Hawaii: Few COVID Cases Among Trans-Pacific Visitors

Hawaii: Few COVID Cases Among Trans-Pacific Visitors

Hawaii Has Seen Few COVID-19 Positive Cases from Trans-Pacific Visitors within the first month of Hawaii Reopening. Starting October 15, 2020, Hawaii visitors and returning residents with negative pre-travel COVID-19 PCR tests have skipped quarantine.

While Hawaii has sought to test ~10% of arrivals with a voluntary post-travel test, few have agreed, worried that testing positive would ruin their vacation. Instead, the best data have come from the Big Island of Hawaii, which until about a week ago, required all arrivals to take a rapid antigen test. Those that tested positive (and there were many false positives) had to immediately take a more accurate COVID-19 PCR test.

Back towards the end of October, 6 out of 9323 passengers tested were positive for COVID-19, or 0.06%. More recently, as of November 11, 19 out of over 15,000 passengers tested were COVID-19 positive, or 0.13%. That's akin to just over one of every 1000 passengers testing positive, and considerably lower than the state's current average test positivity rate over the past 7 days of 2.2%, or even the much lower positivity rate of Maui County, which had an average 0.8% positivity rate.

Hawaii has had its share of scofflaws and quarantine breakers, both visitors and returning residents. Nevertheless, the state's comparatively harsh (for the U.S.) penalties of up to $5000 in fines or up to 1 year in prison, if convicted of violating the mandatory quarantine, has convinced many arrivals to undergo pre-travel COVID-19 PCR testing. Pre-travel testing must be done with one of Hawaii's approved partners. The approved partner list has helped prevent the potential for fake test results that's been a problem for some other jurisdictions, and most travelers are motivated to be careful in the days leading up to the test to obtain a negative COVID-19 result that allows them to avoid the otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Hawaii has recently added 11 new testing partners (these are highlighted in bold font below).

Hawaii Approved COVID-19 Testing Partners as of 11/15/20

  • American Family Care (AFC)
  • AFC Urgent Care Portland
  • American Samoa Department of Health
  • Atlas Genomics
  • Bartell Drugs
  • Capstone Clinic
  • Carbon Health
  • CityHealth Urgent Care at Oakland Airport
  • Clarity Lab Solutions
  • Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii
  • Color
  • Costco/AZOVA
  • CVS Health
  • Diagnostic Laboratory Services (Hawaii)
  • Discovery Health MD
  • Go Health Urgent Care
  • Hawaii Pacific Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Minit Medical
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • National Kidney Foundation of Hawaiʻi’s Consortium, through an agreement with the City and County of Honolulu
  • S&G Labs Hawai‘i LLC
  • UC San Diego Health
  • University of Washington Medicine
  • Urgent Care Hawaii
  • Vault Health
  • Walgreens
  • WestPac Labs
  • XpresCheck

Are you planning to visit Hawaii later in 2020 or in 2021?

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