Asymptomatic residents close to COVID-19 patients will soon get tested

Updated: Apr. 5, 2020 at 4:02 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - On March 20, state Health Director Bruce Anderson was on PBS Insights where he talked about who the state tests for coronavirus.

“There is no value in testing someone who is asymptomatic there’s zero. We can only hope to find the virus in someone who is symptomatic,” Anderson said.

This is what he said Friday at Gov.David Ige’s news conference:

“We’ve begun to look at those who are close contacts, even though they have not expressed symptoms. I expect we’re going to continue to see if we can identify individuals who have been infected and are asymptomatic.”

The change is due to new science that shows that even people who show no signs of being sick can spread the disease. It also underscores how much the medical industry’s knowledge of the disease is evolving every day.

Dr. Scott Miscovich said one medical study ― issued a couple of days ago — shows that as much as 20 percent of the people who are infected but are asymptomatic could in fact be spreading the disease.

“It’s very well established," he said.

“They tested everyone on some of the Princess cruise ships and they found also those groups have a very high percentage, twenty some percent, asymptomatic."

The new science could have helped someone like Peggy Torda-Saballa.

The Ewa Beach resident’s son Colby Torda got sick with the coronavirus in early-March and is in intensive care.

But she wasn’t tested until March 28th because she wasn’t symptomatic until then. She found out on Wednesday that she was infected.

Critics of Gov. David Ige’s handling of the disease believe that all people who have been in close contact with those infected should be tested.

“We absolutely must have universal testing. We need to go anywhere in the world to acquire the test kits so we can test everybody," former Gov. Neil Abercrombie told Hawaii News Now last week.

“We have to find out where it is, and we got to find out who has it and then we have to act accordingly to make sure it isn’t spread.”

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