COVID-19 test supply could affect reopening of trans-Pacific travel

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s influx in COVID-19 cases has state and county lawmakers reconsidering plans to move forward with a pre-travel testing program set for August.

Hawaii House Speaker Representative Scott Saiki said testing capabilities continue to be a concern in plans to reopen the tourism industry.

Saiki said, “The hiccup we have now is the announcement that we will see a cut back in testing supplies. That is a major concern for me. So, I am really not sure if August 1 is still a feasible date.”

The surge in COVID-19 on the mainland is also affecting the state’s testing capabilities. Diagnostic Laboratory Services said a shortage of testing supplies forced them to cut back daily testing from 800 to 250 tests.

“The testing is a really important component in our reopening plan,” Saiki said. “We need to have the testing capacity in Hawaii.”

Thursday wrapped the second day of meetings with county mayors and Governor David Ige to discuss possible delays to the pre-travel testing program.

Saiki said, “The mayors would want a system in place where the information is seamless, where they would know which travelers have results and which ones not have results and need to be quarantined.”

So far details on the pre-travel testing program are limited, but it would require having extra tests available for visitors who arrive in Hawaii with symptoms.

That could be an issue if testing supplies run low.

“We want to make sure that there’s going to be sufficient tests available for Hawaii residents,” Saiki said. “We cannot have testing monopolized by out-of-state travelers.”

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