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H-3 freeway reopens in both directions following closure for COVID-19 surge testing

  • Video by Cindy Ellen Russel; courtesy video Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center

    For several hours, state and city officials shut down both sides of the H-3 freeway on Tuesday for drive-thru COVID-19 surge testing.

  • COURTESY HAWAII COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER
                                The scene inside the Tetsuo Harano Tunnel on H-3, today, for people to get surge testing.

    COURTESY HAWAII COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER

    The scene inside the Tetsuo Harano Tunnel on H-3, today, for people to get surge testing.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Vehicles lined up at the entrance to H-3 westbound, today, for people to get surge testing.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Vehicles lined up at the entrance to H-3 westbound, today, for people to get surge testing.

  • COURTESY HAWAII COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER
                                Vehicles lined up at the entrance to Tetsuo Harano Tunnel on H-3, today, for people to get surge testing.

    COURTESY HAWAII COVID-19 JOINT INFORMATION CENTER

    Vehicles lined up at the entrance to Tetsuo Harano Tunnel on H-3, today, for people to get surge testing.

State and city officials shut down both sides of the H-3 freeway for several hours today for drive-thru COVID-19 surge testing in an effort to test as many Oahu residents as possible.

The H-3 reopened to regular traffic shortly after 5:10 p.m., according to a tweet from the state Department of Transportation.

Honolulu police had closed the freeway in both directions starting at 5 a.m. to prepare for surge testing, which began at 9 a.m. and continued until 2 p.m.

Gov. David Ige encouraged Oahu residents to get tested during an afternoon press conference on the H-3 freeway.

“You don’t need a reason to get tested other than wanting to know if you are COVID positive,” Ige said. “You don’t have to go into quarantine if you get tested like other kinds of tests.”

Surge testing at the H-3 is part of a three-week federally funded program aimed at testing up to 90,000 people. The city, state, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Surgeon General are collaborating on the effort, which began Wednesday in response to triple-digit increases in daily new coronavirus cases, mostly on Oahu.

>> PHOTO GALLERY: H-3 freeway shut down in both directions for coronavirus surge testing

Honolulu Fire spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Roache said this morning there were short lines and minimal wait times. “There was little bit less than we expected. Since we’re shutting down the freeway, we want to have an overwhelming response.”

“H-3 is the best place to get tested without the long wait times,” Roache said, adding there are more teams available to swiftly administer drive-thru testing.

Individuals may pre-register online at doineedacovid19test.com. Residents are asked to bring the printed voucher from the online registration and a photo identification card to the H-3 surge testing site.

Surge testing on the freeway will also be held Thursday during the same 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Officials encourage residents who did not pre-register to get tested.

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