Big Island Coronavirus Updates

HMC Emergency Department Reports Longer Than Usual Wait Times for People Seeking Medical Care

January 25, 2022, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated January 25, 3:13 PM
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Hilo Medical Center continues to be full with COVID and non-COVID patients, officials reported Tuesday, Jan. 25.

As a result, the hospital’s emergency department is experiencing longer the usual wait times. Officials attribute this to doctors’ inability to discharge waitlisted patients to a number of long-term care facilities, as they are closed to new admissions because of COVID exposures and positive cases among staff and residents.

“These waitlisted patients at HMC, combined with an already full hospital, means that patients waiting for beds to open up upstairs on the units have to be held in the Emergency Department,” stated an HMC press release issued Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, HMC was treating 25 individuals for COVID-19 — 11 of them are unvaccinated and 12 are inoculated and have received a booster shot. According to HMC officials, four of the patients are on ventilators in the ICU, three of whom are unvaccinated.

“We have opened eight additional acute beds in overflow areas of the hospital and are prepared to open 24 additional beds if demand further exceeds capacity,” the hospital’s press release said.


The hospital now has a total of 36 FEMA-funded personnel to help in this omicron surge.


Because of vaccine availability in the community, HMC will be closing its vaccination clinic this Friday, Jan. 28. Alternative vaccination sites are listed below:
Hawaiʻi County:

Go to to get free at-home COVID tests. Every home in the United States is eligible to order four free at-⁠home test kits. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Order your tests now so you have them when you need them. If you have questions, read the Frequently Asked Questions here.

You can also look into using your health insurance to purchase a test over-the-counter at a pharmacy or store by clicking here.


HMC will announce any future distribution events.

“We understand that these tests are in extreme high demand,” the HMC press release said.

In the meantime, officials advise seeking testing at community sites:

Hawaiʻi County:
Aloha Clear:
S&G Labs:

If you received your vaccination from Hilo Medical Center and have lost your vaccination card, submit your information for a replacement card by clicking here.

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