Hawaii’s pre-travel COVID-19 test plan is still “under construction” as Hawaii cases increase

Gov. Ige held press conferences on July 6 and 7. (You can view the July 6th conference here and July 7th here if you have more than a couple of hours to kill.) Between the two press conferences, the governor has indicated that the pre-travel testing program is still “under construction.”

Yesterday, July 7, 2020, Hawaii had their largest single-day, COVID-19 cases reported – 41. The previous high was 34 cases back on April 3, 2020. Through yesterday, 1071 cases have been identified with the vast majority of those being on Oahu.

Hawaii has reopened much of its local economy and as such were anticipating the increase in cases. Though they are concerned with the increased cases, they are better prepared to conduct contact tracing to test and isolate individuals who might possibly spread the virus.

Additionally, the increase in cases has not translated into a strain on the state’s health care system. Very few COVID-positive patients are requiring intensive care in Hawaii. As Lt. Gov. Green reported at the July 6 press conference, Hawaii currently has 244 ICU beds of which, only 49% are in use. Only three of those beds are being occupied with COVID-19 patients. Hawaii has 459 ventilators of which 53 are currently in use and only two of those are for patients with COVID-19. Obviously a surge in cases is not desirable, but Hawaii has capacity to respond to a surge, if necessary.

Between the two press conferences in recent days, several members of the press asked the governor if he might delay the August 1st start of opening travel to Hawaii without quarantine with a negative pre-travel test. These questions were raised in light of the fact that the number of cases on the U.S. mainland have been increasing. At the July 6th press conference, the governor said,

“We are monitoring what happens and obviously if we do see conditions that we do feel that would put the health and safety of our community at jeopardy, we will consider extending that August 1st date, but at this point in time, with more than three weeks prior to that date, we are committed to making sure that all the things that we need to put in place in order to safely welcome back trans-Pacific travelers who get tested, we do believe that we have the systems to be able to do that safely.”

So, that’s where everything stands at the moment. We’ll continue to keep on the lookout for and report news as it relates to reopening Hawaii travel.

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