HONOLULU (KHON2) — Surveillance testing started this week to help determine the positivity rate of incoming travelers, while post-arrival tests have been taking place on the neighbor islands. The epidemiologist running the surveillance testing program says it is part of a study to see whether a second test after arrival is necessary, so officials are hoping for a good sample size in the thousands.
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Officials say people are signing up for the surveillance test program. There are also people who want to volunteer, but we are told it is too early to get official numbers of how many have been tested so far.
“We just started, the project is just now being implemented. And although we obviously have some early data from the experience over on the Big Island, it’s way too early to make any conclusions at all,” said Epidemiologist Dr. DeWolfe Miller.
Voluntary post-arrival tests are taking place on Maui and Kauai. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino tells us as of Oct. 20, more than 350 post-arrival tests have been done and no positives have been reported, but that could change.
“Again, it’s a voluntary test. And so people are coming on their own accord. Many of them have said they’re thankful that there’s a second test,” said Mayor Victorino.
So far, thousands of travelers have taken advantage of the option to bypass the mandatory quarantine with a negative test, but there are still some kinks to work out. Governor David Ige says while 80% of arrivals successfully uploaded their test results, he is aware that some travelers faced difficulties.
“We do have our software developer who has a team available and as specific issues are being identified, they are working through them,” said Governor Ige.
When it comes to interisland travel, Maui and Kauai have agreed to open inter-island travel using the state’s pre-travel testing program, treating all travelers the same no matter where they come from. Hawaii County has now revealed its new plan that starts on Oct. 21. Inter-island travelers to the Big Island will have two options to avoid quarantine. They could either test before following the guidelines of the state’s pre-travel testing program or test after arrival.
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