Trans-Pacific travelers could get shortened 3-day quarantine under Kauai’s new rule

Coronavirus

LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — Inter-island travelers flying to Kauai can participate in the state’s Safe Travels program to get out of quarantine starting this week. But what about trans-Pacific travelers? The county got what it wanted when Governor David Ige approved a rule that would require a post-arrival test for visitors looking to get out of quarantine.

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Kauai has, and still is, “opted out’ of the Safe Travels program for trans-Pacific travelers. But travelers coming in from out-of-state now have the option to quarantine for three days instead of 10. The county says trans-Pacific travelers could be released from quarantine, with negative test results, if they take a pre-travel test, quarantine for 3 days on a ‘resort bubble’ property and then take a second test.

“That’s going to be really attractive to a lot of people,” said Richard Albrecht, President of The Club at Kukui’ula.

There are six Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) or ‘resort bubble’ hotels, where visitors are allowed to leave their hotel rooms as long as they stay on property during their quarantine period. The Club at Kukui’ula is one of them and says the new rule is a step in the right direction.

“To the extent that they can experience the rest of the island after three days, they’ll be more likely to come,” said Albrecht.

Participants will need to wear tracking bracelets, which help the hotel monitor people under quarantine.

“And if they’re off property, that shows that they’re red. And then we get on the phone, we call and try and figure out where they are. So we haven’t had any incidents,” Albrecht said.

“I think it’s an optimistic way to start the new year,” said Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman.

Dr. Berreman tells us the requirement of the second test adds a layer of protection because most people will test positive around six to eight days after exposure.

“If you get your first test up to three days before you travel and then you get your second test three days or more after you get here, you have almost a week interval between those two tests,” she said.

Under the resort bubble post-travel testing program, Kauai health officials say tests do not need to be from one of the state’s trusted travel partners.

“The pre-travel test needs to be either a PCR or an antigen test,” said Dr. Berreman. “And it does have to be a test that has FDA authorization to be used.”

The Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 tells us he thinks Kauai’s program is prudent.

“It took a lot of hard work, a lot of coordination, a lot of planning, but I think that’s in the best interest of their county and their community,” said Hawaii State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz.

The resort bubble program is optional and the new rule goes into effect on Tuesday.

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