Rapid Test Kits Coming But Not For Community Testing

Apr 7, 2020

The state is expected today to get the new rapid coronavirus test kits that can produce results in about 15 minutes.

The state will receive 15 rapid testing instruments and five test kits a week, officials announced yesterday.

Each kit can run 24 samples for a total of 120 weekly tests.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson says it will not be used for community testing because of its limited availability.

"They are intended primarily to serve as a diagnostic aid when individuals are in our hospital and decisions are made on whether to put them on a ventilator or not," Anderson said. "This could be a very good test to have available. . . it will probably be required that we limit the testing to hospital medical facilities, which are needing quick results."

About 14,000 tests have been run statewide. But most of them have been conducted by private labs where the samples are sent to the Mainland.

Because of this, Anderson says there is a lag in hearing results.

"They are intended primarily to serve as a diagnostic aid when individuals are in our hospital and decisions are made on whether to put them on a ventilator or not, this could be a very good test to have available. . . it will probably be required that we limit the testing to hospital medical facilities which are needing quick results.

 

"The turnaround time on those can be anywhere from a few days to 10 days or more they are developing capacity to do the test locally they should then be able to turn results around in less than 24 hours," he said.

Private labs began testing in mid-March.

Only the state labs and the Tripler Army Medical Center can test locally. Anderson says those can be completed in a matter of hours.

The state has said that it can run up to 250 tests a day. As of last week Thursday, state labs had conducted just 428 tests.

Anderson says one of the biggest hurdles to wider testing is the shortage of personal protective equipment.

The state has received only 25 percent of its request to federal officials from the strategic national stockpile, Gov. David Ige said.