City to end free COVID-19 testing program on Oahu

The City and County of Honolulu announced today that it will cease its free COVID-19 testing operations at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and other sites after Dec. 30.

The city currently offers free COVID testing to Hawaii residents at its Mobile Lab at the Honolulu airport as well as at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale.

Officials said the decision was made in consultation with the Hawaii Department of Health, and that it is in line with the statewide COVID-19 Transition Plan, which calls for shifting testing operations away from community sites to traditional health care settings and home tests.

Officials said data for COVID test site usage rates, along with case trends over the past few months, also supported this transition.

“We appreciate the City helping to make testing accessible for the community,” said State Health Director Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Char, in a news release. “It was a good community resource and allowed people to make informed decisions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

The city has offered the free testing to Oahu residents as part of an agreement with the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai‘i Consortium since July 2021.

Hours had fluctuated over the months, depending on demand, and in October, availability of the free COVID tests expanded to all Hawaii residents, and not just Oahu residents.

Until Dec. 30, the city’s mobile lab is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except for Sundays and Thursdays in the Diamond Head Tour Group Area just past baggage claim 31 at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Also until Dec. 30, testing is available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays at Honolulu Hale, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Kapolei Hale, except for state and federal holidays.

To get tested, Hawaii residents must pre-register under the city pre-paid section at oahucitypass.lumisight.com and receive a QR code. No walk-ins will be accepted. Those who register will be required to bring a valid state ID displaying their address and zip code.

“I would like to offer our warmest mahalo to the dedicated staff from the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii who have worked tirelessly to keep our entire community safe from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi in the release. “These men and women showing up day in and day out, even on holidays, putting their own health at risk to make sure we were mitigating the spread of the coronavirus on Oahu. Well done! Bravo!”

The city, meanwhile, is working with non-profits that provide medical assistance to underserved communities as well as community health centers to distribute the remaining COVID test kits available from its testing program.

Testing should still be widely available via home-test kits and at hospitals, community health centers, commercial testing laboratories, and pharmacies. To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, visit oneoahu.org/covid19-testing.

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