LIVE STREAM: Governor David Ige’s Update on Travel Requirements for Air Transportation
*Video courtesy: Governor David Ige / Facebook.
Governor David Ige is providing an update on the travel requirements for air transportation in Hawaiʻi.
Starting tomorrow, June 16, the state is lifting its inter-island travel quarantine.
Joining Gov. Ige is Dr. Bruce Anderson to talk about the new inter-island travel forms and procedures.
The interisland travel form can be found here.
The state Department of Health has created a new web page, where travelers can download the new mandatory interisland travel and health form prior to departure. This comes in advance of the reopening of interisland travel in Hawai‘i tomorrow (June 16).
Travelers are strongly encouraged to fill out the form prior to arrival at the airport, print it out, and bring it with them to the airport.
State officials are working toward an online form that will be linked to a QR code for expedited scanning and screening at the airport, but that option is not yet available.
Travelers are encouraged to get to the airport in plenty of time to clear health screenings, which includes submittal of the travel form and a thermal screen. Anyone who does not provide the form or has a temperature of greater than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly. The health information is collected prior to TSA security screening.
Governor David Ige extended the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international and out-of-state arrivals into Hawaiʻi through July 31, 2020. “We will not reopen out-of-state travel before the end of June,” said Gov. Ige last week. His latest Ninth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation gives him the flexibility to reopen travel “when the state is ready.”
Uptick in Cases Manageable as Interisland Travel Resumes
“It is safe to travel between islands,” Governor David Ige said at an afternoon news briefing. The governor said an increase in cases was expected as businesses and activities reopened across the state and Hawai‘i still has the lowest COVID-19 numbers in the nation. Most importantly, he said, the state has ample capacity to continue handling the relatively low number of new cases.
Governor Ige asked interisland travelers to fill out the required travel and health form before arriving at the airport and to arrive early to have enough time to get through the new screening process. He reiterated that Hawai‘i continues to do great because most people are accepting personal responsibility such as physical distancing, wearing face covering, washing your hands, avoiding large groups, and staying home if you feel sick.
Eight New COVID-19 Cases on O‘ahu
After 17 new cases on Saturday and five new cases on Sunday, DOH reports today eight additional coronavirus cases, all on O‘ahu and all are adults. All of the latest cases are a result of community transmission of the virus and none are associated with travel. One new case is a resident of a skilled nursing facility where increased infection control precautions are underway. Other new cases today are spread geographically across O‘ahu, which demonstrates that infections can occur anywhere, and this is why continuation of prevention practices (physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds), is so important. Two cases reported on Sunday were travel-associated, so this continues to be a risk factor.
Two Cases in Skilled Nursing Facility on O‘ahu
DOH continues investigating two cases of coronavirus at the Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Last week, there was a reported case in a healthcare worker, who had an identified infection source in the community, outside of the healthcare setting. The skilled nursing facility implemented extensive infection control measures in response to this initial case, and active monitoring and serial testing are being performed for all residents and staff. A new resident case had been admitted to the facility shortly before identification of the positive healthcare worker. The resident initially tested negative for COVID-19 but then had a change in clinical status to positive, requiring transfer of the resident to a hospital. This is the first COVID-19 case involving a resident of a skilled nursing facility, though DOH is investigating whether the patient was infected in the community prior to admission at Hale Nani.
Contact Tracing an Important Component of Health Response
The case noted above, highlights the importance of the state’s contact tracing program, according to DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson. He reports that the DOH – University of Hawai‘i statewide contact tracing training program is going well. At today’s news briefing Anderson described the two different tracks. “One,” he said, “is geared toward those with backgrounds in public health and requires an undergraduate degree and a clinical health background.” 375 individuals are scheduled to finish their training by mid-July which is more than the original target of 320 people. The second track, known as the community tracer program, takes six weeks to complete. Participants need an undergraduate degree but not clinical experience. It’s expected 250 contact tracers will be trained in this track by the end of June 2021.
The Augmented Community Health Worker Training program has a goal of 100 trainees ready to go by May 2021.
Kaua‘i Health Office Releases COVID-19 Survey Results
More than half (57%) of Kaua‘i households have at least one person in their home who lost their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting economic strain is affecting the mental health of Garden Island residents. Those are the findings from a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey conducted in April by DOH’s Kaua‘i District Health Office. Although Kaua‘i households are relatively stable in terms of housing, food, and other basic necessities, one third are very concerned or somewhat concerned about their ability to pay the following month’s rent or mortgage. These concerns are being exacerbated by the approaching termination dates of state and federal financial assistance programs, and moratoriums on rental evictions and utility shutoffs. Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman said, “The 2020 Kaua‘i CASPER collected invaluable data that we can use to inform state and county emergency response operations and enable DOH and Kaua‘i County to better meet community health and other resource needs over the next few months.”
Nearly one-third of households (32%) surveyed indicated they are experiencing emotional distress related to the pandemic. Of those, 21 percent did not know where to seek help if they need it. Most Kaua‘i households seem to be weathering the pandemic moderately well, with 60 percent reporting a low stress level. However, 34 percent reported a medium level of stress and 5 percent reported their stress level as high, near the breaking point. Mental health resources are limited on Kaua‘i, so the report recommends the health department, mental health service providers, and the county continue to work together to improve access to culturally appropriate, affordable behavioral health services, including non-traditional approaches such as telehealth visits. Other recommendations include using CARES Act funds for direct assistance programs such as rental assistance, small business loans, childcare programs, and behavioral health programs. It also says the state should consider developing a temporary workforce program focused on infrastructure improvements and conservation projects for individuals who may not be rehired because of a diminished visitor industry.
Interisland Travel & Health Forms Now Available Online
In advance of the reopening of interisland travel in Hawai‘i, tomorrow, DOH is directing travelers to a new website, where you can download the mandatory interisland travel and health form.
Governor David Ige said, “I know family and friends across the state are looking forward to getting together when the interisland travel quarantine is lifted on Tuesday. Flying between islands will be a different experience. We ask for your patience as the new procedures are implemented. Do your part to make interisland travel safe – practice physical distancing and wear your face covering.” Governor Ige also strongly encourages people to fill in the form before they get to the airport.
Dr. Sarah Park, Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist and chief of the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division said, “Anyone contemplating traveling between islands beginning Tuesday, or thereafter, should go to the website, which includes a complete list of frequently asked questions. You can download the travel and health form, fill, print, and bring it with you to the airport.” Dr. Park added, “We all must continue the safe practices that led to the decision to resume interisland travel. These safe practices: physical distancing, using masks in public, washing our hands, and staying home when sick, are just as important now, as they were three months ago.” More detail: https://health.hawaii.gov/
Personal Responsibility for Safe Practices Emphasized
Governor Ige and Hawai‘i’s leading health experts continue to emphasize the need for all residents to take personal responsibility for protecting themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. The healthcare system can handle increases in cases through the ability to investigate them, conduct testing and contact tracing. At today’s news briefing, DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “Several weeks with very low or no new cases, unfortunately led many people to relax their prevention behaviors (masking and physical distancing). As we continue to see the expected uptick in cases, we urge everyone to practice these behaviors for the sake of your family, kupuna, and your community.”