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Kaiser: members advised that Omicron surge may cause delays in COVID-19 testing

Maui Lani Kaiser Drive Through COVID-19 testing. PC: Wendy Osher (Aug. 2021)

The rapid spread of the omicron variant has caused a surge in demand for COVID-19 testing at Kaiser Permanente and other health care organizations.

“Unfortunately, there may be longer than usual wait times for testing at our facilities — even if you have an appointment. We’re doing everything we can to meet this high and growing demand,” according to a KP email notification to members.

The health care organization advises those who need a COVID-19 test that they have several options:

  • Use an FDA-approved, at-home test.
  • Kaiser members can schedule a test on kp.org.
  • Go to other testing locations in the community. 
    • Drive-through COVID-19 testing is available today, Jan. 2, 2022, at Mauliola Pharmacy from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Maui County launches free drive-through COVID-19 testing at War Memorial in Wailuku, Jan. 3-31, 2022. Testing will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday in the parking lot area next to Ichiro “Iron” Maehara Stadium. Vehicle access will be south-bound on Kanaloa Avenue. Appointments are required with pre-registration at AlohaClear.com.

Kaiser Permanente is advising members not to go to urgent care or the emergency department for testing. Only members who need immediate care should go to those locations. 

Upon checking with the Kaiser appointment desk on Sunday morning, the earliest drive through test at the Maui Lani site is on Jan. 8. At-home test kits are also in short supply. Since New Yearʻs Eve, many pharmacies and retailers in Central Maui reported they were out of stock and awaiting shipment for more. At least two retailers in Wailuku reported they ran out their latest shipment within 24 hours of receipt on Thursday.

Individuals who get a positive test result or are exposed to COVID-19, are asked to follow the instructions below — and check with the state’s official guidelines for updates as they happen.  

For everyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of vax status

  • Stay home for five days
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five days, you can leave your home
  • Continue to wear a mask anytime around others for at least five additional days
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever resolves without the need for fever-reducing medications 

What to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 

If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have been boosted or completed your primary two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last six months or received the J&J vaccine within the last two months:

  • Wear a mask around others for 10 days
  • Test on day five, if possible
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home

If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and you are not vaccinated or have been vaccinated but you received your Pfizer or Moderna two-dose primary series more than six months ago or received the J&J vaccine over two months ago and have not been boosted:

  • Stay home for five days. After that continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days
  • If you can’t quarantine you must wear a mask for 10 days
  • Test on day five if possible
  • If you develop symptoms, get a test and stay home 

Vaccine boosters

Kaiser Permanente advised that “getting vaccinated — and getting a booster dose when you’re eligible — is still essential for protecting yourself, your family, and your community.” Appointments are available for members online at kp.org. 

Vaccinations and boosters are also available at retail pharmacies or providers outside Kaiser Permanente if that’s the quickest option for you.

Staying safe through the surge

Public health officials and Kaiser Permanente’s infectious disease experts recommend “staying close to home because of how fast the omicron variant is currently spreading.” They also ask that people “avoid unnecessary travel and gathering with people outside your household.”

The health care organizations says that, “In addition to getting vaccinated, getting a booster, and wearing a mask in public indoor settings, the best way to protect yourself and your family is by limiting your exposure to the virus.  We’re doing everything we can to test and vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as we can — so you can have a safe and healthy new year.”

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/01/02/kaiser-members-advised-that-omicron-surge-may-cause-delays-in-covid-19-testing/

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