Pre-travel testing still slated for Oct. 15

In Monday’s regular meeting of the State House Select Committee on COVID-19, Ray Vara of Hawaii Pacific Health said the state’s plan to require pre-flight negative COVID-19 tests for people to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine is still on track.

Earlier, Dr. Josh Green, the State’s Lieutenant Governor, who is tasked with implementing the program, said in an online interview that testing will not be required for children under 5.

Currently, there are a number of companies that have agreed to do testing and provide results within the timeframe required. That includes CVS, Walgreen’s, Kaiser Permanente, and Quest Diagnostics (which has locations in a number of states in Safeway, Vons, and Walmart stores).  Two airlines so far have announced they will do pre-flight testing for Hawaii-bound passengers–United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.  A third airline is expected to announce additional test availability soon.  Right now, the websites for setting up testing do not allow for testing as required for travel to Hawaii, but Vara said they will probably later this week.

During the meeting, State Rep. Richard Onishi said his understanding is that Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim expects people coming to this island to quarantine, regardless of the pre-travel testing, at least for now.

During the Monday meeting, Wendy Laros of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce said it was her understanding that the Hawaii County plan is to do a second round of testing on incoming travelers after they arrive.  Gen. Kenneth Hara, the head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said he is working to get consistency between the state and the counties, and that he is aware that Hawaii County plans to require a second test at some point after a traveler arrives and he is working with the County to provide what he calls “sandwich testing” … doing that second test a few days after a passenger arrives.  But so far, no additional detail is available.

Gov. David Ige is expected to announce more details this week or early next week.

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