As access to coronavirus testing improves, results are lagging

Lines of cars quickly formed at the Kakaako Waterfront Park on Saturday as city and health...
Lines of cars quickly formed at the Kakaako Waterfront Park on Saturday as city and health officials opened up a drive-thru coronavirus testing site.
Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 6:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - High demand for coronavirus testing forced the state’s first regional treatment center in Kaneohe to move to a new building with a bigger clinic.

The new site is across the street at 45-1141 Kamehameha Highway next to the Aloha gas station.

While doctors say access to testing is getting better, results are lagging.

Dr. Scott Miscovich oversees the regional testing site and has helped coordinate several pop-up and drive-thru clinics.

He says over the past couple weeks his clinicians have performed close to 1,500 coronavirus tests. As of Tuesday afternoon, about two-thirds of those patients were still waiting on their results.

“It’s frustrating,” Miscovich said. “They’re waiting on that phone call. They’re all on home quarantine.”

It’s been a week since the doctor coordinated a pop-up clinic at Kualoa Ranch, testing more than 130 employees after a ranch worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

The patient, Tiara Chong, is recovering.

She told HNN in a Facetime interview: “I feel better, I feel like I’m getting stronger everyday.”

But as of this morning Miscovich says he still hadn’t received the results for nearly 70 of her colleagues. And that’s just a fraction of the tests still pending.

Over the past week, hundreds more people were swabbed at Kakaako Waterfront Park, the state Capitol and at a drive-thru testing site in Kona.

Miscovich said, “There’s been a large amount of pressure put on our labs on the mainland which most of our labs are being sent to.”

He says locally private labs are processing between 200 and 400 tests a day ― giving priority to people who are extremely ill or hospitalized. This, as private physicians plan to ramp up testing later this week.

“We’re looking to begin ‘Screening Saturday’s’,” Miscovich said.

“That would be every Saturday for the next three Saturdays. We want to have the health care provider organizations mobilize and do screening.”

Miscovich says the plan is to have a pop-up testing site in every county across the state. Details are still in the works.

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