COVID test results lagging on mainland

Kaiser Health News has reported that getting results for COVID-19 tests has slowed nationwide, to a week or longer.

This could affect the ability of Hawaii to require people to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding their plane to Hawaii and thus forego the mandatory 14-day quarantine.   Gov. Ige had announced the program would begin August 1, but sources say that early this week he’s likely to announce a delay in the effective date.

Kaiser Health News reports that Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, has said the long waits spell trouble for individuals and complicate the national response to the pandemic.

“It defeats the usefulness of the test,” he said. “We need to find a way to make testing more robust so people can function and know if they can resume normal activities or go back to work.”

KHN says the problem is that labs running the tests are overwhelmed as demand has soared in the past month.   Although test results were coming back quickly nationwide, now it’s taking up to ten days –and in some cases longer — for patients to learn whether they have tested positive.

Hawai’i State Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson has said at recent press conferences that so far, Hawai’i has not had problems in getting test results back within a few days.  But last week, Roche Diagnostics said it’s cutting supplies to Hawaii’s Diagnostic Laboratories, which will reduce the capacity of Diagnostic Labs.  It’s not clear what impact that will have on the ability of the state overall to test and get results in a meaningful time frame.

For the full Kaiser Health News report, click here.

Hawaii County has updated its list of places on the island where people may get tested for COVID-19.  Click here for the list.  At least one, Ali’i Health Center at Keauhou Shopping Center, has added an extra day of testing (from two to three) because of high demand for testing.

 

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