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Kokua Line: Update on tests for Hawaii travel; jobless can add voices to class-action lawsuit

Question: Are there updates on the CVS testing? I am on the mainland now and returning home to Hawaii after Oct. 15 and would prefer to avoid quarantine. I’ve been checking the website but haven’t seen any changes.

Q: With the CVS test, do you have to have an appointment even though it’s drive-thru?

Answer: Yes and yes. “Beginning Oct. 10, travelers may schedule an appointment at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations. Registration instructions and costs can be found at www.cvs.com/selfpaytesting,” according to Hawaii’s Department of Health.

To be clear, the appointment you schedule must provide testing within 72 hours of your departure to Hawaii (the final leg of the trip, if it won’t be a nonstop flight). The pre-travel testing exemption applies to passengers entering the state on Oct. 15 and later.

Kaiser Permanente also is a “trusted testing partner,” the DOH says. “Kaiser Permanente members who plan to visit Hawaii should schedule a COVID-19 test online, or contact the appointment call center at 951-268-3900 or nurse advice line in their home region to schedule a COVID-19 test at their nearest testing facility,” it says.

The DOH has updated travel FAQs on its COVID-19 website, which you can read at hawaii covid19.com/travel/ #travel-FAQs.

A growing number of airlines also plan to facilitate pre-travel testing for their Hawaii-bound passengers. Check with your airline to see whether that is a convenient option.

Q: Regarding the unemployment lawsuit (808ne.ws/joblaw), is that for everybody who is still waiting? Is it too late to get involved? I never heard of it before. I lost my job in May and filed for unemployment for the first time in my life. It went OK at first, but then my payments suddenly stopped, with no explanation, and way before they were supposed to expire, according to my letter. I emailed the labor department numerous times but never got a reply and their voice mail was always full so I could never leave a message. I tried over and over. I’m sitting here for months with no money and no answers.

A: You are referring to a petition for a writ of mandamus filed Monday in Hawaii Supreme Court that seeks to compel the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to swiftly resolve pending jobless claims and pay eligible claimants what they are owed. As a class action, it seeks relief for all members of the class, whether or not they were named as plaintiffs in the initial filing, which includes declarations from 20 people. Attorney J. Blaine Rogers, of Dentons law firm, said he expects to submit more declarations, at the firm’s discretion. So, to answer your second question, no, it is not too late for you to share your experience.

For more information, Rogers referred us to Cynthia Fite, administrator of the Facebook group “Hawaii Unemployment Class Action Discussion,” from which the lawsuit rose. The group is an offshoot of a larger Facebook group devoted to helping people navigate Hawaii’s unemployment system.

Fite, who spent weeks collecting and organizing the initial declarations, said a fillable form should be posted online this week that will make it easier for unemployed residents like you to share their experiences succinctly with the law firm. In the meantime, she suggested that you join the Facebook group for the latest updates.

Gathering information for the lawsuit has been a heart-rending experience, she said, recounting the stories of plaintiffs “who’ve been waiting month after month with no money and no answers. They can’t even get a callback from the state. The stress they are under is unreal. It’s heartbreaking.” Her son is among the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit is attached below.

DLIR spokesman Bill Kunstman declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

DLIR Lawsuit by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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