HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Governor David Ige announced on Wednesday that a pre-travel testing program will be available to travelers coming to Hawaii as an alternative to the mandatory 14-day quarantine order.
This will begin on August 1, 2020.
It’s simple: travelers with a valid negative test result will not have to quarantine, said Gov. Ige. But if the traveler do not get a pre-travel test, the mandatory 14-day quarantine order will remain in place.
To do this, out-of-state travelers coming into Hawaii will have to get a PCR test before arrival from any testing location approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. When the passenger arrives in Hawaii, evidence of a negative test result must be provided.
Testing will not be provided for passengers upon arrival at the airport.
Officials say that the Health Department is still in the process of developing this program but anticipates requiring an FDA-approved PCR test from a CLIA certified laboratory.
Travelers will be required to provide printed or emailed pre-test certification as evidence of a negative test result.
Travelers will also be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test.
Why a pre-test?
“Well, it’s not perfect. But a pre-test will minimize the risk that COVID-19 has imported in our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.
He said that the state came to this decision after seeing others across the world carry out the same procedure.
“We’re not playing around here,” he said. “We are telling people, get your test before you come here to keep the numbers low so the DOH (Department of Health) can do their job.”
At the airport, temperature checks and screening will continue. Those with a temperature of over 100.4 degrees, or have been experiencing other symptoms, will have to go through a secondary screening process upon arrival at the airport.
Those who go through a secondary screening process will also be offered a COVID-19 test to further evaluate the symptoms.
“As we take these steps to increase the number of travelers to Hawaii, we do anticipate that we will get more cases,” said Gov. Ige. “But we have spent the last few weeks in building up our capacity to handle more COVID positive cases.”
Travelers will also be required to fill out the State Travel and Health form.
“If people want to visit Hawaii without regard to our public health, don’t come. If non-residents bought property here but don’t want to follow the same rules we’re all living by, sell and buy somewhere else,” said Congressman Ed Case.
The governor said that over 200,000 Hawaii residents have filed for unemployment since the beginning of COVID-19. This new program will aid in the state’s phased approach to reopen Hawaii’s economy.
“We went from the from the lowest rate of unemployment in the nation to the second highest in the courses of several weeks,” Gov. Ige said. “At the end of July, much of the federal support will no longer be available. Now is the time to work together as a community to ensure that our residents and local businesses can safely return to a larger volume of travelers.”
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