Big Island Coronavirus Updates

COVID-19 Testing Now Available in Hawai‘i

February 29, 2020, 3:54 PM HST
* Updated March 12, 6:38 PM
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Hawai‘i Department of Health is now capable of in-state testing for COVID-19 and results can be ready within 24-48 hours of a sample being collected. This is a new, major development that enhances the state’s prevention and mitigation response capabilities to further safeguard the health of the people in Hawai‘i.

Previously, the state had earlier reported that testing capacity would not be ready until early next week. The DOH State Laboratories Division staff worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to receive approval from the CDC and complete the validation process to move forward with the testing procedure in Hawai‘i.

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 identified in Hawai‘i. DOH is actively preparing for possible cases and working with state, county, and federal partners including the medical community. As of Feb. 29, there are 96 individuals who are self-monitoring with public health supervision — 88 are on O‘ahu, five are on Hawai‘i Island, one is on Maui, and two are on Kaua‘i.

Many of these individuals were identified through screening by federal officials at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. These numbers fluctuate often as travelers arrive, depart, or begin and end their self-monitoring with supervision by DOH.

The new coronavirus has rapidly spread across the globe, with the epicenter located in the Hubei Province of central China.

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Foreign nationals who have traveled to mainland China within the last 14 days are being denied entry into the US. This includes not only people with a China passport, but all foreign nationals per Department of Homeland Security guidance. The exception is US citizens, legal permanent US residents or their immediate family.

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Enhanced screening procedures are in place at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to help keep the public and traveling community safe. An additional feature is the non-contact thermal temperature scanners that are used for incoming passengers from China. Airport passenger screening continues to be conducted by federal authorities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The CDC updated the definition of a Person Under Investigation (PUI) to include travelers to other areas. CDC has posted updated Criteria to Guide Evaluation of PUI for COVID-19. On Feb. 26, the DOH issued a medical advisory which encourages clinicians to reach out to the health department to discuss testing if they have a patient who meets the criteria for a PUI.

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