HONOLULU (KHON2) — The start of the state’s pre-travel testing will challenge Honolulu to keep its average of COVID-19 cases below 100 daily positives, as the county moves closer to loosening restrictions in a couple of weeks.
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The seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases is 76 on Oahu, and if cases remain at this level the county may move ahead into Tier Two of its reopening strategy. Currently, Honolulu is in Tier One, it is the strictest of the four tiers.
Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the county is keeping the numbers low but he said there is a risk of going up with more tourism activity expected this year.
“We know that there will be more cases, and I’ve been told that those cases will be counted to the Oahu number,” Caldwell said. “Visitors arriving who are positive will be counted to the Oahu number, it could affect our ability to go forward.”
A post-arrival COVID-19 test is not part of Oahu’s plan for October 15, Caldwell said the island’s testing supply will be used for residents.
“The vast population of Hawaii is on Oahu,” Caldwell said. “We also have the highest number of cases. We want to make sure that capacity in the test that we have on Oahu not be spent somewhere else.”
The mayor said a true random surveillance COVID-19 test could also give insight on the number of visitors who test positive after arriving. Caldwell said they will revisit implementing a second test once there is more testing capacity in the county.
Caldwell said, “As we open up we will be taking some risks. I think the pre-testing program will not screen out every visitor who could be positive. We’ve been told by the Lt. Gov it will screen about 80%, leave 20% that continue to come through that could be positive.”
Details on the state’s pre-travel testing can be found here.