County of Kaua‘i begins distribution of free at-home COVID-19 tests

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Ross Kagawa and Russell Wellington clear one of the cases of COVID-19 self tests Monday during the first day of free-test distribution, at the Waimea Neighborhood Center. The distribution continues through the week at different neighborhood centers.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Mayor Derek Kawakami joins the county Department of Parks & Recreation’s Ku‘ulei Takashima and Michelle Correa Monday in registering residents for the free COVID-19 self tests, at the Waimea Neighborhood Center.

LIHU‘E — Free COVID-19 home test kits ran out within a half hour at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center, where the county, in partnership with the state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office, began its distribution of about 15,000 kits islandwide.

Distribution of FlowFlex rapid-antigen tests will continue throughout the week at eight more locations, with a limit of 1,500 allocated to each stop.

“Please respect our limit of five free tests per household so that we can get them to as many families as possible before we run out,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said Monday.

Today, tests will be handed out at the Hanalei Neighborhood Center from 9 a.m. to noon, and at the Kilauea Neighborhood Center from 1 to 4 p.m., and at more county locations as the week goes on.

“These are rapid-antigen tests, not PCR tests like we use at the (county) testing centers,” DOH KDHO Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said. “With the rapid home tests, you get your results in about 15 minutes, and you can test in the privacy of your own home. If you need a PCR test — for travel to some destinations, for example — a home antigen test is not acceptable.”

Berreman recommended the use of these home tests for when an individual has symptoms and cannot easily get tested elsewhere.

“They are less sensitive and may be more likely to have a false negative, so if you have symptoms and your home test is negative, you should repeat a day or two later, and remain isolated as long as you are sick,” she said.

The DOH was able to secure these tests with federal funds, Berreman said.

“There are no current plans for future distributions, but if additional home tests become available, we will certainly distribute them,” Berreman said.

Monday, the KDHO announced 203 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the county’s number of active, recorded cases to 863, with nine hospitalized.

To date, the county has recorded 9,188 cumulative infections.

Free testing is available at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihu‘e weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The county will distribute free at-home COVID-19 tests Wednesday at the Hanapepe Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to noon and Kalaheo Neighborhood Center from 1 to 4 p.m.; Thursday at the Anahola Clubhouse from 9 a.m. to noon and Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Friday at the Koloa Neighborhood Center from 9 a.m. to noon and Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center from 1 to 4 p.m.

On Thursday, Wilcox Health and Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation will host a walk-in mobile van for vaccination for everyone aged 12 and older at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center from 1 to 5 p.m.

On Saturday, Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai‘i will host two vaccine clinics open to those aged 5 and older, at Kanuikapono Public Charter School in Anahola and the Kekaha Neighborhood Center from 9 to 11 a.m. at both locations. No appointments are needed.

For a full list of testing sites and more details, visit

For a full list of locations of vaccines for children and adults, visit


Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or


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