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High COVID testing demand leads to long lines at sites around the islands

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 4:35 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 14, 2021 at 4:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - COVID-19 testing sites around Hawaii drew long lines Saturday as Hawaii grapples with an ongoing rise in case counts.

Monday is also the beginning of the mandate for state workers to show proof of vaccination or be subject to weekly COVID testing, likely adding to the demand for quick results.

Saturday saw 791 new cases, of which, 544 were on Oahu.

At the Aloha Stadium testing site, 736 tests were conducted, officials said, with a positivity rate of about 6%. Those cases will likely be reflected in Monday’s numbers if there are no reporting delays.

The line for people seeking a test stretched around the parking lot, prompting health officials to close the parking lot gates at 2 p.m. Anyone in line by that time would be offered a test, officials said.

Health official said they have capacity to run a little more than 500 tests a day the Aloha Stadium site for the duration of the pop-up testing clinic for the rest of the month.

“Because of a surge in cases nationwide, there are supply shortages for testing supplies. But we do have enough to continue the stadium testing throughout the month, however we want to make sure that we under promise and over deliver,” Priscilla Seabourne of the State Laboratory Division said.

Seabourn added that on Saturday, they processed about 100 people an hour.

“A lot of people are coming that have either been exposed or are having symptoms,” Seabourn said. “A lot of people from the community are actually people that need to be tested. And so this is what we’re here for and we’re glad that we’re able to be of service to the community.”

Aloha Stadium will reopen for testing at 10 a.m. Sunday.

[Read more: LIST: Free testing sites available statewide amid COVID surge]

Over in Hilo, one couple seeking a test said it took them about five hours to get to the front of the line at the Hilo Civic Center’s drive-through testing location.

“Everybody that was working there did an awesome job, they were really patient and helpful, but I wasn’t anticipating more than twice the amount of time. That was really significant,” Hilo resident Amanda Alvarado said.

State officials are reinforcing the message that there is tests available for those who need it, and residents should continue to get vaccinated.

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