Hawaii is 12 hours away from reopening tourism. Today the State recorded 10 dead and 101 new cases of COVID-19. Tourism leaders think it’s time to take a change facing a ruined economy.
Honolulu Mayor Caldwell is ringing the alarm bell. The State of Hawaii had been urged by mayors to require a second COVID-19 test for visitors within 4 days of arrival. This was turned down, and on Oahu, a mandatory “surveillance testing program” was established to randomly test 10% of visitors and residents arriving into the State within 4 days after landing.
Maui and Kauai makes this test voluntarily, the Island of Hawaii makes it mandatory.
Now just hours away from the first tourist arrivals this program raised serious concern and questions by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Today the mayor wrote this letter to Lt. Governor Green, who is in charge of the COVID recovery program in Hawaii.
Dear Lieutenant Governor Green:
I’m writing to request more information in regards to the State’s proposed surveillance testing program for incoming travelers. The single most asked question from our medical advisors in regards to this proposal, is how will we know the sample is truly random? The answer to this question will determine in large part whether assumptions about the positivity rate of incoming travelers hold true. You have previously assured the mayors of all four counties of the following points:
There will be a statewide surveillance testing program implemented four days after the start of the State’s pre-travel testing program. This testing program will test incoming travelers four days after arrival to Hawai’i. This surveillance testing program will test approximately 10 percent of incoming travelers, and will be a random sample of this population.
We’ve been informed by members of the medical community that collecting this type of random sample will be a difficult task, which is why it is vital we be provided more details on this program so that we can relay these details to the public. Knowing how well this pre travel testing program is working to keep COVID-19 out of our state is crucial to fighting this virus.
In addition, if the positivity rate is greater than the 1 in 1000 visitors you’ve previously predicted, the City and County of Honolulu would explore additional protocols to protect the health and safety of its visitor industry workers and the broader community.
This is a time where public trust is vital to our effort to control this virus as we continue to open up our island economy. I look forward to receiving more information regarding this surveillance program, and I look f9rward to continuing to work with the State to ensure the health of visitors and residents alike.