Hawaii News | Kokua Line Kokua Line: Will governor modify mask rule for Oahu? By Christine Donnelly firstname.lastname@example.org Nov. 10, 2021 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Question: Now that Oahu has had moderate COVID-19 community transmission for nearly two weeks straight, will the governor modify the indoor mask mandate, which still applies statewide? Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Question: Now that Oahu has had moderate COVID-19 community transmission for nearly two weeks straight, will the governor modify the indoor mask mandate, which still applies statewide? Answer: No, it doesn’t appear so. “We can’t determine who is vaccinated and who isn’t. So that’s the reason we are keeping the indoor mask requirement in place for now,” spokeswoman Jodi Leong said in an email last week, in response to a related question asking whether Gov. David Ige would modify the statewide mandate to reflect varying transmission among Hawaii counties. The response arrived while we were off for a few days, so we followed up Monday for any updates, but did not receive a response by deadline. As of Tuesday, it’s been 13 days since COVID-19 community transmission was at a high or substantial level in Honolulu County, which is when everyone should wear a face mask in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When community transmission is moderate, the CDC says that unvaccinated people should wear a face mask in public indoor settings. As you noted, Hawaii’s statewide rule is stricter than that; the CDC says that in general, stricter local rules should prevail. The federal health agency also says that “prevention measures such as masking should only be relaxed after several weeks of sustained improvement out of a level of high or substantial transmission.” COVID-19 transmission was high in Kauai County, substantial in Hawaii County and moderate in Maui County on Tuesday, according to the CDC. Given varying transmission rates among Hawaii counties, the approaching holiday season, the United States’ reopening to international tourism and the fact that children ages 5 to 11 just became eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, a spokesman for Hawaii’s Health Department urged people to remain vigilant, especially by getting vaccinated and wearing masks when indoors with people from outside their household bubble. We’d also asked Leong whether the governor had been aware that the mask mandate was dropped on some Oahu military bases around Oct. 19, for fully vaccinated people on base. “We were informed about the military dropping the mask requirement. Military discipline is different from the discipline practiced by the general public. The military trusts that unvaccinated personnel will comply with requirements for the unvaccinated,” she said in the email. Q: What’s the age cutoff for the COVID-19 testing for international flights? A: Age 2. A negative COVID-19 test or documented recovery from COVID-19 is “required for all air passengers 2 years of age or older boarding a flight from a foreign country to the United States,” according to the CDC. The viral test must be taken within one or three days before the flight; the timing varies according to the passenger’s U.S. status and vaccination status. The recovery from COVID-19 must have been within the past 90 days. Read details at www.cdc.gov. Q: Do the new federal rules apply if you are flying from Guam? A: No. Federal rules that took effect Monday do not apply to air passengers on flights from a U.S. territory to a U.S. state, the CDC says. “U.S. territories include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,” it says. To be clear, Hawaii’s separate Safe Travels program would apply. Read more about that at travel.hawaii.gov. Q: What is the official website to apply for Obamacare? A: The website to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is healthcare.gov. Mahalo On Oct. 18, we were leaving the parking lot at Straub Medical Center on King Street. The car in front of us paid for our parking. We wish to thank the person who did this. We will repay your kindness by passing it forward. — Mahalo, two seniors Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, HI 96813; call 808-529-4773; or email email@example.com. Previous Story Longtime SMS chairman retiring, selling business Next Story Kokua Line: Will kids have to show vaccination cards at Oahu restaurants?