Green: State’s secondary surveillance testing hasn’t caught any positives yet

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 10:34 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ten percent of all travelers who tested negative in their pre-travel test are being asked to take a voluntary second coronavirus test four days after arrival.

It’s part of the state’s surveillance testing program which launched on Monday.

“It’s an opportunity to do something to validate if we need two tests or not and it’s a rational, scientific way to do it,” said epidemiologist Dr. DeWolfe Miller.

Miller said it’s a way to see if any infected passengers are slipping through the cracks.

Former KGMB and SportsCenter sportscaster Larry Beil and his wife Sharla said they were happy to do it. “We can take a voluntary test and help the state and assure family members that we’re OK, yeah sure, sign me up,” Beil said.

Miller said the study is designed to track community spread of the virus as well as identify if the virus is spreading during travel.

“A systematic design where you start from a random number and pick every 10th person gives you a representative sample with a known probability of being selected,” Miller said.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that he is disappointed that data has not yet been published.

“We expected to start seeing results quickly to find out what’s out there. But we don’t know what’s out there. And we’re hoping we’ll get those answers quickly so we can take appropriate action of necessary,” Caldwell said.

Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Josh Green says proper data will take time to analyze.

“So far, there have been no positives,” said Green. “I don’t want to pre-judge the study. The scientific team really has to do its job. I think it’s a grave mistake for politicians to meddle in what scientists do.”

The test is optional.

However, Miller says he is hoping he gets enough participants to join his study to make Hawaii a safer place.

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