County officials encourage voluntary coronavirus testing after travel

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii is ramping up efforts to get more people vaccinated, but some counties said there is still a need for certain people to get tested for COVID-19.

A COVID-19 test for peace of mind, that is the pitch from Kauai County health officials that are now focused on offering free COVID-19 testing for those who recently traveled or came in close contact with a traveler.

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“If you have traveled or been exposed to travelers, or if you would like to be tested for peace of mind,” Kauai District health officer Dr. Janet Berreman said. “We continue to offer free COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday at the Convention Hall in Lihue.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend COVID-19 testing for those who cannot physically distance to avoid exposure in areas like travel, large gatherings or poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

People who had close contact with someone COVID-positive should also get tested.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said, nearly 200,000 people have taken advantage of the county’s free COVID-19 testing.

Victorino said, “Those who work in a high traffic area especially people not only in the visitor industry but in retail, restaurants where they have direct contact with the public.” 

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA) meanwhile has partnered with Honolulu County and the National Kidney Foundation to offer testing for hospitality workers.

The HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann in a statement said,

“HLTA completely supports free COVID-19 testing for hospitality workers and the general public. This is why we’ve partnered with the City & County of Honolulu and the National Kidney Foundation to provide free testing for local hospitality workers. They can utilize this any day of the week whether they’ve been exposed to the virus or even if they just need peace of mind. Kaua‘i County is now offering similar testing availability and, should test kit inventory levels allow it, we would encourage this sort of policy in each of the counties.”

Mufi Hannemann, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president and CEO

Reaching majority vaccinations in Hawaii remains the ultimate goal, however.

“When we touch 1.9 million shots we will be at 70% for the whole state,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green said. “About 300,000 shots to go and we’re really getting quite close.”  

The CDC says most fully vaccinated people will not need further COVID-19 testing or quarantine unless they develop COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever or a cough.

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