Testing continues as virus case count rises

  • COVID-19 screening Saturday at Old Kona Airport Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Health Care workers disinfect after testing each patient at Saturday's COVID-19 testing at Old Kona Airport Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Alii Health Center staff perform medical screening at the COVID-19 testing Saturday at Old Kona Aiirport Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Health Care workers from Alii Health Center take a patient's vital signs at Saturday's COVID-19 screening at Old Kona Airport Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

A second pop-up drive-through testing clinic for COVID-19 was set up at the Old Kona Airport Park on Saturday as the state’s number of presumptive or positive cases reached 151.

The Department of Health reported as of noon Saturday there were 29 new positive test results. Just three of the positive results were reported from Hawaii County, bringing the island‘s total to 10. The City and County of Honolulu reported 19 case and Kauai County six. One of the cases’ origin was unknown.

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Of the 29 new cases reported Saturday, two dozen were residents of Hawaii, three were nonresidents and information was pending on two cases, according to the department. Of the total cases statewide, 126 of the 151 presumptive or positive COVID-19 tests have been Hawaii residents while 19 were nonresidents; six have an unknown residency.

As the state released the update on COVID-19 cases, the Alii Health Center teamed up with Premier Medical Group in conjunction with the County of Hawaii to expand COVID-19 testing in West Hawaii.

“We need to better understand what is going on in West Hawaii. The best way to do that is by increasing testing and identifying those people that are positive, isolating them and then perform contact tracing,” said Dr. Nathan Tomita, Alii Health Center’s Medical Director.

Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, redness in or around eyes, sore throat, and diarrhea were the screened symptoms of COVID-19. Other factors that determined eligibility for testing included travel history, frequency of exposure to visitors from outside Hawaii, and frequency of exposure to vulnerable or high-risk populations.

“It is amazing to see volunteers come together in a coordinated effort to provide testing for our community,” said executive director Clayton McGhan. “We at Alii Health Center are dedicated to ensure our ohana have access to this much needed resource.”

Anne Broderson, advanced practice registered nurse and cardiology nurse practitioner at Alii Health Center, said approximately 40 people were prescreened via telehealth visits and another 350 were screened at the event Saturday. Of those, 174 people were tested.

“We saw a large number of patients with high exposure — college students returning home, first responders and (those with) more subtle symptomology. (We) learned a ton and are impressed with the effort of our team,” she said.

Broderson also added she was going to fly all of the samples from from the screening to Honolulu Saturday night to expedite processing.

“We appreciate all the support we have received in the community,” said Broderson. “It’s been very collaborative … how to take care of each other.”

Alii Health Center is planning another drive-through testing April 4 at Old Kona Airport Park

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

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To expedite the testing process, patients can contact Alii Health Center’s COVID-19 hotline at (808) 747-8321 option 5.

The Department of Health said that as of noon Saturday nearly 7,000 laboratory tests had been conducted for COVID-19 samples with 151 positive results. To date, the Sentinel Surveillance Program for COVID-19 has tested more than 350 samples from individuals throughout the state with negative test results.

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