are dominant in the nation, making up over 80% of COVID cases. 

Most people who get infected experience cold-like symptoms such as dry cough, runny nose, congestion, and fatigue. Some might experience a fever, headache, muscle aches and/or a sore throat. 

Most people who come down with COVID recover from mild symptoms by resting at home. However, those experiencing dizziness or shortness of breath may have low oxygen levels and should seek medical care.