Hawai‘i’s Initial Batch of Surveillance Testing Comes Back Negative for COVID-19

March 13, 2020, 5:26 PM HST · Updated March 13, 5:26 PM
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PC: Office of Gov. David Ige / Facebook

As announced earlier this week the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health launched a statewide surveillance testing program to identify cases and community spread of the coronavirus. Testing on the first batch of samples was completed today and of the 31 random samples completed, all 31 were negative for COVID-19, according to officials with the DOH.

“This is good news for Hawaiʻi as positive results would have indicated ‘community spread’ of the disease. While we cannot rule out community spread the negative results are an encouraging benchmark,” according to a department spokesperson.

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Community spread is defined as “cases that cannot be traced back to a traveler or those who came in contact with someone who has been affected by the coronavirus.” The goal of the program to detect new cases quickly and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health, in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is working with participating healthcare providers, primarily doctor’s offices and other outpatient settings, to collect samples to be tested for COVID-19. These are providers who normally collect samples from patients with respiratory symptoms to test for influenza. The Hawai‘i Department of Health will then randomly select from among those samples to test for COVID-19.

So far in Hawai‘i the number of presumptive positive tests is 2, and both are adult residents of O‘ahu.

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