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County: About 200 travelers took post-travel test

More than 8,000 arrived in county over weekend

MICHAEL VICTORINO – It could have gone smoother

About 200 people out of the thousands of arriving passengers to Maui volunteered to take a second, post-travel test over the weekend, according to county officials.

Maui County has been encouraging travelers to “stay healthy and return home healthy” through a free, CARES Act-funded test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those who volunteer will also receive a Kama’aina First Mahalo Card with discount opportunities at participating vendors.

“Hopefully more will take advantage of that,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said during a news conference Monday. “Arrive healthy, stay healthy, and return home healthy, and help keep Maui County healthy.”

While trans-Pacific travelers can bypass the state’s 14-day quarantine if they prove negative for COVID-19 through a pre-travel test, Neighbor Islands have been asking for an extra layer of security. Gov. David Ige granted Maui and Kauai counties permission to perform a second test at their own cost. Hawaii County is requiring tests upon arrival at all its airports for travelers who want to bypass quarantine.

Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz said Monday that the county screened 8,347 passengers from Friday through Sunday, including 6,401 visitors and 1,946 residents, according to the state’s Safe Travels application.

Baz said that 5,435 traveled into Kahului Airport, 61 to Molokai and 23 to Lanai City.

Based on airport screenings and temperature checks, 99.9 percent of travelers “arrived healthy” into Maui County, meaning they didn’t have symptoms. Baz said that 83 percent arrived with a negative pre-departure test, 17 percent were stopped in transit and 12 percent were required to quarantine, which includes those waiting for their pre-travel test results. Five percent were intercounty travelers with work exemptions.

He added that “a very small percentage of travelers” had elevated temperature or reported that they weren’t feeling well. They were ordered to follow directions from the state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office.

Only about 200 passengers opted for the second post-arrival COVID-19 test, and Victorino reiterated that tests are available for both visitors and residents.

Of the 39 new cases reported in the state Monday, 31 were on Oahu, seven were on Hawaii island and two were out of state. (One was a previously reported Kauai case recategorized to out of state.)

There have now been 14,068 cases statewide, including 12,494 on Oahu, 1,059 in Hawaii County, 411 in Maui County (including 19 on Molokai and none on Lanai) and 60 in Kauai County. A total of 44 cases have been diagnosed out of state. Due to updated lab information, two cases from Oahu were removed and one case from Kauai was recategorized to Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state.

Maui County’s daily case count remains at 0.26 per 100,000 per day over a seven-day rolling period. About 41 percent of ICU beds are in use, with none related to COVID-19.

To help provide more testing opportunities for visitors and residents, Baz said they have selected a vendor to offer mobile COVID-19 tests by moving to different hotels and shopping malls. More information will provided soon, he said.

Some of the top concerns that were sent to the Mayor’s Office over the weekend included the length of the processing line for arriving passengers, as well as visitors not wearing masks while touring the island.

To address the lengthy lines, which exceeded an hourlong wait at times, Victorino said he will look into creating separate lines at the airport for those who already have all the completed documents and QR codes, and those who are just opting for the 14-day quarantine.

He added that he’s also working with the hotels, stores, malls and other attractions in putting up signage to remind tourists and visitors to wear masks, keep social distancing and practice good hygiene.

“The first weekend wasn’t as smooth as we had hoped,” he said. “The state and the county, along with all our partners, are looking to improve all the systems to the best of our ability.

“I want people to remember, be flexible, be respectful and be willing to do what is right — follow directions.”

For more information about travel guidelines and requirements, visit mauicounty.gov.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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