COVID-19 Rapid Test Supplies Distributed to Counties
The Hawai‘i 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.
In Maui County, the Abbott test was conducted on a hospitalized patient, who tested negative and was subsequently transferred into hospice care. The equipment helped to confirm that the patient could be transferred safely to another healthcare facility.
Maui Mayor Michael Victornio says that this still represents a very small amount of the overall testing
“Very limited numbers have been given to us… The regular testing will still be utilized. We are looking at the anti-body testing in the very near future. Both local as well as outside sources are now putting that together for us. We’ll move as quickly as possible and take all the variable types of tests. I would say the rapid test would be for first responders and or our medical personnel so that if there’s someone showing some signs, we need to know quickly,” said Mayor Victorino in an afternoon press conference on Friday.
“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).
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 from the International Reagent Resource (IRR). Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that use of the rapid testing equipment be conducted on symptomatic patients. Requesting physicians will utilize the test kits based on priority symptoms and factors.
The Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division is located in Pearl City. SLD performs laboratory testing to support disease control and other health related programs including the Disease Outbreak Control Division. The State Lab regularly tests samples for viruses and related agents which cause flu and the common cold. This enables DOCD to keep track of what is causing respiratory disease in the community and implement control measures if it is necessary.
Per earlier information from the Maui District Health office, each kit allows for 20 tests per week. The testing takes about 20 minutes per case, so three can be done in one hour.