Drive-through sampling

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Wilcox Health nurse Amber Elkington and clinician Nicole Vierra are ready to process clients at the drive-through, physician-referred COVID-19 specimen collection station Friday at the back of the Wilcox Medical Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The Kaua‘i Ocean Discovery center at Kukui Grove Center closed until further notice Friday due to concerns about COVID-19.

LIHU‘E — Wilcox Medical Center kicked off drive-through COVID-19 sampling Friday, the same day a spokesperson with the state COVID-19 Joint Information Center confirmed two visitors on Kaua‘i have been identified as “persons under investigation” for COVID-19, with test results pending.

Both of those individuals are adults — a man and a woman. The spokesperson confirmed Friday that the two individuals have been tested for COVID-19 and the samples were on their way to O‘ahu for processing. As of Friday afternoon, DOH said there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i.

The state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office’s Dr. Janet Berreman confirmed Friday the two visitors are well enough to be managed outside the hospital.

“They are self-quarantining in private accommodations. We are in regular contact with them and anticipate having more information over the next few days. They did not spend any of their holiday on a cruise ship,” Berreman said.

No further information is available at this time on these two individuals.

Over at Wilcox Health Center, Marketing Manager Faith Campbell said the newly opened drive-up specimen collection is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to those with a doctor’s referral.

The new service is called “specimen collection” because that’s exactly what technicians working the drive-up collection station are doing — they collect samples to send to the mainland for testing.

“A patient who is interested in being tested needs to contact their doctor. Their doctor decides that testing is necessary and provides an order for the test,” Campbell said.

“Patients should be contacted by their doctor within three days with their results, depending on which mainland lab receives the test.”

For specimen collection at Wilcox Medical Center, the patient will need to bring a valid form of identification, a doctor’s order for the test and an insurance card. The doctor’s order can either have been entered electronically or brought on a lab-requisition form. Patients cannot be tested without these items.

the state DOH reminded residents on Friday that COVID-19 testing “is not intended for all residents,” as testing those who are well or at low risk for exposure is not an efficient use of resources. To ensure judicious use of resources, health-care providers statewide are triaging and determining if their patients meet the criteria to initiate COVID-19 testing. Patients must have a physician’s order to be tested.

Also this week, the DOH issued a medical advisory with risk assessment and management guidelines to health-care providers to identify patients who are most at risk for COVID-19 infection. Those considered at high risk are those who have been living with an intimate partner, or caring for a person who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19.

DOH further announced Friday test results from the first batch of samples in a newly launched statewide surveillance testing program to identify cases and community spread of the coronavirus. Of the 31 random samples completed, all 31 were negative for COVID-19.

“This is good news for Hawai‘i as positive results would have indicated community spread of the disease,” said DOH spokesman Janice Okubo. “While we cannot rule out community spread, the negative results are an encouraging benchmark.”

Latest numbers from DOH indicated 27 individuals who are self-monitoring with public-health supervision — 24 are on O‘ahu and three on Maui, with the caveat that numbers fluctuate. The two individuals on Kaua‘i who DOH personnel confirmed are under investigation are not listed in the Friday DOH summary.

The Cruise Line International Association announced its cruise lines will be voluntarily and temporarily suspending cruise-ship operations from U.S. ports of call for 30 days. The temporary suspension took effect at 7 p.m. Friday.

Ships suspending tours around Hawai‘i include the Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Viking Cruises and Disney Cruise Line.

Matson announced Friday operations continue as usual, for now, and state Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Timothy Sakahara confirmed Kaua‘i harbors remain open.

Preventing and slowing the spread of COVID-19 triggered a rush of event cancellations, suspensions and postponement notices on Friday, including events like the annual Kaua‘i North Shore Lions Club pancake breakfast fundraiser, the 2020 Bum Run, Lihu‘e Business Association’s monthly meetings and all Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation spring sports, except those happening today, like golf, softball, tennis and baseball.

7 Comments
  1. Citizen Cane March 13, 2020 9:34 pm Reply

    Finally (!) some word about a neutral testing site on Kauai. About time. But testing really needs ramping up—not just one site, not just Monday thru Friday, not just with a doctor’s order and not 3 days till results!!! Do ppl not get sick on weekends? How much spread can occur while you wait on an appointment with your doc? And what do you do while waiting 3 days for a result—not go to work, school, place of business? Honolulu has drive-up testing sites WITH screening at 2 hospitals already. Now is when our elected leadership and agencies need to step up—the longer time it takes the more chance we’ll all be enduring the Italian model.


  2. Maka'ainana March 14, 2020 5:43 am Reply

    Their itinerary while visiting Kauai should be released for the public. Or even better, their last month. Please.


  3. KimoKane March 14, 2020 8:52 am Reply

    What do people without insurance do?


    1. George March 14, 2020 3:38 pm Reply

      Obama established a Pandemic Response Team
      … and Trump dismantled it

      Obama established a senior position on the National Security Council to respond to pandemics
      … and Trump eliminated it

      The Obama Pandemic Response Team (?) included a medical observer in China, dedicated to reporting potential outbreaks at a very early stage
      … and Trump eliminated the position


  4. Roberta March 14, 2020 6:32 pm Reply

    KimoKane, the testing is free to everyone, thanks to the government.


    1. voteblue March 15, 2020 6:59 am Reply

      Did you read the article? In order to be tested you need a doctor’s note and insurance. That isn’t “free”.


  5. notahippi March 14, 2020 7:12 pm Reply

    Why do we have our testings “sent” out? Why can’t Kauai have their own testing lab so that we don’t have to wait days to find out if we have the virus . Why can we not have more testing drive through such as KVMH, Mahelona, North shore? 7 days a wk. The new mayor needs to step up his concern for the Kauai people


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