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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Green for residents: take longer trips

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The Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii advises residents to avoid making short trips out of state after the quarantine requirements for transpacific travelers were released on August 1.

“My preference – and it’s not what people like to hear, but I’m not going to back down from the real advice – but my preference is, people: don’t make those little trips right now,” said Josh Green Friday during a live broadcast. “Because these short trips put you in danger, it exposes us to additional surges in Hawaii, which could stop us all.”

Green explained that details of the policies planned to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in the state after the mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state arrivals are still being worked out. However, a proposed policy for residents returning from short trips could put overwhelming pressure on the state’s testing capabilities.

This policy, as Green explained, would require residents returning from short trips – six days or less – out of the state to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and to self-quarantine during the three or four days until the test results arrive. But, because residents account for 15% of all transpacific arrivals, this would require the state to use more than 2,000 COVID test kits every day just for returning residents.

“We don’t have endless tests,” said Green. “We would have to commit around 2,200 tests a day to clear them.”

Instead, Green recommended that people leaving the state simply go on longer trips.

Residents returning from outside the state after more than six days will be required to undergo a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Hawaii or to undergo a 14-day quarantine – the same requirement for foreign visitors. .

This policy, Green said, would save Hawaii the burden of using tests on returning residents.

“If you’re going to take risks, you might as well get your money’s worth,” said Green, referring to longer trips.

Currently, the proposed policy does not require children to be tested, only parents, said Green, as children had much lower rates of COVID-19 infection than adults.

Green said the final details of the out-of-state travel policy will be finalized within the next 10 days.

Send an email to Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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