Hawaii has required everyone arriving in the state to quarantine for 14 days. They’ve put off plans to re-open tourism until October 15. At that point they’ll allow visitors with a negative Covid test within 3 days of arrival to skip quarantine.
The state isn’t offering testing on arrival, but several airlines are working to make convenient testing available to passengers. United was first announcing on-airport testing in San Francisco. Hawaiian, American, and Alaska all followed with testing programs.
The island of Kauai, though, isn’t satisfied and doesn’t want to participate. A passenger who was covid-free three days prior to arrival isn’t necessary covid-free when they get to Hawaii. They could even be exposed on their journey, and wouldn’t test when they landed (if that were even being done). So they don’t want to allow visitors on the same basis as the rest of the state.
Instead their plan is to require re-testing three days after arrival. Arriving passengers would still have to quarantine until they received a negative result from that test. While waiting for quarantine visitors would be able to stay on property at resorts with full use of facilities.
- Once there’s community spread of the virus, total eradication is virtually impossible. And it’s certainly impossible while also allowing for a return to normalcy. The goal should always be bringing back as much of regular life as possible without overwhelming hospitals to where care is compromised, and medical workers’ lives are put at risk.
- Kauai’s plan appears to require approval from the governor, whose orders otherwise would override any requirements instituted by the island’s mayor. Here in Texas the governor’s orders have superceded those of cities, and limited the ability of local public health authorities to impose requirements stricter than those in Texas-wide re-opening orders.
- Even Kauai’s plan isn’t fully secure, since quarantining visitors would come into contact with resort employees, who then come into contact with others off-resort even in a ‘resort bubble’ scenario.
- A true mass testing regime – think $1 test strips everyone could have at home, testing daily – could allow for a return to normal life even without better treatments (which are coming) or a vaccine. Everyone could test themselves, with results linked to an app, with a requirement to show a negative result by scannable app code to enter any public place.
Kauai south shore, credit: Reesed1999 via Wikimedia Commons
Testing on arrival might be a better option than negative test within 72 hours, although even then that might scare some people away out of fear they might test positive – a negative test in hand prior to travel gives passengers the confidence to come to the islands. If Kauai can support testing for all visitors 3 days after arrival, they should be able to manage the same rapid testing on arrival. Of course it’s possible someone could have been exposed to the virus and wouldn’t yet test positive, turning into a positive later. Nothing is foolproof (even lab-confirmed tests may return false negative results).
Kauai is one of the most picturesque of the Hawaiian islands, and especially among those with significant resort presence. Passengers generally fly into Lihue.
(HT: God Save The Points)