HONOLULU (KHON2) — Travelers will have more options to bypass the mandatory quarantine as different types of tests become available when tourism reopens on Oct. 15.
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The lieutenant governor says that includes rapid tests with results within minutes, and saliva tests ideal for children.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green is in charge of the pre-testing program to reopen mainland tourism. He says new partners will be able to provide different testing options, which would also allow airlines to do testing at mainland airports.
While deep nasal swab tests have been the gold standard for detecting COVID-19, Green says the Abbott ID Now test is also valid for travelers to Hawaii. It’s done with a swab to the front of the nose and results come back within 13 minutes.
Green says Walgreen’s has agreed to provide them and United Airlines will also start testing at the airports.
“United Airlines is going to be offering tests for example at LAX,” said Green. “They’re going to be doing it there, and a lot of people are gonna start doing the tests. Or having rapid tests available at airports.”
CVS and Kaiser Permanente have signed on as partners. Green says the state is also negotiating with a company called Vault which provides saliva tests.
“That is good news for people because the saliva test is the answer for children, honestly because that makes it a lot easier to go in there or just spit into a cup,” said Green.
Some companies like CVS do not provide tests for children under 12 years old. Green says the rapid tests could also help with a pre-testing program for interisland travelers. That’s something the county mayors will have to decide.
“If they recommend, say, a rapid test or one of the other modalities, which are cheaper and easier to get, hey, that’s their prerogative,” said Green.
Green adds that if the number of active cases keeps dropping, which he expects, then it might make more sense to just drop the interisland quarantine by Oct. 15. Right now there are more than 6,400 active cases.
“I’d say if we get under 3,000 active cases on Oahu, people should be reassured that it’s under control and we’re tracing and testing adequately. So that’s what I would recommend,” said Green.
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