New thermal screening equipment installed at five Hawaii airports, DOT discusses installation


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Department of Transportation discussed the new thermal screening equipment on Wednesday, August 5.

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According to HDOT communications director Tim Sakahara, the equipment is now in use at airports in Honolulu, Lihue, Kahului, Kona and Hilo.

He says that the equipment for phase one was completed with the installation on Friday, July 31, and through the weekend installation and implementation of the new equipment was put into action.

“It has been going very well and it is just another tool that the state has implemented to try to protect the community against COVID-19 by trying to detect any of those passengers who may have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher,” said Sakahara.

He adds that if a passenger does have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or highers, the passenger will be pulled aside for additional evaluation.

“They will be confirmed if they do in fact have that elevated temperature. Then additional precautions will be taken in addition to having the option of having a COVID-19 test and nasal swab take here at the airport, and then transported to the Department of Health for testing,” Sakahara said.

Privacy concerns were also brought up–an issue that many voiced when the state first announced the installation of the new equipment.

“We realize that privacy is a concern and no one’s civil liberties are going to be broken,” said Sakahara. “Only those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will have their picture taken and that’s only to help pull them aside be able to conduct further evaluation.”

Sakahara assured the photo will not be shared with anyone outside of the state DOT and that it would be kept on record for 30 minutes, then purged and deleted.

“That said too, the picture itself will not ID that person. So even if a person is coming in and they do set off that alert–because they have an elevated temperature–it won’t know that person’s name, it won’t know their address, where they live.”

Sakahara says that the facial imaging technology is actually not yet set up. It’s part of phrase three, which will be done by the end of the 2020.

Phase two of the project will include the installation of the temperature scanning equipment at the remaining gates by Aug. 20.

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