The 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for inter-island travel was suspended for Hawaiian residents on June 16. It’s been a week and a half since then and, as of this writing, there haven’t been any reports of significant spikes in cases (although it is admittedly a little early for that to be announced yet).
The 14-day quarantine for those outside the state remains in place through at least July 31.
Hawaii Governor David Ige and his staff realize they can’t keep the state closed forever, and a mandatory 2-week quarantine is not the best long-term solution. So they’ve been weighing different ways they could test people before they enter the state, to help ensure the number of people with the virus doesn’t increase on the islands.
They’ve finally come up with a plan. A multi-layered system of pre-testing.
It’s scheduled to begin on August 1.
The plan is for travelers to pass a temperature and symptom screening in their departure city, and then pass a Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to departure. If all tests come back negative, then the person would be able to skip the 14-day quarantine.
For visitors who would rather not go through such testing, the quarantine will continue to be the other option.
Meanwhile, the state is in talks with CVS and others to provide the tests, and are figuring out ways to potentially subsidizing the cost, since each test would be about $120.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell admitted some hesitancy due to the increased numbers of coronavirus cases on the mainland. But with safeguards such as widespread testing and contact tracing in place, it would allow those in Hawaii to, “live with the virus.”
“We recognize that there are many concerns that continue,” Governor Ige said. “We believe this process of pre-testing does allow us to bring travelers back to Hawaii in a way that maintains a priority on the health and safety of our community.”
In related news, the U.S. Department of Justice is backing a lawsuit that says visitors who are forced to quarantine for 14 days are being denied rights granted to most island residents. The lawsuit is filed by Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii.
H/T: Hawai’i Magazine
*** Feature Photo: Forest and Kim Starr/Wikimedia
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