Ige agrees to second COVID-19 test for out-of-state travelers arriving in Kona

Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 8:06 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Following days of negotiations, the governor has agreed to let Hawaii County test arriving trans-Pacific passengers for COVID-19 when they land in Kona.

The program would be an addition to the pre-travel testing program, set to launch Oct. 15.

Although there is nothing in writing yet, it would be the first time the governor has agree to a second test for travelers who already received a test no more than 72 hours from departure.

The rapid antigen test would be free for travelers and generally less accurate than the pre-travel test.

Those who test positive would immediately receive a more thorough test.

Under the pre-travel testing program, trans-Pacific travelers will be able to forgo a mandatory quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 before arrival.

Neighbor Island mayors have expressed concern about the program, saying they preferred a second test to cut down on the chances of COVID-19 spreading as tourism picks up.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said earlier this week that he planned to opt out of the pre-travel program because there was no second test, but stressed negotiations were ongoing.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, meanwhile, has proposed a tiered system that would trigger an opt out if new cases hit a certain level. Kawakami had previously asked the governor for permission to conduct a second test after arrival, requiring visitors to quarantine until they were cleared.

The governor denied that request.

This story will be updated.

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