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As COVID case counts rise, health officials push more testing across the state

Updated: Mar. 27, 2021 at 5:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The statewide COVID case count average rose nearly 60% in the past two weeks, and experts are worried about a drop in testing for the virus.

They fear the vaccination rollout has caused people to let down their guard.

“I guess it’s natural. People are less aware, less concerned. But in the long run, before we can eradicate this pandemic, we’re going to have to do the surveillance and test asymptomatic people,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, state Department of Health State laboratories administrator.

For that reason, the DOH offered free rapid coronavirus tests for members of the public in Kapolei on Friday.

“My daughter got a letter from her school the other day saying that she had contact, close contact with someone who tested positive,” said Ewa Beach resident Jadine Pereza.

Pereza and her daughter got swabbed for COVID Friday afternoon.

“She got her results in, thank God she’s negative,” Pereza said.

DOH said more than 200 people came through in the first two hours.

“We really are happy that people are turning out and we found some positives,” Desmond said.

In Hawaii, the state website says tests have actually gone up in the last two month, but so have the case counts.

Elsewhere in the country testing is down as vaccinations rise and pandemic fatigue takes a toll.

“If we are waiting for vaccinations to be the answer a lot of people are still going to die and get infected,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich.

Miscovich, whose company offers testing and vaccination, worries about a third wave.

“We have maybe 15% of the population has received two shots, and right now we have an explosion of variants across the country,” Miscovich said.

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