Waikiki clinic says it’s seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among travelers from LA

Waikiki clinic says it’s seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among travelers from LA
Holden Nakamura, manager at Kalihi Kai Urgent Care in Waikiki, shows a rapid COVID-19 test. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A health care provider in Waikiki says it’s seeing a troubling increase in positive cases among travelers from Los Angeles.

The Waikiki satellite clinic of Kalihi Kai Urgent Care says it had three travelers from Los Angeles Thursday and four last week who tested positive.

Most were negative upon traveling to Hawaii and then started to feel symptoms.

The clinic is in the parking lot of the Hawaiian Monarch Hotel in Waikiki. Clients wait outside in their cars to get swabbed and then results are analyzed in the small clinic.

It does about 30 COVID-tests per day and roughly a third come out positive.

Holden Nakamura, manager of the clinic, said some clients are shocked to learn they have COVID. “Other times they had a sneaking suspicion that something was going on behind the scenes,” he said.

Clinic owner and President Rida Cabanilla, who’s a registered nurse, says most of her Waikiki clients are travelers who came to Hawaii to visit family and friends. She’s worried about her LA cases.

Los Angeles is the worst hit county in California, which is the current epicenter of the pandemic.

“To me, they are more dangerous because they are here to visit people and gathering sort thing,” said Cabanilla.

And she added that some who test positive are reluctant to inform their close contacts.

“I think it’s guilt. They are guilty they are here. They came to party,” said Cabanilla.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the state’s overall positivity rate among travelers is still very low. Big Island data from the last 30 days shows 1.2 out of every 1,000 travelers were positive.

The state Department of Health is checking to see if the state has statistics on where the positive travelers are from.

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