Pre-Travel Testing Program Scheduled to Start Oct. 15

September 16, 2020, 3:47 PM HST (Updated September 16, 2020, 3:58 PM)
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Hawai‘i’s pre-travel COVID-19 testing program will launch on Oct. 15, Gov. David Ige announced in a press conference this afternoon. Tourism has all but halted across the state since late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hope for this program is it will protect public health and revive the economy.

“We’re committed to restoring and revitalizing the economy,” Ige said.

Travelers will be exempt from the state’s 14-day quarantine if they return a negative result after submitting to a test 72 hours prior to arrival in Hawai‘i.

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Lt. Gov. Josh Green was present at the press conference through Zoom, as he is currently positive for COVID-19. He explained the state has worked for months on the pre-travel testing program.

“It’s going to be another tool as a layer for safety for our residents and visitors,” Green said.

Green said all arriving passengers, adults and children, will be required to take a test prior to their arrival in Hawai‘i. If the results are not available by the time they get to the state, Green said, those travelers will be required to quarantine until results are returned.

The state is partnering with CVS and Kaiser Permanente to provide testing for mainland travelers. Green said visitors will be responsible for the cost of the test, which will be approximately $139.

Ige added that part of the agreement with those partners is they will conduct a test and commit to returning a result in three days. The governor assured the state and its partners are working on establishing a procedure to verify the validity of a test.

“As the world gets closer to a vaccine, we’re developing a strategy for delivering a vaccine to everyone in the community,” Green said. “It will not be mandatory.”

The conversation on when to lift the 14-day interisland quarantine is ongoing with a task force from each county.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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