Drive-through COVID-19 testing comes to Kona on Monday

  • A nurse at a drive up COVID-19 coronavirus testing station, set up by the University of Washington Medical Center, holds a swab used to take a sample from the nose of a person in their car on March 13. Drive-through testing for COVID-19 will be held today at Old Kona Airport Park in Kailua-Kona. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Drive-through testing for COVID-19 will be held Monday at Old Kona Airport Park in Kailua-Kona.

The 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. effort is being undertaken by Lt. Gov. Josh Green’s COVID Task Force with help from the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation and Ironman Foundation.

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The task force and West Hawaii Community Health Center will be providing the swabs, with Clinical Labs and Diagnostic Laboratory Services testing samples, said Laura Mallery-Sayre, who co-founded the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation with husband, Frank Sayre, and is helping organize the drive-through testing.

Results are expected to be returned within three days, she said. A doctor’s order or referral is not necessary.

Those who meet criteria will be swabbed without having to leave their automobile.

“There is no point in coming if you don’t fit the category,” said Mallery-Sayre.

The criteria are:

Having a dry cough and fever (the most common symptoms) though people may have other upper respiratory symptoms.

Having recently returned from Asia or Europe with specific high risk areas being China, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Iran.

Having recently traveled to the U.S. mainland, with visits to Washington state presenting the highest risk.

Working in the health profession, including a skilled nursing facility

Working in direct contact with waste management, including hotel workers

Working as a first responder

Working in a prison, jail or correctional facility

Working directly with the homeless population

Having direct physical contact or living with a COVID-19 positive patient

Special considerations are made for workers in high-trafficked tourism jobs including bellmen, front desk, housekeeping, retail, restaurants, airport security, flight attendants, airport counters, kiosk attendants and transportation drivers.

At this point in time, the task force is not doing asymptomatic screening because critical supplies including viral test kits are in short supply.

Scott J. Miscovich MD, senior advisor for Green’s COVID Task Force, said the virus may not be detectable if you are completely asymptomatic despite meeting criteria. Persons may develop symptoms after being screened.

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He urged the public to remain vigilant and call your health care providers (PCPs) with questions.

Noncontact volunteers are also needed to help set up and break down the event, according to Mallery-Sayre.

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