Honolulu airport to begin screening for coronavirus

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Department of Health in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that screening for the coronavirus will expand to 20 airports with quarantine stations across the country, including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

Tim Sakahara from the Hawaii Department of Transportation explains that it is something they are already doing.

“Even long before the Coronavirus was even a thing, the CDC had a permanent full-time office here, and it was working to screen and inspect passengers from International destinations,” said Tim Sakahara of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Sakahara says the Coronavirus has heightened the need for monitoring.

The DOT and the Department of Health are there to assist, but the CDC is in charge.

“For more than a decade this quarantine station was here and on a daily basis the team that is here works on just that,” said Sakahara. “Identifying passengers that may need to be screened for any infectious disease whether the flu or otherwise.”

The other 19 quarantine stations are located in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. A map of the 20 quarantine stations can be found here.

Scientists use the basic reproduction number, or R0 (pronounced R-not) to measure the average number of people who will catch the disease from one infected person. The coronavirus currently is estimated to have an R0 between 2 and 3, meaning one infected person can be expected to transmit the virus to 2 or 3 people. However, that number is subject to change as more is learned about the virus.

On Monday, the CDC issued a warning to avoid all nonessential travel to China. While the virus continues to spread in China, affecting over 4500 people and counting, only five people in the US have been hospitalized with confirmed cases of the coronavirus: one in Washington, one in Illinois, one in Arizona and two in California.

The CDC stated that the immediate risk in the US is still considered low.

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