HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kauai couple was arrested over the weekend after they got on a plane for the island knowing they were positive for COVID-19, authorities said.
Kauai police said the two were arrested for second-degree reckless endangering.
Officials said the two participated in the state’s pre-travel testing program, getting a COVID-19 test before flight. When they both tested positive, they were taken to the quarantine station at San Francisco International and instructed not to board their plane to Hawaii.
However, Kauai police said they ignored those warnings, getting on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue anyway. The two were stopped after arriving in Lihue and arrested.
“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” Kauai police said.
The two were released after posting bail of $1,000 each.
The couple was traveling with a 4-year-old, who was released into the care of a family member.
Kauai Mayor Derk Kawakami briefly addressed the arrests in a video on Facebook over the weekend.
“We have seen an unprecedented surge in new infections on our island, most of them associated with travelers ― both visitors and residents,” Kawakami said.
Over the weekend, Kauai saw four new cases ― including the two residents who tested positive before their flight. There was also one additional resident and a visitor who tested positive after arrival.
The episode comes as Kauai stages a temporary opt-out of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program.
Starting Wednesday, all incoming travelers to the island ― including inter-island passengers ― must quarantine for 14 days. The decision has drawn concern from businesses that rely on tourism dollars, but Kawakami said the pause is needed to prevent further community spread of COVID-19.