Oʻahu selected for federal pilot program to provide one million free at-home COVID-19 tests

Posted on Sep 20, 2021 in COVID-19, Newsroom

Oʻahu residents in eligible ZIP codes can order free COVID-19 test kits while supplies last at COVIDTestHonolulu.org

HONOLULU – Oʻahu was selected for a federal pilot program that will provide free at-home COVID-19 test kits to eligible residents.

The Say Yes! COVID Test At-Home Testing Challenge will provide 125,000 Oʻahu residents who live in eligible ZIP codes with eight rapid antigen tests. The program encourages participants to use the tests twice a week for four weeks, regardless of symptoms, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community healthy.

“Free, rapid, self-administered testing will give community members one more way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP. “This program provides participating communities with another tool to protect themselves and their families as we continue to increase access to testing.”

Residents of the following zip codes are eligible for the program: 96701, 96706, 96707, 96712, 96717, 96730, 96731, 96734, 96744, 96762, 96782, 96786, 96789, 96791, 96792, 96795, 96797, 96813, 96814, 96815, 96816, 96817, 96818, 96819, 96821, 96822, 96825, 96826, 96844, 96850, 96853, 96854, 96857, 96858, 96859, 96860, 96861, 96863.

Individuals who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine or who have the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as people working or going to school outside the home, are ideal candidates for participation, but anyone over the age of two is welcome to participate.

Oʻahu residents in participating communities can order test kits through COVIDTestHonolulu.org for home delivery. Test kits will also be available through community organizations. A free online tool that also is available as a phone app will be offered to provide testing instructions, information to help understand test results, and text message reminders about testing. Data is stored securely and no DNA or specimen is collected.

Test kits will be available through Oct. 18, or while supplies last. The self-administered tests cannot be used for workplace testing requirements or other programs that require documented testing.

Community engagement efforts are underway to ensure that underserved populations and those without internet access can participate in the program. Community organizations interested in serving as a distribution partner should contact [email protected].

Individuals may elect to share their test results with DOH. Those who test positive on self-administered tests should follow home isolation guidelines and contact their healthcare provider to seek follow-up testing.

The Say Yes! COVID Test initiative is a cooperative effort between DOH, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community partners, test manufacturer Quidel, and healthcare technology company CareEvolution. Researchers at NIH-supported academic health centers will work with CDC and NIH to use publicly available data to determine if the local testing efforts slowed the spread of COVID-19.

Rapid, self-administered testing has potential to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 that occurs when people are infected, but don’t yet have symptoms. Testing twice a week increases chances of identifying COVID-19 infection and isolating early.

The rapid antigen COVID-19 tests are authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration and are provided free of charge. Tests require a quick swab inside each nostril. Results can be read in about 10 minutes. A free, private, and easy-to-use mobile application is available to help individuals in every step of test taking. Each test package (four kits; eight tests total) supports home testing twice a week for four weeks for an individual.

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