New mobile testing clinic to play critical role in state’s pandemic response

Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A mobile clinic with a mission of providing free healthcare will soon play a critical role in the state’s pandemic response.

Starting next week, the community support mobile response team will be on standby ― ready to perform mass testing as new clusters of the coronavirus emerge.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” said Dr. Jim Ireland.

With the ability to deploy at a moment’s notice, the mobile swabbing clinic will play an integral role in testing as new COVID-19 hotspots crop up across Oahu.

“To businesses or residences, community centers, homeless shelters, nursing homes. Whereever it’s needed,” Ireland said.

Dispatched by the state Department of Health, a team of community paramedics will be tasked with gathering samples and bringing them back to the state lab for immediate testing.

“Getting people screened,” said Ireland. “Finding out who’s positive so they can be quarantined.”

With the case count now soaring into the triple digits on a daily basis, state Health Director Bruce Anderson says Hawaii is on the verge of a healthcare crisis.

“We are continuing to see an alarming number of new positive cases,” said Anderson.

“The increase has stressed public health infrastructure and threatens our ability to care for those who will need hospitalization.”

The mobile swabbing clinic is funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation and is expected to continue until the need subsides.

“Everybody realizes the last week or two has been much different than the first part of the response,” said Ireland. “It’s all hands on deck.”

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