HONOLULU (KHON2) — To help with testing travelers, the state has partnered with CVS, but there may be some issues with the program, including a requirement that would make the partnership practically useless to Hawaii residents.
CVS is helping administer the tests, which are supposed to have a 72-hour window of intake and results to clear a traveler from the 14-day mandatory quarantine. CVS promotes their tests as taking two to four days for results, and possibly five to seven days in times of peak demand.
With many labs across the nation facing a backlog as the country reports nearly 50,000 COVID-19 cases per day, demand for tests is high across the nation.
While searching for ways to travel to see family on the continent, Oahu residents Doug and Vickie Levinson haven’t been able to find a test site that can return a test in the 72-hour time frame.
“My wife and I have both called CVS,” Mr. Levinson said. “We have doctors offices, family members who have called their own doctors. They all say the same thing.”
Currently, CVS only allows people to be tested for COVID-19 in the state they reside in.
This leaves Hawaii residents who want to travel out of state without that means to get a negative test before returning home.
Governor David Ige is encouraging Hawaii residents to avoid traveling despite plans to reopen tourism.
“We are aware of that problem but certainly when I was asked and I’ve responded to everyone who asked me I suggested that people not travel,” Governor Ige said. “Especially if you’re traveling for leisure reasons. Traveling at this point and time should be limited to essential business only.”
In a statement to KHON2, CVS said “At CVS Health we recognize that Hawaii has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. We look forward to rolling out a COVID-19 testing program that will allow tourism to begin to return, while at the same time protecting the island, its workers and its communities. When the State of Hawaii is ready to reopen, CVS Health will be there, helping to contain the spread of the virus and Hawaii to move forward. More details will become available as the State progresses toward its reopening date of August 1.”
Until the details are ironed-out, booking tickets will be put on hold for many Hawaii families fractured from their loved ones on the continent.
“I held my grandbaby when he was a newborn. He’s 7 months old,” Mrs. Levinson said. “There’s only so much Facebook or Zoom can do. I was supposed to go right before this hit so if Governor Ige doesn’t want to call that essential I disagree. It’s time you’ll never get back.”
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