Wrong Data and Missteps May Further Delay Hawaii Travel

Wrong Data and Missteps May Further Delay Hawaii Travel

Updating the situation on the ground here in Hawaii, including poorly interpreted data used to make critical decisions, and what may happen next in terms of both mainland travel and interisland travel.

Mainland travel scheduled to reopen in September. But will it?

We are doubtful at this time whether mainland travel will resume then. The plan, for months, from the governor, was to reopen travel with the requirement for testing 72 hours in advance. But then multiple things caused that plan to fall apart.

Governor Ige said yesterday, “When we had announced the Aug. 1 date back in June… the number of cases was low, or at least stable and the virus was not out of control on the mainland… Subsequent to that, we’ve seen the explosion of cases… We will assess what the conditions are as we approach September 1 to make another decision about whether we are ready; and more importantly, whether the virus is contained in those markets that are most important to us here in Hawaii.”

Hawaii lacked foresight and planning for testing. 

The state did not plan to offer on-site testing on arrival, which was a critical adjunct to pre-travel testing necessary to assure travel could resume. They instead were said to rely exclusively on what appears to be a singular, failed, and never revealed agreement with CVS for testing.  Hawaii’s health director touted that agreement as our saving grace. It was anything but.

As so many of you have pointed out in hundreds of comments, tests just aren’t consistently available for travelers on the basis Hawaii wanted. Some may be, yes, but again, this would need to be widely available from all mainland to Hawaii gateways. And that didn’t happen, and is not likely to happen anytime soon. Or at least not until the flareups on the mainland are under control. Timing there is anyone’s guess.

Will interisland travel without quarantine come to an end too?

There is a distinct possibility that interisland travel could stop again. The reason is the flareups in Honolulu and the possibility of those being transferred to the ill-prepared neighbor islands. As you know, until mid-June, Hawaii also had a quarantine on inter-island travel.

Regarding interisland, the governor said, “We are looking at the entire situation… We are also looking at hospital capacity, the ability to test and get results back within 24 to 48 hours, and then contact tracing… and then our ability to respond. Looking at all of those factors, we do continue to believe that it’s safe to allow interisland travel here in the state.”

Is poorly interpreted data leading the state to wrong conclusions?

The governor based his judgment on per capita increases being the same on each island, which, they are not. He said, “We still see that the prevalence rate of the virus in each of the counties are very similar in terms of a per capita basis.” And that came while the Department of Health reported 55 new cases just yesterday, the highest to date, of which 50 were in Honolulu, 3 on the Big Island and 2 on Maui.

Actual county by county population percentage, and active (not released) case percentage is below. This is according to data from the State Department of Health and the 2019 US census. It shows that Oahu has a far greater percentage of active cases, in relation to its population. The situation poses the greatest risk to those on the neighbor islands from interisland travel.

Oahu: 69% of the state’s population. 92% of active cases.
Maui: 12% of the state’s population. 5% of active cases.
The Big Island: 14% of the state’s population. 3% of active cases.
Kauai: 5% of the state’s population. Less than 1% of active cases.

102 thoughts on “Wrong Data and Missteps May Further Delay Hawaii Travel”

  1. We have friends traveling to Alaska & their system of testing before flight seems working well! They are welcoming tourists & they’re $$$ but still being SAFE!

  2. Aloha! I would appreciate getting a clarification of the travel rules from the mainland. Can I stay in my Kauai condo without quarantining with a Sofia 2 SARS Antigen RA? A local urgent care clinic offers 15 minute turnaround.

    Mahalo Nuti loa for all the great information that you provide constantly! So appreciated!

    1. Hi John.

      Warnings is in effect for everyone except inter-island at this time. Testing does not matter. We’re awaiting more from the state on testing.


  3. Our son and his fiancee live in South Texas, a hot spot for COVID-19. She deals with the public and sure enough, came down with COVID-19 around 2-weeks ago. Since then, she has tested negative. She reports that it was like having the flu. Our son tested today, as he was in close proximity with his fiancee and he has tested positive. No symptoms at all. Would have never known he had it. He’s going to retest in a week to determine if he can go back to work. They are both young and healthy and COVID-19 has been negligible event for them health wise.

  4. Thank you very much for these much needed updates. I had rented a house on the Big Island for the end of September and was hoping to spend the week social distancing and enjoying the island will a small group, but now I don’t think its going to happen. Unfortunately, I’m not confident things will change by than, and test aside decide to cancel it. As many trying to plan travel there, its not worth the level of stress this has induced right now so I canceled and heading to Mexico for a week instead. Hawaii will be there in the future for me to travel and enjoy, but not the time now and I hope the people there remain safe and healthy. Again, while the updates here have not been what I’ve hoped, its helped make my decision much easier! Stay healthy everyone and thanks again.

