HAWAIʻI ISLAND – Hilo Medical Center has provided an update concerning preparations in Hilo, Hāmākua, and Pāhoa, while county officials have news on drive-through testing in Kona.

(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi Island continues to stand up additional testing sites, as hospitals prepare as best they can for whats to come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Emergency hires are needed at Hilo Medical Center and Hale Hoʻola Hamakua in Honokaʻa, hospital officials say, in order to “ramp up staffing in anticipation for two-thirds growth in capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.”

Hilo Medical Center (HMC) has a 5 Stage COVID-19 Management Plan. At the start of the weekend, HMC was currently in Stage 2: Travel-Related Big Island Cases without Community Spread.

This chart was provided by the hospital.

The hospital says it has a plan to preserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and is in the process of acquiring and securing more supplies. HMC says it is recruiting emergency hires for Nurse Aides, Food Services, Laundry Helpers, Housekeeper, Pharmacy, and Maintenance. The hospital says it is also recruiting for additional registered traveler nurses and incentivizing retention of existing travelers.

The process for the Hilo Medical Center drive-through is as follows:


  • Call your primary care provider to find out if a COVID-19 test is needed.
  • Your provider must order the test directly with Clinical Labs Hawaii.
  • Paper requisitions will not be accepted at the testing site.


  • If your provider requests a COVID-19 test, report to Hilo Medical Center.
  • You must bring your picture identification and insurance cards.
  • Provider orders may take up to one hour for Clinical Labs to process.


  • Follow signage at the testing site, drive slowly and with caution.
  • You will be asked to hold up your picture identification and insurance card.
  • A staff member will take pictures of your cards to confirm your order.
  • After your order is confirmed, one nasal swab will be obtained for the test.


  • Testing results will take up to a week or longer for processing.
  • Follow up with your primary care provider for the results of your test.

courtesy HMC

A screening & testing site will be opening at Puna Community Medical Center in Pāhoa on Monday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to an informational handout provided by HMC, the process for screening and testing at PCMC is:

  • Come to Puna Community Medical Center (PCMC) in the Malama Marketplace at 15-2662 Pahoa Village Road in Pahoa
  • Look for signs to the testing & screening entrance
  • This appointment will run like “typical” office visit. Your personal information, ID and insurance card will be collected. Your vitals such as temperature, oxygen level, blood pressure will be taken
  • Screening with on-site provider for COVID-19 symptoms
  • If appropriate, a nasal swab will be collected for the COVID-19 test
    You will be sent home with Home Care and Close Contact information

The hospital also provides these “side notes”:

  • Please follow the staff’s directions and instructions
  • One patient will be seen at a time in the COVID-19 screening and testing site
  • Others patients will be asked to wait outside in their cars
  • Test results will take up to a week or longer for processing
  • PCMC or your primary care provider will follow up with the results of your test
  • If you’re uninsured, you will be considered “self-pay” also known as upfront pay-ment via cash or charge card
  • Ask about payment options for the PCMC office visit charge
  • If your provider is not conducting the nasal swabs, your provider may send you to PCMC for screening & testing—depending on availability.

In Kona, officials are setting up a drive-through, pop-up COVID-19 testing site at the Old Kona Airport.

According to the County of Hawaiʻi:

A pop-up testing clinic for COVID-19 will be set up at the Old Kona Airport Park on Monday, March 23. The County of Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Task Force has teamed up with Premier Medical Group and HOPE Services to offer the clinic, with the support of The Ironman World Championship and Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation.

The one-day clinic will be held from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. This clinic is open to the public; however, individuals must first undergo a screening to determine if they meet the criteria to be tested. Clinic physicians on site will make the determination regarding testing. The screening criteria will be based on guidance of the CDC and the State’s COVID-19 Response Task Force.

“The fact is, we need to screen to know where the disease is. That’s the key,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich, president and founder of Premier Medical Group Hawai‘i.

Dry cough and fever are the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but the disease is also known to cause other upper respiratory symptoms, and in some cases, none at all. Other factors that will determine eligibility for testing include travel history, frequency of exposure to visitors from outside Hawaiʻi, and frequency of exposure to vulnerable or high-risk populations.

People who visit the screening clinic will be asked to show photo ID. Additionally, people are requested to bring any health insurance cards they have, although insurance is not required.

Miscovich, who serves as senior advisor to Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, said that the hope is to provide enough COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites as needed. The goal is to hold pop-up clinics in rural areas of the island to provide the critical support that is needed.

The belief among State leaders, including Lt. Governor Josh Green, is that increased screenings will slow the spread in Hawai‘i. “To beat this, the key is to screen, screen, screen,” Miscovich said

North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital in Waimea is also offering COVID-19 testing 6 days a week (10 am – 2 pm) on the hospital campus “from the convenience of your car,” officials say.

Read the article through Big Island Video News here.