Senate Special Committee Calls for Pre-Testing Pilot Program for Travel Between Neighbor Island Counties

September 8, 2020, 3:39 PM HST · Updated September 10, 8:27 AM
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Hawai‘i State Senate Special Committee on COVID-19. PC: file Olelo Community TV/ Hawai‘i Senate.

Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 sent a letter to Governor David Ige calling for neighbor island counties to serve as Pilot Program testing sites for exclusive travel between neighbor island counties.

Examples of flights that could qualify for the pilot program would be Maui-to-Kauaʻi, Kauaʻi-to-Hawaiʻi Island.  Committee members suggest the potential of including Oʻahu interstate travel once the surge in cases subsides.

The letter states, “This Pilot Project is a proactive measure that could yield important outcomes for our state while also providing a process for critical interisland travel during the pandemic. As evidenced by the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, Airport Quarantine process, these systems require time to initialize, pilot, and standardize so they can be scaled to peak capacity.”

Members say the results yielded by the Pilot Program could provide valuable information that could be applied to an eventual trans-Pacific pre-test or bubble program, which would be a critical element to successfully reopening Hawaiʻi’s economy.

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The letter, sent September 3, requests a response from the Governor by today at 4 p.m.

At a June 18 special committee briefing, the Hawai‘i Department of Health outlined steps that would need to be taken by travelers seeing an exemption to the 14-day quarantine, including:

  1. Confirmation of a negative Nucleic Acid Amplification Test from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment lab no more than 72 hours in advance of travel;
  2. Submission of electronic travel and health questionnaires;
  3. A pre-departure symptom screening;
  4. A post-arrival health screening;
  5. Appropriate social distancing measures taken throughout the travel experience, including masks being worn; and
  6. Download of an optional location tracing app.

Members of the special committee include: Senators Donovan Dela Cruz, Jarrett Keohokalole, Michelle Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Sharon Moriwaki and Kurt Fevella.

 

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