  5. Today is day 14 of my daughter waiting on her CVS test results. She’s completely recovered and had the sense to quarantine herself, but relying on CVS has a long way to go!

  6. Yes, everyone knew that there were going to be problems with the pretravel testing. Until all the problems are worked, keep the 14-day quarantine in place. That may mean a further delay. I hope the Governor takes all the time he needs to get it right. Yes, that may mean a delay of several more months. Health and safety of our residents over tourists. Secondly, the tracking of those who opt for the 14-day quarantine needs to be improved. If you are caught breaking the quarantine, you should receive a $5,000 fine and imprisoned for 1 year.

  7. We cant get test results for 8 to 10 days. The Bahamas just closed again because their 10 day test rule is impractical or impossible. Hope we can go in January but it doesnt look good.

  8. I just want Hawaii to be safe. Travel restrictions help isolate the islands. I doubt Hawaii it’s doing less testing than many parts of the US. Not even close to all the people are being tested on the mainland. I’m a RN in California, even after exposure we aren’t tested. And as bad as I want to escaped to Kauai, for the safety of the island remember that a negative test is not a guarantee. I had a patient test negative 4 times in the hospital and 2 days after coming home start deteriorating with a positive test the next week. Either her last test didn’t catch it or she got it from the hospital after the test or got it upon coming home. I only trust positive tests. And remember if people don’t quarantine at home a little before and after testing before arriving they could bring it in. Not to mention the airline personal can be asymptomatic and spread it 2 days before showing symptoms. I probably am not helping my chance of being able to come back soon and we have been coming twice a year. But more important be safe Kauai. Let’s everyone, everywhere wear masks and social distance. Until the world commits to this we are at the mercy of those who don’t. It’s not lack if medicine, or vaccines or data, although those will make a huge difference. It is lack of will.

  9. It is next to impossible to get a covid test done and results in hand in 72 hours in our area. It is taking 8-10 days to get results back. Also, to get a covid PCR test you have to have a doctor’s note and have symptoms. You can’t just say oh I’m going to Hawaii and need to get tested, they won’t test you. We have already rescheduled our trip to Maui twice and now possibly a third time. There has to be a better solution.

    1. LISA
      I agree with you 110%, I’m a resident of
      HAWAII.and stuck in California !!!
      Hawaii needs to get real and test residents or tourists at the airports when they arrive.
      Gov Ige. WAKE UP
      JIM H

  10. Hawaii is doomed by both covid and economic collapse there’s no solution. 72 hour covid testing is unworkable if it was the islands would have opened in July and most certainly in August. There tourist and service industry economy is in free fall. Everyday they’re are new reports of permanent closures of restaurants and bars. Do to the inability to make mortgage, property tax and HOA payments mainland owned vacation condo’s will soon go into foreclosure. Currently new daily listings are outpacing sold units by 5 to 1. Judgement day has arrived does Hawaii’s leadership open the islands to tourist and deal with covid surge or wait it out dooming the islands to economic ruin and a covid surge.

    1. I’m in the boat your referencing but able to stay current on payments due to draining my retirement account. The State and City and County of Honolulu are unwilling thus far to change our tax status to residential from resort/hotel so we pay taxes at 4x the rate. We also couldn’t sell our property at the appraised rate. So we pay 4x on an overvalued property. Our Bank, Wells Fargo is also unwilling to lower our interest rate, even though interest rates have declined substantially. Frustrating situation to say the least.

  11. Not all the people are being tested in Hawaii like the mainland. I am sure there are many covid carriers positives there just not documented not tested. I work at a trauma center. I know what’s going on. I am sure if all the people on the islands got tested there would be hundreds of positives. Come on. Let’s see if you guys post my opinion.

    1. Okay. Start testing everyone. Set up testing sites on all the Islands. If you test positive, you will receive treatment. I have tried to get tested, but was refused because I was not showing any symptoms.

  12. The massive numbers on the mainland don’t affect Hawaii if travellers require a negative test before arriving. The unavailability of tests will reduce the number of travellers but should not prevent Hawaii from allowing travellers with negative tests to arrive

  13. We have a paid for trip already for Nov. 9th to the big island and was hoping from this website you could keep me posted for further details with COVID 19 and if restrictions will be lifted by that time God willing!!

    1. We cancelled ours for September and are rescheduling for summer 2021. We are are doubtful the quarantine will be lifted even by next year though. Hawaii may need to be free of Haole’s for at least 5 years before it’s considered safe to allow Haole’s to return. I know it will destroy their economy but what’s more important, money or Hawaiian health?

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