Mayor Harry Kim has scaled back post-arrival COVID-19 testing of travelers flying to the Hawaii island, citing the financial and logistical costs of testing most incoming passengers.
Prior to Gov. David Ige’s Safe Travels Hawaii program, which went into effect Oct. 15 and allowed travelers to bypass the state’s 14-day travel quarantine, Kim amended the county’s emergency rules to make a majority of travelers take a COVID-19 test upon arrival.
But under the county’s newest amendment, which went into effect today and will last through Nov. 30, just up to 25% of arriving passengers will now be required to take the second, post-arrival coronavirus test.
“We’re testing 25% of passengers instead, and we believe we’ll still get a picture of how much spread of COVID-19 there is among incoming passengers,” Kim said in a statement today. “The importance of this testing is unchanged. The goal is to secure funding and go back to full testing of everyone under the State pre-test program.”
Post-arrival testing is being funding by federal CARES Act money.
The state’s pre-arrivals testing program allows travelers to skip the 14-day quarantine if they submitted a negative, state-approved COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flying to the islands. Those travelers, along with those who took the test but did not yet receive their results, were subject to the county’s second test.
Those who do not take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival are not subject to a post-arrival test but are required to quarantine for 14 days.