Emergency room physician and Lieutenant Governor Josh Green this afternoon had a one hour Facebook Live session to talk about Hawaii reopening plans and pre-travel testing, among other things.
The reason this is so important is that Green is the person responsible for Hawaii’s upcoming travel testing program. We said earlier today we would update you when he spoke, because of his significance, and following are some of the highlights. Green was at home and filming from his son’s bedroom, which was the reason for the stuffed toys in the background.
When do pre-travel tests need to be performed? Green said that tests need to be taken within 72 hours of departure, whereas the state website is in conflict, and says within 72 prior of arrival. That is a significant difference when travel can take six or more hours, and the point needs clarification.
Which tests will be accepted? He did not state by name all of the tests that would be permitted, but did specifically mention these will all be NAAT type. He also for the first time added the Abbott ID Now test to accepted tests. Mail-in tests will be part of the solution too, as he mentioned multiple times, but further details on those were not provided.
Who are Hawaii’s testing partners? Green mentioned that they are partnering with CVS, Walgreens, Kaiser Permanente and Vault, which offers a $150 saliva based check swab test. Hawaii’s Oceanit Labs may be added later if approved by the FDA.
Airlines may be doing tests. We had not heard about this before, but Green said that some of the airlines will be doing COVID tests at mainland airports. While he didn’t provide more information, he did confirm, as we have stated multiple times, that the state has no authority to require testing prior to travel.
What is the minimum age requiring testing? All persons will have to be tested at this time, Green said, without regard to age. But CVS, for example, only will test passengers 12 and older.
What if your test result isn’t obtained in time for travel? If the test does not come back prior to your arrival, Green reiterated that those visitors will be required to quarantine until results come in.
Quarantine hotels? Green also said he would like to see specific hotels set up for quarantining arrivals. No further details were offered.
Testing for interisland travel without quarantine. Green expects that to be approved within the next couple of weeks.
What about international arrivals. The Lieutenant Governor said that plans are in process for other countries including Canada, Japan, and Australia. He said Japan may even come slightly before the October 15 mainland reopening. That having been said, however, the state website says, “Currently, international travel restrictions prohibit European and other countries from traveling to the U.S.”
How did Green contract COVID? The Lieutenant Governor reiterated it was while he was driving in a car on the Big Island with two members of his team. We’d heard that they hadn’t worn masks for the entire time, but honestly can’t speak to that. Someone asked on Facebook why Green wasn’t wearing a mask on a radio interview the day that he tested positive.
Lastly, Green alluded to Hawaii picking him as governor in the future. He also said he doesn’t generally like politicians and his primary focus is that of being a doctor.