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After overwhelming demand, website to order free at-home COVID tests on Oahu to reopen

The state launched a program that distributes test kits to some Oahu residents.
The state launched a program that distributes test kits to some Oahu residents.(Quidel)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:46 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 7:41 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The website to order free at-home COVID tests for some Oahu residents is expected to reopen Thursday after overwhelming demand forced the state to pause access for several days.

The state Department of Health launched the program Monday — and more than 65,000 people ordered kits online. That’s a total of 520,000 tests, or about half of what the program has available. Subsequently, online ordering was paused to ensure underserved communities were able to get through.

On Thursday, however, some residents reported getting error messages when trying to order test kits. Hawaii News Now has reached out to the DOH for an explanation.

The kits are only available for residents in certain zip codes, and cannot be used for work testing exemptions.

The idea: Give people the tools to test more frequently to stop the spread of the virus.

The tests were made available to the DOH through a federal pilot program.

To order a test kit, go to COVIDTestHonolulu.org. They’re available through Oct. 18 while supplies last.

Residents of the following zip codes are eligible:

96701, 96706, 96707, 96712, 96717, 96730, 96731, 96734, 96744, 96762, 96782, 96786, 96789, 96791, 96792, 96795, 96797, 96813, 96814, 96815, 96816, 96817, 96818, 96819, 96821, 96822, 96825, 96826, 96844, 96850, 96853, 96854, 96857, 96858, 96859, 96860, 96861, 96863.

Officials said through the program, 125,000 Oahu residents in eligible zip codes will get eight rapid antigen tests in order to test twice a week for four weeks.

Ideal candidates include those who are unvaccinated or have a high risk of COVID exposure.

Participants in the program will get rapid antigen tests that require a quick swab inside each nostril. Results are ready in about 10 minutes.

Those who test positive on self-administered tests should follow home isolation guidelines and contact their healthcare provider to seek follow-up testing.

“Free, rapid, self-administered testing will give community members one more way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “This program provides participating communities with another tool to protect themselves and their families.”

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