By Rob Shikina March 22, 2020
More than 400 people received a free coronavirus test Saturday at a drive-thru testing site at Kakaako Makai Gateway Park.
The wait to get screened lasted for more than two hours for many waiting in the line of vehicles that stretched, at its longest, from the park to Ward Avenue then down Ala Moana Boulevard to South Street.
Dr. Scott Miscovich, who led the effort, said 405 out of the 2,225 people who entered the screening point were tested.
The effort was aimed at those whose jobs put them at risk of coming in contact with people infected by the coronavirus and, most importantly, who already had symptoms.
“It’s outstanding right now,” Miscovich said. “The people of Hawaii have been kind and understanding and are all pulling together.”
After residents were qualified to test, they turned into a line to the waterfront’s parking lot where workers covered in white protective gear administered the nasal swab test.
People who were swabbed are required to self-quarantine for three to five days, or whenever their test results return.
David Reaume, 55, a driver for TheBus, was one of those qualified to be tested. He said he had been out sick for the previous nine days with a dry cough, difficulty breathing and an upset stomach.
“I just really feel lousy,” he said. He was expected back at work on Thursday if he is feeling better.
“I just don’t want to be the asymptomatic guy that spreads it to everybody,” he said.
Scott, an Army civilian who only gave his first name, said he flew in from Virginia a week ago Saturday for work in the islands. On Friday, he began feeling hot with a dry cough and extreme fatigue.
He was in the screening line by 8:30 a.m. Saturday and was later qualified for a test.
“All I had to say was I just flew in,” he said. “The only thing keeping me up right now is adrenaline.”
The workers running the program were from Miscovich’s organization, Premier Medical Group Hawaii.
Miscovich said he donated the program costs, which are running in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, because of his concern for Hawaii.
“I believe in Hawaii,” he said. “I believe if we come together we’re going to beat this.”
He said it was highly likely he would hold another event, but it was too early to tell.
Miscovich’s organization will be doing another drive-thru clinic Monday on Hawaii island. That clinic will be open to the public at Old Kona Airport Park from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Those who want to be tested will undergo an initial screening to determine if they qualify to be tested, such as already having symptoms.
Hawaii County’s COVID-19 Task Force and the nonprofit HOPE Services Hawaii are also assisting with the Big Island clinic.
While the Kakaako clinic’s focus was on those whose jobs put them at risk, the Kona clinic will be focused on rural communities, including the homeless population.
Brandee Menino, CEO of HOPE Services Hawaii, said the nonprofit is doing surveillance on about 50 homeless individuals on Hawaii island it could eventually refer to be screened for the coronavirus.
“Nobody’s been focusing on the homeless communities,” Menino said by phone Saturday. “We know that they haven’t traveled, but we know they’re around tourists destinations, so they’re around people who have traveled from afar, and these are folks who already have compromised health conditions or are elderly.”
Maui County in conjunction with other organizations also will hold a drive- thru coronavirus testing clinic Monday at the War Memorial Gym parking lot. People with respiratory flu-like symptoms who want to be tested must make an appointment first. Call 808-270-7228 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to schedule an appointment.
Read the article and watch the video through the Honolulu Star-Advertiser here.