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Lt. Gov. Josh Green anticipates up to 8K visitors per day to Hawaii with pre-arrivals testing program

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Lt. Gov. Josh Green held a news briefing on Thursday.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Lt. Gov. Josh Green held a news briefing on Thursday.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green announced that Hawaii will only be accepting pre-arrivals COVID-19 from its partners to make it easier to verify the accuracy of the tests.

Green, named head of the state’s testing program by Hawaii Gov. David Ige, announced that change Thursday during status update on the testing program at the Hawaii Convention Center.

He said state and county leaders are still working on finalizing details for the launch of a pre-arrivals testing program on Oct. 15 and that Hawaii Gov. David Ige is likely to further clarify the program, including providing a list of partners, during a Tuesday briefing.

But Green shared that some details already have been finalized. Starting Oct. 15, the program will allow inbound travelers from the U.S. mainland who comply with Hawaii’s pre-arrivals testing program and have a negative COVID-19 test to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Paying for the tests, which range from about $80 to $250, is the responsibility of the traveler.

Green said the state’s pre-arrivals testing program will require an FDA-authorized NAAT test from a certified CLIA lab within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.

The governor’s team has determined younger children, under age 5, will be allowed to bypass the quarantine without COVID-19 testing, he said.

So far, Green said Hawaii has announced testing partnerships from Kaiser, Walgreens and CVS.

He said Hawaiian Airlines, United, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines also have announced testing from some major cities serving Hawaii. Green said Quest Diagnostics and Vault are expected to be added as Hawaii testing partners on Tuesday.

Green said the program will be tweaked as needed to respond to safety concerns and technological and other advancements.

In the early days of the program, he anticipates 5,000 to 8,000 visitors a day will come to Hawaii.

By October, he expects hotel room bookings will have recovered to 19% of the same month in 2019. In November, he anticipates hotel bookings will be at 32% of last year’s bookings, about 41% in December and January and nearly 46 % by February.

He expects only 1 in 1,000 travelers will test positive for COVID under the testing program. Green said he anticipates that COVID cases statewide will rise about 20% once the economy reopens, but most of that will not be due to tourism.

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