The state of Hawaii has been one of the most stringent states when it comes to protecting its citizens from COVID-19. In fact, until mid-October, the only way you could enter the state from the mainland of the U.S. was with a 14-day quarantine.
Since October 15th, incoming travelers have been allowed entry without quarantine if they tested negative for the virus no more than 72 hours before arrival. On top of that, about 10% of visitors were offered to be re-tested 4 days after arrival, for free, to help ensure they’re actually negative (i.e., to eliminate the chances of having a false negative, or to ensure they weren’t in the very early stages of having the virus and just weren’t showing positive yet).
Of course, there have been some hiccoughs, including which tests were and weren’t “good enough” to allow entry if negative (which wound up confusing a lot of people, but I think they’ve fixed that problem now). Plus Hawaii County (a.k.a. “The Big Island”) opted to require a COVID test upon arrival to all visitors to supplement the one they took before they flew to Hawaii.
And on that front, there’s good news! As per the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, 12,636 post-flight tests have been administered on the Big Island as of last Monday. Of those, less than 1% have come back positive for the virus.
In total, 97 of the post-flight antigen tests administered came back positive. Those 97 then got additional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are more accurate. Those tests showed that only 17 travelers were positive for coronavirus.
Due to such low numbers, the Big Island will decrease the number of people who get the post-flight test from 100% to just 25%.
They’re still ironing out the wrinkles to determine who will be tested, since state law prohibits conducting tests on people at random. They also don’t want to split up visiting families (read: testing one family member but not the others). So they have a little bit of work to do.
Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim made it clear that if the number of confirmed cases of the virus goes up, they’ll go back to the original rate of post-flight testing. But for now, such low numbers are definitely good news!
Feature Photo: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary