State tuberculosis clinic returns to Kalihi

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There’s a nationwide shortage of the tuberculosis testing solution since April.

The state Department of Health temporarily lifted the required TB clearance for students, food handlers, health care workers and others.

There has been a lot of changes this past month for the state’s tuberculosis program. Not only have they suspended TB clearance requirements for the first time, but they are also in the process of a big move.

“We’re returning from the Waimano Ridge area to Lanakila where the TB program resides,” Department of Health Conmunicable Disease program chair Glenn Wasserman said.

For the past few months, they’ve been housed in a temporary clinic in the Pearl City area- one that many have said was hard to find and inconvenient.

“I went up the hill. It’s too far. I’m very thankful for this time, I know you guys moved back to here,” Waimanalo resident Nanson Namelo said.

The state was making renovations to the Lanakila location in Kalihi, which included a new air condition and ventilation system as well as upgrades to the computer and phone systems.

They said upgrades were essential to run one of the busiest clinics in the state.

“Particularly in the summer, were always busy with students coming back to school, we will be working closely with public health nurses and even consider overtime so we can take care of the public,” Wasserman said.

As soon as adequate testing supplies return, which is expected to be in the next couple months, it will get even more crowded as they address the backlog of people who need to be tested.

So far experts haven’t seen the number of TB cases increase and don’t expect any type of outbreak, but they are monitoring the situation closely.

“We’re hoping this delay in the delay of TB skin testing screening is not going to impact public health,” Wasserman said.

Health officials say the CDC will announce next week the status of the TB testing supplies and then determine when the TB screening requirements will be reinstated.

The Lanakila clinic will reopen this Tuesday at 1 p.m.

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