Medical experts concerned with state’s pre-travel testing program as travel-related cases grow on Kauai


HONOLULU (KHON2 ) — Many healthcare providers have been voicing their concerns over the state’s pre-travel testing program. One physician says we are starting to see the repercussions of a one-test system as Kauai is requesting to opt out.

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Kauai reported four new cases on Nov. 25, two of them associated with travel and the other two appear to be community spread.

Emergency Physician Dr. Darragh O’Carroll tells us a one-test system is not adequate enough. He says the CDC also recently released its recommendations on quarantine.

“What they’re stating is the same thing that in my paper and all the physicians that have been making a case and the correct scientific case, that a one-test system is just the beginning of one and not not a whole one,” said Dr. O’Carroll. “The major concern is that one test does not catch nearly the amount of travelers that its proposed to do, it catches closer to 30-40%.”

Kauai has started counting cases of people diagnosed out-of-state or off-island but have traveled to the island. The count is now up to 14.

“We’re kind of going to the rest of the state, it’s probably happening to you to. Because it’s not, those cases were not detected systematically,” said Dr. Kapono Chong-Hanssen of the Kauai Community Health Center.

The state recently tightened the Safe Travels program, where travelers to Hawaii must have their negative COVID results before getting on a flight or they will have to go on a 14-day quarantine.

While he applauds the new restriction, Dr. O’Carroll says leaders need to look at the effectiveness of a one-test system.

“And come together and find a middle ground based on the new CDC guidance, and also, the paper that I’ve released, that there needs to be more done, especially when it comes to a quarantine on arrival and a second test system,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green sent us a statement saying:

“It’s important for Hawaii to keep tight controls as mainland states are spiking with record setting cases and I’ve recommended the counties do arrival testing if they have the capacity because it will provide some extra protection.”

Lt. Gov. Josh Green

The chairman of the Senate Special committee on COVID-19 also supports secondary testing.

“According to CDC guidelines is a seven-day quarantine and with a test to be taken somewhere around the fifth day,” said Senator Donovan Dela Cruz. “And now that we have Dr. Libby Char, I think she’s also have been has quietly been in support of the second test. This hopefully, backs up her position. So now the administration is going to have to make a call as to how they want to proceed.”

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