HONOLULU (KHON2) — Governor David Ige announced Wednesday, Sept. 16, that he will be launching a pre-travel testing program on Oct. 15.
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So far, CVS and Kaiser Permanente will be partners for the program. However, only a certain COVID-19 test will be accepted, which is the Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). Results for the test must come from a CLIA-certified laboratory.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the NAAT COVID-19 test is usually done with a nasal or throat swab. Results can sometimes be available within a day. The FDA said this type of test is typically accurate and doesn’t need to be repeated. It can even show if you have been infected with COVID-19 before.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said that the state considered a number of different tests, but selected the NAAT test for its accuracy.
“By approving the NAAT test, we did expand the number of tests quite significantly. That grouping of tests has been proven to be both sensitive and specific. In other words, it won’t get messed up,” said Green.
For those that choose to take the NAAT COVID test at CVS pharmacy, they will need to visit the CVS website at this link, then register and set up an appointment at a COVID-19 test site. The tests will cost $139 and results will be available within two to three days.
For Kaiser Permanente, members returning home to Hawaii can call the Away from Home Travel Line at 951-268-3900 to set up an appointment. Visitors can call their Kaiser primary physician. For Kaiser Permanente members, the cost for the test will be covered.
To ensure the tests catch anyone who may have COVID-19, it should be taken as close as possible to travel.
“We want to catch anyone who travels [especially if they are] positive with the virus,” said Green. So, we’re keeping the window as tight as we can to the arrival in Hawaii is best for us to decrease the risk.”
Green said more testing could also be possible at the airport.
“There’s even some discussion among some people about a second test here in Hawaii,” said Green. “Once the technology and the availability of tests becomes very good, we may even be able to pursue that if it’s not too expensive, and we can do it kind of on the spot.”
As for inter-island travel, the quarantine for those who arrive on any island other than Oahu expires on September 30th. The governor has not announced yet if that date will be extended.