LIHU‘E — Georgina Keawemauhili-Keaweamahi was first in line at Kaua‘i’s final distribution of free COVID-19 test kits, held at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center on Friday afternoon.
Keawemauhili-Keaweamahi arrived at 8:30 a.m. and stood for more than four hours, to ensure she would receive a set of five tests she intends to give to her son.
“He works three jobs,” Keawemauhili-Keaweamahi said, worrying about her son’s chances of exposure to the coronavirus. “It’s very important for me to give it to my son.”
Approximately 290 other Kaua‘i residents of all ages were behind Keawemauhili-Keaweamahi, in a line that almost encircled a portion of the neighborhood center.
But the queue moved quickly when Mayor Derek Kawakami arrived ahead of the distribution’s scheduled 1 p.m. start time, having come from an earlier distribution event in Koloa.
“As case counts on Kaua‘i remain elevated, these test kits came at the right time for our community,” Mayor Kawakami said in a subsequent press release. “We know this because we saw our residents show up every day for an opportunity that wasn’t available at the start of the omicron surge.”
Approximately 15,000 test kits were handed to residents at distribution events held across the island, from Jan. 24 to Friday.
The initiative resulted from a partnership between the county and the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Kaua‘i District Health Office.
“Home tests put knowledge directly into the hands of our residents, and allow them to act responsibly,” said Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman.
There are no current plans for additional home test distributions on Kaua‘i.
However, the county has pledged to renew distribution should additional supply become available.
Residents are also eligible to receive four free home tests through the federal government, at https://www.covidtests.gov/.
Vaccination, testing continue
Free vaccination is offered islandwide. Vaccinations are available to anyone 5 years of age or older and are free, safe, and effective. For details on the vaccination sites, visit www.kauai.gov/vaccine.
Free testing is also available islandwide. For a full list of testing sites and more details, visit www.kauai.gov/covidtest.
The county asks residents to please note the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention COVID Testing Center is no longer running out of tickets for testing by 9 a.m. Tests are available for the public. Upon arrival at the test center, you will receive an appointment time to return later in the day. Appointments are given on a first-come, first-served basis. You must wait until your ticketed time to be tested.
The Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall testing center is limited to 500 tests per day, and the free mobile testing van is limited to 100 tests per day.
Source: The Garden Island