Amid outbreak, state’s first regional treatment center opens in Kaneohe

Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 5:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - New safety procedures are now in place at Kaneohe's largest medical office building.

Starting Thursday, every person entering Adventist Health Castle Professional Center is screened for signs of the coronavirus.

The facility is also home to what’s being called the state’s first “regional treatment center.”

Signs also went up on the door of Windward Urgent care advising patients not to enter. The clinic is now on a strict lockdown reserved specifically for the sick.

The site was created to take some of the strain off of emergency rooms being inundated with patients. It’s open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

There, anyone who is ill can be seen by a clinician in a secure, sterile environment.

Inside the clinic, all staff are in full personal protective equipment. No one is allowed in the waiting area. Patients go directly into an examination room. If one isn’t available, they wait in their car.

On Thursday, a nurse in the hallway used a walkie-talkie to communicate with staff inside, alerting them to new patients: “I’ve got two standing by outside (in their car).”

Dr. Scott Miscovich, a member of the lieutenant governor’s COVID-19 task force, is responsible for providing urgent care clinics and doctor’s offices with guidance on how to prevent coronavirus from spreading.

“We know the virus is present," he said. “Now we need to try to mitigate its effects. So the more we can identify who is ill, who has a fever then the better chance we’re going to be able to stop it.”

He says the plan is to create up 10 regional treatment centers statewide.

Miscovich stressed, “We do not want a mixture of sick patients with well patients.”

While the ill are being seen at the treatment center, just down the hall the waiting room at his own private practice is now reserved for patients who need to see a doctor for something else.

But before they’re allowed in, they undergo a second screening.

Inside, chairs have been rearranged, creating at least a 3 feet of space between each one.

“There’s no magazines or anything. We don’t want anything touched,” said Miscovich. “Cleaning is happening every half hour.”

It’s a set-up he’d like to see adopted by medical practices across the state.

Across the street, a new drive-up COVID-19 testing site is set to open Saturday at 8 a.m. behind the Walgreen’s in Kaneohe.

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