Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health, said the state’s capacity for conducting COVID-19 tests has “increased dramatically” during the last month.

During a press conference Thursday with Gov. David Ige, Anderson said the number of available test kits has grown from 12,300 two weeks ago to more than 38,000 currently. During the last few weeks, the number of labs on Oahu and the neighbor islands that can process tests has grown from five to 11.

He also noted the average number of daily tests performed in the state has gone from 418 to now 691. The state’s total capacity for testing — the number of tests that can be given daily — is as high as 3,600.

State health officials have questioned the kits the city wants to purchase. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“This number is expected to increase significantly over the next few weeks and we have no doubt we’ll be able to test 5,000 or more if necessary,” Anderson said.

The health department has been criticized in the past by other doctors, lawmakers and others for not ramping up testing and contact tracing throughout Hawaii fast enough.

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