State to use entire H-3 Freeway to facilitate COVID-19 testing next week

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – State and city authorities are planning a full closure of the H-3 Freeway next week to help facilitate surge COVID-19 testing efforts on Oahu, the Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The multi-agency effort will involve the closure of the freeway in both directions from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1 and Thursday, Sept 3, officials say.

Testing stations will be set up inside the Harano Tunnel, in both directions of traffic, to maximize the number of individuals who can be tested.

Once individuals have been tested, they’ll be required to continue on to either end of the H-3 before using alternate Koolau routes, if necessary, to continue in transit.

“This surge testing will help us flatten the curve once more,” said Gov. David Ige. “We’re all working together for the health and safety of our whole community. Use of the H-3 will provide space to allow as many people as possible to be tested.”

The drive to use the H-3 as a testing site is part of a new mass COVID-19 testing initiative that was announced earlier this week in conjunction with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the federal government.

Caldwell said 4,800 people were tested as part of the surge testing program on Wednesday alone ― but state and federal officials acknowledged that the increased testing numbers were likely to cause a spike in the number of positive cases reported in Hawaii.

The use of the freeway also appears to be a response to traffic issues that plagued some test sites on Wednesday; people with appointments to get tested at Kaneohe District Park were turned away for a period of time on Wednesday morning, and lines to get into the sit at Leeward Community College stretched for miles.

“Testing on the H-3 is a historic, first ever endeavor that will make a significant difference in getting more people tested,” said Mayor Caldwell. “This will be made possible by all of our Federal, State, and County teams working together to make sure traffic in and out of these sites can flow smoothly.” (Click to Source)

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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