The city Thursday unveiled a new mobile COVID- 19 testing laboratory at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu to help expand testing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
A blessing ceremony officiated by Kahu Kordell Kekoa with a Hawaiian oli, or chant, took place at the lab near Baggage Claim 31 of Terminal 2.
At the ceremony, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the mobile unit is a fully integrated testing facility with the capacity to test up to 10,000 people a day.
Testing at the lab operated by the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii began Sunday. Polymerase chain reaction tests are being administered there. The turnaround time for individuals to receive test results is three to six hours.
The city built the mobile testing lab with just over $4 million in federal CARES Act funds, part of approximately $16 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for the facility. The funds were also used to cover lab-related costs for personnel, supplies, equipment, thousands of test kits and other operational costs.
More than 80 people from Hawaii organizations and businesses such as SynergyMed, H20Process Systems LLC, Kalihi Kai Urgent Care and DataHouse have have been hired to help in different capacities that include lab work, information technology, data intake and safety and compliance.
DataHouse, for instance, will aid the city with data to help with contact tracing should a person test positive for COVID-19.
Tests are first being offered to first responders and their families, workers of the state Department of Transportation’s Airport Division and city employees. The lab will be open for testing daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
City spokeswoman Brandi Higa said the plan is to eventually open testing at the lab to the public.
The city is also awaiting approval from the state Department of Health for the mobile unit to be a tested- traveling partner for interisland travelers from Oahu.
During the ceremony, Gov. David Ige said, “Protecting public health has been the highest priority for all of us. This facility really focuses in on that.”