More than 60,000 tested administered on Oahu as part of ‘surge’ program

Mayor pledges to ease restrictions on retailers, gatherings starting next week

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu was able to test more than 60,000 people for COVID-19 over the last 14 days as part of a federally-backed program to better understand the prevalence of the virus.

Of those tested through the program, just 266 were positive.

That’s a positivity rate of .6% — and evidence that COVID-19 is not widespread in many Oahu communities, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said at a news conference Monday.

Caldwell called the results “really, really good" but stressed the virus is still present in some areas.

“We just want to know where that virus is and we know that the spread, while it is in different parts of our community, it’s not spread evenly throughout our community,” he said.

Of greatest concern: Infections found in Pacific Islander communities, where positivity rates were as high as 30% last month. Oahu’s Filipino-American community was also over-represented.

The federal government offered Oahu 60,000 tests amid a rapid increase in new COVID-19 cases in August. After announcing the program, authorities promised the city another 30,000 tests.

Caldwell said Oahu will be allowed to keep those additional tests as long as they’re used by November.

The so-called surge tests were offered free to anyone who wanted one.

The mayor said he hopes to target the 30,000 tests in particular high-risk communities.

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