Kauai mayor asks governor for OK to require second COVID-19 test of all arrivals

Many are questioning whether the state's pre-travel program is even ready to welcome visitors...
Many are questioning whether the state's pre-travel program is even ready to welcome visitors while also controlling the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaii.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 3:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said he wants to require travelers who test negative for COVID-19 before arrival get tested again days after they land.

And while they’re waiting for the results, he wants them to quarantine.

Kawakami said he doesn’t think the state’s pre-travel testing program, set to launch Oct. 15, is safe enough. That program would allow trans-Pacific visitors to bypass a mandatory quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours before departure for the islands.

State officials said the program would provide a comfortable level of protection.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green estimates that about 1 in 1,000 travelers who test negative would actually be positive for the virus.

Kawakami said the county’s plan would add a second layer of protection, requiring travelers and residents to take a COVID-19 test no sooner than 72 hours after arriving on island if they want to skip quarantine. Green has said that additional layer of complexity would keep most people away.

The state has also said it doesn’t have enough tests to test everyone after arrival.

COVID-19: Update, Oct. 2 #FlattenTheCurve #ShakasNotShakes

COVID-19: Update, Oct. 2 #FlattenTheCurve #ShakasNotShakes ASL interpretation: https://youtu.be/YBqUNEzWSm4

Posted by County of Kaua'i on Friday, October 2, 2020

But Kawakami has a plan for that, too.

The mayor said the county has purchased 15,000 rapid COVID-19 tests for incoming travelers.

“This means all incoming travelers, local residents and tourists, would be treated equally, and would quarantine for a minimum of three days before they have the opportunity take a rapid COVID test."

The county has had only 59 cases since the start of the pandemic. Kawakami said that his county is ready to implement the program on Oct. 15, and is just waiting for the governor to sign off.

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