COVID-19 case surge could lead to opening scale-backs

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — County mayors plan to meet with Governor David Ige to discuss plans for August’s pre-travel testing program and possible scale backs of recent openings.

Officials’ plans for the state’s travel program, set to begin on August 1, have not been released yet. Although Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell now raises questions over the ability to open-up safely.

Caldwell said, “How do you open up to those outside of our community? To visitors on August 1 if we cannot effectively contact trace with 41 cases spread widely.”

The Hawaii State Department of Health responded to an email request asking about contact tracing efforts and it said the department has a sufficient level of contact tracers.

On Tuesday’s press conference, Governor David Ige left open the possibility of delaying tourism plans, he said conversations with mayors and health officials will continue.

Ige said, “I want to assure everyone in the public that the health and the well being of our community is the highest priority, we will be data-driven and listen to the recommendations of health experts.”

It has not even been a month since bars and gyms reopened, but they are now facing the possibility of scale backs or even closures once again.

Caldwell said, “We got to start talking about the more risky businesses that open up like bars, bars with singing and gyms, I don’t want to have to make these decisions but we will make them.”

While more visitors are expected in less than a month, simple details in the pre-travel testing program are still to be determined.

The Director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Anderson, said they are still working out a process for the state to receive the test results from visitors once the program begins.

Anderson said, “We will need to verify that the test is indeed negative, we are working with the pharmacies, with the private providers to determine how best to arrange for the transfer of information.”

Anderson said more details on the pre-travel testing program will be known in the coming weeks.

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