COVID tests for pre-travel testing program can only come from state partners

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — State officials discussed more details about the state’s pre-travel testing program, which will begin on Oct. 15.

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The program will require incoming travelers to the State of Hawaii to provide a negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) 72 hours prior to arrival.

The test will also have to come from specific and trusted partners of the state.

  • American Family Care Urgent Care
  • Carbon Health
  • CityHealth Urgent Care
  • Color
  • CVS Health
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Kaiser Permanente (for members only)
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Vault Health
  • Walgreens

The governor said that registration instructions and costs can be found at the partners’ websites.

Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green, who is spearheading this program, said that he is still growing the state’s list of trusted partners.

“The pandemic demands that we remain flexible and open-minded to new advances in screening tools and methods to further decrease the spread of the virus,” said Lt. Gov. Green. “We are doing all that we can to make the pre-travel testing program successful and we’ll make needed adjustments along the way.”

But some do not think a single test will be enough.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the Honolulu City Council approved a resolution urging the governor to implement a two or more COVID test system. If it isn’t implemented, the resolution also urges the governor to delay the pre-travel testing program until a two-test system is in place.

“I’m worried that, under the current plan, people are going to slip through the cracks, meaning contagious people getting off planes and infecting local people. A two-test system would cut down that potential significantly,” said Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Tommy Waters.

Lt. Gov. Green said the state’s testing capacity does not make it feasible to add a second COVID-19 test for all visitors. Although, the state will carry-out a surveillance test program for about 10% of visitors who volunteer for a second test, four days after they arrive.

“Ideally we would like to start on Oct. 19, which will be four days after the launch of our program,” Lt Gov. Green said. “It may take time to ramp up obviously, we already reached out to our trusted partners that are local.”

The Hawaii Department of Health director Dr. Libby Char said that the department’s recommendation is to add another layer of safety by implementing a second COVID-19 test as soon as it is possible.

“While the safe travel program adds a greater level of safety, the DOH supports additional testing for travelers entering our state,” Char said. “A second test should be added as soon testing capacity and logistics makes this feasible.”

For more information about the state’s COVID-19 situation, click here.

The full press conference can be viewed in the video player above.

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