‘Soft-Launch’ of Maui’s New Post-Arrival Testing Program Underway at Kahului Airport
Four days into the “soft-launch” at Kahului Airport of Maui County’s new post-arrival testing program for unvaccinated trans-Pacific arrivals from the continental US, Dr. Alan Wu said the process is going “a lot smoother than we actually expected” and with no positive tests.
During the first three days, more than 2,500 travelers who were not fully vaccinated were required to take a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival. No one had tested positive for the coronavirus at the time of the Friday afternoon news conference, although there were two false-positive tests that were confirmed to be false with further on-site testing, Dr. Wu said.
During the soft-launch, passengers are screened and tested only during varying windows of time each day. The purpose is to work out the glitches before the full launch of the program on May 11. The goal is to limit the wait time to 15-20 minutes after a passenger clears the state’s Safe Travel Program.
Maui’s new testing program is intended to prevent the introduction of new COVID-19 variants, which are proving to be more contagious.
Medical testing is managed and administered by Doctors of Waikīkī, which won the bid and is now under contract with the County of Maui. County officials say the cost of the rapid COVID-19 test per traveler is $25. Dr. Wu is medical director and co-founder of the organization.
County officials say the program’s total cost is contingent upon the duration of the program, number of tests administered and the percentage of fully-vaccinated travelers exempted from the post-arrival test.
Governor Ige’s 18th proclamation mandates that any test administered after arrival into the state shall be paid for, and administered by, the counties.
About 2,000 of the screened travelers provided proof of full vaccination during the first 3 days. Wu said travelers must present the official CDC Vaccination Record Card or a print out from the VAMS registration program. Travelers also can now the CDC Vaccination Record Card to the Safe Travels Program app.
The post-arrival test is for both visitors and returning residents who arrive directly from a mainland gateway city into Kahului Airport. Maui County will provide an exception for fully vaccinated trans-Pacific travelers from the post-arrival rapid COVID test requirement with proof of vaccination. They will still need to take a pre-departure test to receive the travel quarantine exception.
- Trans-Pacific travel include direct travel from a mainland city to Kahului Airport. Visitors and returning residents traveling from a mainlandcity to Kahului Airport are subject to this test.
- A Safe Travels pre-departure COVID test required, plus…
- NEW post-arrival rapid COVID-19 test required for unvaccinated travelers
- Travelers must complete a mandatory 10-day quarantine if post-arrival test is refused even if they completed the pre-departure test.
- Fully vaccinated travelers with proof (valid vaccination cards), will be exempt from the post-arrival testing requirement
- This is a Maui County program
INTER-COUNTY VACCINE TRAVEL PROTOCOL PROGRAM, STARTS MAY 11
On another note, the state starts its inter-island vaccine travel protocol program on Sunday. Under that program, fully vaccinated travelers who received their vaccine in Hawaiʻi may travel inter-county without having to take a pre-travel test or quarantining for 10 days.
- This is for travel within Hawaiʻi from Oʻahu, Kauaʻi or Big Island to any Maui County airport
- Residents who were fully vaccinated in Hawaiʻi will be exempt from the pre-departure test and quarantine requirements for inter- county travel
- Unvaccinated, those vaccinated out-of-state, and minors ages 6-16, remain subject to Safe Travels requirements which include a pre-departure test or 10-day quarantine
- Documents will be verified by the state
- Upload vaccination documents to Safe Travels program starting on May 7
- Travel within Maui County is unrestricted (Maui-Molokaʻi-Lānaʻi)
- State of Hawaiʻi program