All counties will participate in Hawaii’s pre-trip coronavirus testing program in accordance with negotiations between Governor David Ige and the mayor of several counties in the state.
Hawaii County will enforce the strictest policy and will require antigen testing on all transpacific travelers arriving. It will be the second exam following the required exams required at least 72 hours prior to travel from the mainland to Hawaii. These tests can be administered by 17 other partners including CVS, Walgreens, Kaiser Permanente and several major airlines. The pre-trip test program begins statewide on Thursday, October 15th.
The Big Island 2nd exam is administered at three Hawaii Island airports, Keahole’s Ellison Onizuka International Airport, Waimea-Kohala Airport and Hilo International Airport.
“This second trial on the island of Hawaii will provide an additional layer of protection for our community,” said Big Island Mayor Harry Kim. “Almost all medical and coronavirus experts agree on the need for more than one test.”
The cost of the expedited COVID-19 arrival test is borne by the county of Hawaii through federal CARES Act funds. Prosecutors are administered by Hawai’i County Civil Defense Agency personnel and administered by Premier Medical Group Hawai’i.
This antigen test will give you results within 15-20 minutes. If a traveler tests negative for COVID-19, they are not subject to self-isolation. Tests positive for COVID-19 must undergo a follow-up PCR test immediately and self-isolate in accordance with state health department regulations while waiting for these test results, which can be expected within 36 hours.
Kaua’i and Maui counties will conduct COVID tests after voluntary arrival to enter the island. Kaua’i offers voluntary testing for mainland travelers on the 3rd day after arrival. Honolulu County is looking for the ability to include a second test in its process, but Mayor Kirk Caldwell said people arriving in O’ahu would have to significantly increase their test supplies to make the second test a reality. Ige has announced an additional $30 million in CARES Act funding to be used for COVID testing and testing supplies in the coming weeks.
Surveillance tests are also conducted after arrival and test about 10% of those who voluntarily arrive in the state. People who test positive as part of surveillance testing do not need to be isolated. No information on test results will be provided unless such information is requested. These tests are conducted for scientific purposes to measure how well the initial mainland tests before departure to catch COVID cases prior to their arrival on the Hawaiian coast.
The governor also said it is seeking a pre-trip testing program with Japan and will talk with Japanese authorities on Tuesday afternoon.
People who test positive in the first test on the mainland will be quarantined upon arrival in Hawaii. If a negative test has not yet been returned upon arrival in the state, it should be quarantined until results are available.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green asked if there were many cases of benign COVID that could trigger a rollback to a pre-trip testing program. In response, he said the state is fully committed to the program and that it will continue until a vaccine is made.
“I don’t expect the results to skyrocket until there is a big surge on the east coast in winter,” Green said.
Green and Ige argued that the initial mainland COVID test would catch most of the cases, but it was controversial by program critics and argued that the flow of tourists would start small and increase slowly over time.
Ige added that testing capacity and contact trackers have increased across the state to cope with future surges.
Interisland trip is back, but not Big Island.
The Governor also announced that Kaua’i and Maui have agreed to implement a pre-trip testing program for inter-island travel, which allows people traveling from O’ahu to Maui and Kaua’i to test negative for coronavirus. Isolation can be avoided if you receive it. At least 72 hours before departure.
The program is also starting this Thursday. Hawaii County has not yet agreed to participate.
Ige reinforced its pre-trip testing policy by signing its 14th Urgent Declaration on Tuesday. It also extends the ban on eviction for non-payment of rent and the expiration date of state ID and driver’s licenses until November 30, 2020.