As COVID cases soar on Kauai, long lines for testing are a common sight

Because of the long lines at COVID testing sites on Kauai, the county implemented a ticketing system to prevent overcrowding.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:16 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:25 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - One month ago, Kauai was averaging about 10 cases a day. On Thursday, the island saw another record ― with 342 infections.

The situation has triggered a high demand for testing.

At the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall, COVID testing starts each day at 8 a.m. People start lining up hours before.

Because of the long lines, the county implemented a ticketing system to prevent overcrowding. Each ticket has an appointment time on it so you can leave and come back for your designated time slot.

Only 500 tickets are available each day, and officials say they usually run out in about an hour.

County officials say capacity issues and staffing shortages are challenges when it comes to keeping up with the high demand. Retired county employees and even the mayor have been volunteering at testing sites to keep things moving.

With limited resources, some residents question why visitors are allowed at these sites.

“The tourists are now told to come here. For the local people that makes a two-hour wait longer and that impedes on us,” said Lihue resident Rhoda Libre.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami defended the practice, though.

“Quite frankly when my wife and my family and I are traveling if I got hurt or if I got sick I’d surely want that other place to take care of me as well so I think that’s who we are, that’s aloha,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kauai continues to see case counts soar.

“Kauai consistently has 30-50% more testing than the rest of the state,” said Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman.

But Berreman says they are also getting reports of individuals taking more tests than they need.

“We are seeing people who test positive and then get another test at another location and then sometimes even a third test at another location and some people have had as many as five,” she said.

“Once you test positive, you really should trust that result. Act as if you have Omicron. Act as if you have COVID. Stay home for five days and let those you’ve been around know.”

Officials also want to remind the public that testing at these sites are not for people with symptoms.

If you are feeling sick and experiencing COVID symptoms, you are asked to visit a drive thru testing site or a clinic.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.