DOH Coordinates Effort to Launch COVID-19 Testing

Posted on Mar 28, 2020 in Releases


The Hawai‘i Department of Health and the City and County of Honolulu are partnering to open a COVID-19 medical triage and quarantine center in Iwilei and establish mobile testing for homeless individuals on Oahu.

The center, located in a City-owned building, will provide housing, food, and hygiene facilities for up to 52 homeless individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are medically fragile, awaiting results, or test positive for the disease. The facility will be staffed by doctors, registered nurses, medical assistants, and other healthcare professionals provided by Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hui (H4).

The MacNaughton Group Foundation, with support from and the Hawaii Community Foundation’s newly established Hawai‘i Resilience Fund and Nareit Hawai‘i, is underwriting the medical costs and DOH is covering the operational costs.

  • The Hawai‘i Department of Health will assist in start-up costs and hire displaced Local 5 workers to provide food service, housekeeping and maintenance services;
  • The City & County of Honolulu will provide water, electric services and sewer connection;
  • The Institute for Human Services will offer social services case management for patient;
  • Premier Health Group and H4 will provide onsite testing services; and
  • Local 5 will also provide meal preparation and facilities maintenance on a volunteer basis.

“The COVID-19 Medical Triage and Quarantine Center is a community effort and reflects the approach our State will continue to take to address this pandemic, said Edward Mersereau, DOH Deputy Director for Behavioral Health Administration. “No one entity can address this crisis alone, and it takes many partners to suit up and show up. We are grateful for the efforts of the City, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, H4, IHS, Local 5 and others taking lead to provide services for the most vulnerable in the community.”

“Individuals experiencing homelessness are particularly impacted by this pandemic, and this facility will provide needed services for this population to isolate and receive essential medical treatment,” said Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness Scott Morishige. “The State will continue to explore other opportunities for similar partnerships as this pandemic continues.”

The initiative is part of the state’s three-pronged approach to addressing the COVID-19 outbreak in Hawai‘i:

  • Increasing testing for COVID-19, with a focus on individuals experiencing symptoms and those who work or are in vulnerable communities.
  • Adopting a strategic and proactive approach to quarantining, with a focus on kupuna, homeless individuals, and other groups that may be vulnerable.
  • Implementing strong government directives to self-isolate and practice social distancing.

“Bringing together government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector is especially important; the partnership allows us to fund, set up, and operate critical services in far less time than any of us would be able to achieve on our own,” said Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige. “As we find solutions to overcome the threat of COVID-19, it’s these types of local, collaborative efforts that will make a difference in our community.”

The DOH, Governor’s Coordinator on Homelessness, and other State agencies are providing a unified platform for homeless service and behavioral health providers to receive information and updates during the coronavirus pandemic through the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group at:


PDF: 200327 HDOH – Kaaahi News Release