Question: I have family on the North Shore that we were planning to visit soon, but it seems wise to put off the trip until after they sort out this pre-travel COVID-19 testing stuff so we don’t have to quarantine. I saw that CVS is a “trusted testing partner,” but when I checked with the CVS where I live (near Los Angeles), they didn’t know what I was talking about. The CVS website has information about COVID-19 testing for people with symptoms or a doctor’s order, but I couldn’t find anything about healthy people wanting to fly to Hawaii.
Answer: Numerous other readers, from Arizona, Florida, Washington and elsewhere in California, called or emailed with similar questions, so we contacted CVS Health’s corporate headquarters in Woonsocket, R.I., for more information. Here’s the response from spokeswoman Christine Cramer, who said CVS Health’s website will be updated soon so that prospective travelers can register for pre-flight tests:
“CVS Health is focused on helping increase access to COVID-19 testing in order to help slow the spread of the virus and support efforts by states and local communities to safely reopen businesses, schools, and other critical activities, such as interstate travel, that can positively impact local economies. We are proud to be able to support the state of Hawaii as they reopen for recreational travel in October.
“Per the state of Hawaii’s guidelines, beginning on Oct. 15, travelers will be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they provide written confirmation from a state-approved COVID-19 testing facility (such as CVS Health) of a negative test result from a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.
“Once the program begins, people requiring a COVID-19 test to enable them to travel to Hawaii will need to register online to schedule an appointment at a COVID-19 test site at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations. Tests will cost $139 per test and we currently expect the majority of test results to be available within two to three days.”
A new section of CVS Health’s website supporting the pre-travel testing program is not yet active, Cramer said in an email Friday, but “it will be live in time to allow travelers to schedule a test in advance of their planned travel to the islands and within the time frame required by the state.”
CVS Health has more than 9,900 retail locations in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to its website.
To be clear, the negative test result must be presented upon entry to Hawaii, as described in Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation, issued Wednesday, which should be the last word on the basic requirements. Readers have complained that state websites had supplied inconsistent information.
You can read Ige’s entire proclamation at 808ne.ws/empro. The part about pre-travel testing, in Section IV, Part B, says that starting Oct. 15, travelers can avoid quarantine if, upon entry to Hawaii, they “provide written confirmation from a state-approved COVID-19 testing facility of a negative test result from a test administered to the traveler within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.”
People who don’t receive their test result by the time they land must quarantine but can exit quarantine once they receive a negative result, it says.
In answer to other readers’ questions, the proclamation does not include a list of state-approved testing facilities.
The state Department of Health lists CVS and Kaiser Permanente (for members only) as “trusted testing partners,” defining them as “entities that understand exactly what the state requires in terms of this program.” Additionally, the department says, “the state will accept test results from other sources so long as they meet the testing parameters set forth by the DOH.” Read more at hawaiicovid19.com/travel/.
Meanwhile, United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have announced they will facilitate COVID-19 testing for their passengers flying to Hawaii from certain California cities; prospective passengers should check with the airlines for more details.
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