Group tracing quarantine breakers is busier than ever

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite having to quarantine for two weeks, more visitors keep arriving in Hawaii, and among them are some who will try to avoid the state’s rules.

It is getting harder to keep track of visitors for a group of volunteers who monitor that quarantine orders are being followed. Angela Keen, the Administrator of Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers group, said she is getting reports of people breaking quarantine almost by the hour.

Keen said, “Back in March, we had maybe one or two quarantine breaker reports a week, and today, today it’s overwhelming, I’m getting maybe four to eight a day.”

Their efforts are only expected to increase in September, that is when travelers who can verify negative COVID-19 test results will be exempt from quarantine. However, the order will stand for those not tested or showing symptoms.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz is the Chair of the state’s Senate Special Committee on COVID-19, he also wants to see a larger staff to verify that visitors stay inside their place of lodging for 14 days.

“We are probably scaled to what we were back in April which were probably less than 100 or 200 visitors,” Dela Cruz said. “Now that that number is going up, we have to make sure the proper staff is there so that we can enforce the quarantine.”

He said there are visitors who try to bypass the quarantine order through loopholes.

“Hotels started to comply with the 14-day quarantine, then they went to illegal Airbnbs,” Dela Cruz said. “When we said no rental cars, they started using rental car apps, it seems some people are hell-bent in trying to violate the quarantine.”

Groups like Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers use social media to locate visitors who disregard the governor’s emergency orders. Keen said they want state officials to have a precise system come September.

Keen said, “There has to be a better follow-up each day with each quarantined person and that needs to be specifically tracked, where they are staying and whether they are being safe.”

The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 will meet with the state attorney general, the Department of Health and other agencies involved in the pre-travel testing program. The agenda includes discussions on contact tracing, passenger screening, COVID-19 testing and enforcement of quarantine.

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