Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami is encouraging all trans-Pacific arrivals to the Garden Island to participate in the county’s post-arrival testing program as COVID-19 cases have increased since the reopening of mainland travel two weeks ago.
Kaua‘i County currently has four active coronavirus cases and one probable since the state kicked off its pre-travel testing program on Oct. 15, which allows travels to come to Hawai‘i as long as they obtain a negative COVID test 72 hours prior to arrival.
These new infections on Kaua‘i come after months of little no new cases. The island’s cumulative total now sits at 64.
“Our recent cases on Kaua‘i have all been related to out-of-state travel,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kaua‘i District Health Officer with the state Department of Health. “We are seeing cases in people who have had negative pre-travel and post-travel tests, and later began to feel sick. The incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. That means that from the day you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, it can take up for 14 days for you to feel sick or to have a positive test result if you are tested.”
In an effort to provide another layer of protection to the county, Kawakami instituted a voluntary post-travel testing program. From Oct. 15-26, only 25% of trans-Pacific travelers have utilized the service — with 20% participation from eligible returning residents and 2% from visitors.
“We urge all incoming mainland travelers – both residents and visitors – to take a post-travel test no sooner than 72 hours after arrival,” Kawakami said. “The ideal timeline to test is five to seven days after arrival, but we understand many visitors won’t be on island that long. In those cases, a post-travel test three days after arriving is preferred.”
To qualify for a post-travel test, out-of-state travelers must have participated in the state’s pre-travel testing program and received a quarantine exemption from Safe Travels, and have arrived on Kaua‘i 72 hours or more prior to post-travel testing.
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Post-arrival test participants receive their results the same day.
“Please get that second test,” Berreman said. “It helps protect you, and helps protect our community and our island, for those who live here and those who enjoy visiting.”
Arriving quarantine-exempt passengers on Kaua‘i receive a flyer about post-travel testing times and locations. Hotel partners are providing the information to guests, and the county is running print, radio, and online public service announcements for residents.