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.