With a traditional Hawaiian blessing, the city of Honolulu unveiled a new COVID-19 testing facility at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Thursday, November 6, 2020.
Kahu Kordell Kekoa officiated the blessing ceremony at the new facility near Terminal 2.
Kekoa has officiated many blessings and weddings in Hawaii and abroad. You may have seen him on either “Hawaii Five-0” or “Magnum P.I.” on CBS; he has appeared on each show twice.
For the testing facility blessing, Kekoa performed an oli, a Hawaiian chant.
“Protecting public health has been the highest priority for all of us,” Hawaii Governor David Ige said during the ceremony. “This facility really focuses on that.”
The testing lab will initially only be available to first responders and their families, as well as Department of Transportation Airport Division workers and other city employees, but the plan is to eventually open testing at the lab to the public and offer both pre-and post-arrival testing.
The facility is built to handle 10,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day, with a total turnaround time of three to six hours.
The city has requested approval from the Department of Health to classify the facility as an approved testing partner for interisland travelers departing from Oahu.
The total price tag is around $16 million, and Honolulu is paying for the new facility with federal coronavirus relief funds, with around $4 million going to the facility itself and additional funding going into equipment, such as test kits, and overall operations.