Governor Ige confident pre-travel testing program will begin October 15th

In a press conference on October 7, 2020, Hawaii leaders presented more about the October 15th start of the trans-Pacific, pre-travel testing program. We’ve embedded the full presentation below. (Email subscribers: if you do not see the video, click here to watch it.)

At about the 10-minute mark, Lt. Gov. Green presents information about the pre-travel testing program. Most of what he presented was already announced in his October 1st press conference. Here’s a summary of his presentation:

  • Starting October 15th, travelers who take a pre-travel test within 72 hours of the last leg of departure and provide proof of a negative result will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine.
  • The test must be a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory.
  • Pre-travel tests are required for all children ages five and up.
  • He emphasized that “the test has to come from a trusted partner.” All the partners have worked with the Hawaii Department of Health to make sure that the tests they’re providing are the tests that Hawaii accepts. The approved partners as of October 7th that were mentioned in the press conference are:
    • American Family Care Urgent Care
    • Color
    • Quest Diagnostics
    • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Carbon Health
    • CVS Health
    • CityHealth Urgent Care
    • Vault Health
    • Kaiser Permanente (members only and Kaiser will cover the cost for members)
    • Walgreens
    • Southwest Airlines
    • United Airlines
  • He mentions that Alaska Airlines is in the final phases of their testing approval. We noticed that American Airlines was missing from the list. We don’t know if that was an oversight or if they’re not yet approved.
  • Based on the concerns raised by the mayors about their desire for a second test, the lieutenant governor said they are developing a surveillance plan to test travelers (both residents and visitors) who participate in the pre-travel testing program. The proposed plan would test roughly 10% of arrivals four days after arrival. The plan is still very much in development and subject to change.
  • He emphasized that the most important site to get information from is

Other interesting points in this press conference:

  • The new director of the Department of Health briefly spoke. She says that their desire is to have a second test for all incoming passengers when it’s feasible to do so.
  • Gov. Ige says he’s working with the mayors on ways to improve the pre-travel testing plan and how they can add additional layers of safety for their communities.
  • Regarding Hawaii (Big) Island opting out of the pre-travel testing program, Gov. Ige said, “I was not informed that the Big Island was not participating. I continue to talk with the mayor to find ways that we can improve the program.” So, it sounds as if the decision for Hawaii (Big) Island to opt out may not be carved in stone. On a related note which is outside of the press conference, a group of elected officials are urging Hawaii (Big) Island County Mayor Kim to opt back into the pre-travel testing program per Big Island Now.

Outside of the press conference, the county/island mayors have still not expressed full confidence in the pre-travel testing plan. It sounds like the surveillance testing plan is being presented as a compromise for the mayors who wanted to force a second test on all incoming visitors. The governor and mayors say that they’re in discussions to find a mutually agreeable plan.

Maui County Mayor Victorino issued a lengthy statement after the press conference with a title of “County of Maui moving forward with Pre-Travel Testing Program.” So, that’s encouraging news for those who have travel plans to Maui.

Additional, recommended reading:

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