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County COVID testing program receives award

A COVID-19 test is administered in drive-thru testing as part of the county’s community-based testing program. Maui County photo

The Maui News

Maui County was recognized for its community-based COVID-19 testing programs with an achievement award in the health category from the National Association of Counties.

“This program brought testing to people’s homes, neighborhoods and workplaces, and it has helped businesses and schools reopen, employees return to work and residents to have peace of mind,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “This program underpinned Maui County’s strategy in taking a data-driven, scientific-based approach to rule-making and keeping our community safe.”

The program was designed to provide free, rapid and easily accessible testing to anyone willing to be tested, regardless of whether they have symptoms or known exposure to COVID-19. A county news release cited leadership from the National Institutes of Health reporting that because nearly half of COVID infections are transmitted by people who aren’t showing symptoms, identifying infected people while they are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic plays a major role in keeping a community healthy.

From Oct. 16 to May 26, over 37,000 tests were administered resulting in more than 1,000 positive test results throughout the county.

As of Thursday, Maui County had the highest proportion of testing conducted in the state relative to its population, with 1.15 nucleic acid amplification tests administered per capita, according to the county news release.

“Our program allowed Maui County to aggressively test and address known and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the community before larger community spread occurred,” Victorino said.

The county worked with other agencies, including the state Department of Health Maui District Health Office, National Guard, Feed My Sheep and Maui Food Bank, which provided services such as contact tracing, outreach, translating, traffic control and food for quarantined families.

The county program was one of 89 programs nationwide that received achievement awards in the health category. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.

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