‘Misinterpreted’ Mayor Kim says he has a commitment of 50,000 visitor arrival COVID-19 tests

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — “When you come through Hawaii Island you will be going through a second test.”

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That proclamation was made by Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, who is finalizing a proposal to give to Governor David Ige to supplement the state’s pre-travel testing program.

Mayor Kim says that he’s meeting Governor Ige’s criteria and that the testing will be completely paid for by the county, and will not require visitors to quarantine. He adds that if his plan does not work, Governor Ige’s plan will go into effect.

But Mayor Kim is extremely confident in his plan.

“I’m getting blasted with calls and misinterpretations that I had chosen to opt-out of that program,” Mayor Kim revealed. “I never did say that I choose to get out of the one-test only as non-acceptable risk. What I am presenting is a two-test system.”

The system is supposed to be in place before October 15, which is when the state’s pre-testing program begins.

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino announced on Wednesday that his plan for a mandatory post-travel test was denied by the governor. On Monday morning, Oct. 5, Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami said his second-test pilot program was also shot down.

Mayor Kim says what makes his plan different is the number of acquired tests. Kauai announced that the county had 15,000 tests, while Mayor Kim says he has a commitment of more than 50,000.

“The question was for how long do you have? It was for a limited time, and the governor said ‘You need to give me more assurance than that.’ So we’re basically talking the same story,” Mayor Kim said. “I’m saying I have the commitments already to meet, not to tap the state supply, so to speak, because I have commitment from the mainland and connection with the people who provide the tests to provide me with what I need.”

When KHON2 asked Mayor Kim about his plans to restock tests, he said it is a sustainable amount but declined to give details.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck Hawaii in March, Hawaii Island had nearly 117,000 visitors in the month of February alone.

Gov. Ige said Wednesday afternoon that he does not want testing taken away from Hawaii residents.

“As I told the mayors, I’m just very concerned about diverting the testing capacity of our state from our local residents for people who are symptomatic or people who have been exposed and need to get a test.”

Mayor Kim says that he hopes to have his plan finalized by the end of the week.

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