The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is waiving routine TB clearance requirements for selected groups to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The suspension will remain in effect through May 31, 2020. The Department says the suspension will support social distancing in the community to protect the public, especially vulnerable seniors and individuals with medical conditions that could increase their risk for COVID-19.
Although TB tests for routine screening are mandated under Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 164, the DOH determined that temporarily suspending the TB clearance for these selected categories do not pose immediate risks for tuberculosis transmission in the community. This also reduces the greater risks of contracting COVID-19 and helps to further manage the spread of the virus in communities across the state. DOH conducts an average of 50,000 tuberculosis skin tests annually, and provides treatment to approximately 120 individuals identified with TB.
TB clearances for the following are suspended through May 31, 2020:
- Annual clearance for healthcare workers
- Annual clearance for patients in long-term care facilities
- Food handlers
- Children entering childcare, preschool or school (K-12th grade)
- Post-secondary school students and employees
The Department of Health continues to require TB clearances for new healthcare workers, new childcare and school employees, and new residents of long-term care facilities. DOH will continue to provide full evaluation and treatment of patients with active TB as well as those who have been exposed to individuals with active TB.
Residents who need a TB clearance may call their local public health nursing office, or Lanakila Health Center at (808) 832-5731, to make an appointment for this service.