The State Department of Health State Laboratories Division 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).
Jason delaCruz with the Hawaii Island Office of State Department of Health said the two test kits for this island have been placed with Hilo Medical Center and Kona Community Hospital. He said both hospitals are in the process of having their test kits validated by Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii.
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.
The Abbott instruments were provided at no cost to the state with federal funding. State DOH says the tests come with a caveat that they may only be used on symptomatic patients.
On Wednesday, Governor David Ige said he doesn’t believe the Abbott Labs tests would be appropriate for testing at airports once the passenger count increases. He also said the test processing might be as long as 40 minutes.
Abbott Laboratories says they are now manufacturing 50,000 kits a day, and should soon be shipping 2 million kits per month. The company says it has already shipped 1.4 million kits, to all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Islands. The majority of these tests have been sent to outbreak hotspots. The company said they have asked that frontline health care workers and first responders be prioritized for testing.
There are numerous screening and testing sites around the Big Island, on a regular basis. Click here for the list of ongoing sites.