University of the Nations Kona confirms 4 new COVID-19 cases

  • Nearly 500 adults and children as young as age 3 were tested by the state Department of Health and Premier Medical Group at University of the Nations Kona on Tuesday. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Cars line up for testing Tuesday morning at the University of the Nations Kona. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Four new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by the University of the Nations Kona on Tuesday as hundreds of staff members and their families underwent testing for the novel coronavirus.

Some 492 adults and children as young as age 3 were tested by the state Department of Health and Premier Medical Group at the Kailua-Kona campus on Tuesday before testing kits ran out, said Johnny Gillespie, UofN Kona spokesperson. He added the actual number of people tested Tuesday was higher than estimated on Monday, due to the testing including children.

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“They will finish on Thursday with the rest of the staff and family and then test the students,” he said. Test results are expected within 48 hours.

Gillespie estimated up to 200 more staffers and family had to be tested, as well as around 300 students. It will be the second round of testing for the students, whom he said were all tested upon arrival in late September and entering a 14-day quarantine.

“Everyone is still in isolation on campus — the entire campus is on lockdown,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Gillespie said the state Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed four more cases of COVID-19 among staffers previously tested. That brought the total number of cases associated with the campus to 34. Three of the new cases were among staff members that live off the Kailua-Kona campus and the fourth was a staff member who resides on the campus.

The four new cases had been in quarantine for at least five days, he added.

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