It didn’t take long for Kauai to revert back to a quarantine system. After joining the other Hawaiian islands on October 15 in allowing visitors to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine, Kauai is now reinstating a quarantine requirement.
Hawaii Governor David Ige on Friday approved Kauai mayor Derek Kawakami’s request to temporarily opt out of the state’s pretravel testing program. Effective December 2, all travelers arriving in Kauai, whether from another state or another county in Hawaii, are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
“The unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and the rise in community spread on Kauai are of significant concern. We must protect Kauai residents and visitors and ensure that Kauai’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed,” said Governor Ige.
Mayor Kawakami said he “will gladly repeal the moratorium once we have the virus under control again.” But he did not provide any time frame for when that might be.
Kauai County has the lowest number of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state and is looking for ways to increase capacity. The hope is that by returning to a mandatory quarantine officials can “stabilize the situation on Kauai,” Kawakami said.
The pretravel testing program remains in place for all other counties in Hawaii. The program allows out-of-state travelers arriving in Hawaii to bypass a 14-day quarantine when they furnish evidence of a negative FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), performed using a nasal swab by a CLIA-certified laboratory taken within 72 hours before arrival in Hawaii.
The program’s rules were recently updated to require that travelers have the actual results of their COVID-19 test prior to boarding—previously they could provide their results to state officials upon arrival in Hawaii.