DOH Testing 3 for COVID-19, 1 on Big Island

March 3, 2020, 2:09 PM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:38 PM)
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The Hawai‘i State Department of Health is currently awaiting COVID-19 test results from three individuals being monitored for the virus — one on the Big Island, Maui and O‘ahu.

During a press conference at the state laboratory in Pearl City, Oahu, Tuesday, DOH Director Bruce Anderson, said there are no confirmed cases in the state for the virus. Two cases, one on the Big Island and the other on O‘ahu, were recently tested and came back negative.

Three additional cases came in Tuesday for testing.

Gov. David Ige said Hawai‘i is one of 40 states capable of the testing. He has been engaging on a national level on seeking funds to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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“We’re preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” Ige said.

Anderson said the criteria of testing has expanded.

“The disease is now known to be widespread in other countries,” he said. “We can now test people who have been exposed in those areas.”

Those countries include, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

“Our state lab is fully able to do the testing,” Anderson said. “If we do have any positive cases, we have to send those back to the CDC for confirmation.”

As the number of cases under investigation increases, Anderson added, not be alarmed.

“We’re doing more tests because of the testing criteria,” he said.

Anderson said that the lab now has the ability to test an illness of an known origin. The physician orders the test, which is free of charge.

“We now have the ability to test an illness of an unknown origin,” he said.

 

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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