(BIVN) – The Hawai‘i Department of Health on Friday announced the distribution of COVID-19 rapid test equipment and supplies to public health and clinical laboratories in all counties.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health issued this media release on the distribution of the rapid testing kits to all counties:
The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) State Laboratories Division (SLD) has distributed a total of 12 Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 rapid test instruments to all counties. The rapid coronavirus tests can produce results within 15 minutes when conducted in a certified laboratory.
“Having this capability to test a critically ill patient within 15 minutes is a great tool in the fight against COVID-19.” Said Dr. Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division Administrator. “It helps us detect the virus quickly and respond much faster to help the patient and inform staff to ensure safety measures are in place.”
Six instruments have been sent to county medical systems (two each to DOH District Health Office laboratories on Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i) and six instruments to clinical laboratories and health systems on O‘ahu (two each to Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii, and Kaiser Permanente).
Distribution for O‘ahu laboratories was based on healthcare and laboratory systems with the highest demand capacity throughout the state. For neighbor islands, these instruments enabled testing on-island for the first time. Test kits, used with each instrument, can test up to 24 samples. Additional supplies of rapid test kits are expected to arrive next week.
In Maui County, the Abbott test was conducted on a hospitalized patient, who tested negative and was subsequently transferred into hospice care. The equipment helped to confirm that the patient could be transferred safely to another healthcare facility.
The Abbott instruments were provided at no cost to the state with federal funding from the International Reagent Resource (IRR). Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that use of the rapid testing equipment be conducted on symptomatic patients. Requesting physicians will utilize the test kits based on priority symptoms and factors.
Governor David Ige talked about the Abbott test kits briefly during a news conference on Wednesday.
When asked if the new rapid tests could be used to screen visitors arriving in Hawaiʻi, the governor answered that the Department of Health has completed training and “it’s really not just 15 minutes, you know, it can be as long as 30 minutes or 40 minutes.”
“I don’t believe that the Abbott instrument itself and the test kit is sufficient throughput to really help us with testing visitors coming in,” Governor Ige said. “Two months ago, when we were having some of the best January and early February visitors coming to the island, we were receiving 30,000 visitors each and every day. So, clearly the Abbott machine itself would not allow us to test 30,000 people coming in, in a way that wouldn’t really shut down the airlines, just in terms of the logistics of getting the tests done.”