HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green suggested that the way to “perfect" the state's coronavirus testing system for incoming travelers is to extend the mandatory pre-flight testing window from three days prior to arrival to four and requiring a second test when the person touches down.
The extra fourth day to get tested for the coronavirus prior to flying to Hawaii would allow tourists more time to find a test site and receive their results, Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Friday.
A follow up test when the person arrives to Hawaii would provide a degree of certainty for residents and local mayors who have been calling for the testing requirements to be amended, Green said.
But Green also said that, as it stands right now, there is little reason to systemically change the current testing system.
“Right now the system is working,” Green said. “I don’t know why people would want to make wholesale changes to a system where we’ve got the lowest rate in the country of COVID. We’ve got the lowest mortality rate in the country of COVID. The active cases per capita, I believe, are the lowest in the country and we’re the only country (state) that has significant travel because we have the Safe Travels program.”
The state Department of Health reported 76 new confirmed cases of the virus on Saturday. The state has reported 17,784 cases and 240 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.