The island of Hawaii, the place vaccinated vacationers can skip the COVID take a look at upon arrival, plans to cancel the second exams on Might 1

Hawaii Island today launches a pilot program that will allow travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have completed the wait time to bypass the county’s requirements for the second test.

The island of Hawaii has had a second testing requirement since last October when the state debuted its travel admission program.

Cyrus Johnasen, spokesman for Hawaii Mayor Mitch Roth, said the county plans to fully phase out its second testing program on May 1 – a time when the spread of vaccinations in Hawaii will be more widespread and the state may well be has already implemented or is close to introducing a vaccine exemption for travelers.

Johnasen said Hawaii County plans to continue the second testing for unvaccinated travelers through April. He said passengers could bypass the airport test upon arrival by showing legitimate COVID-19 vaccination cards showing they have been fully vaccinated and the required waiting time has passed.

Paying for the tests upon arrival and running them efficiently was a challenge for the island of Hawaii, which had previously changed the guidelines for the second test.

Roth said from December 15 to March 31, Hawaii County passed financial responsibility related to airport testing after arrival to private philanthropic partners who have signed a contract with the Premier Medical Group (PMG).

“When no more agreement could be reached between PMG and our partners, we withdrew our tax responsibility on April 1st,” he said in a statement. “When we resumed tax responsibility for airport tests, we opted for lower test rates as public money would cause the costs. PMG had informed us of a sharp spike in rates that led us to go our separate ways. “

Johnasen said the county spent $ 400,000 in disaster funds between April 1 and April 15 to cover testing under a PMG contract. He said the county switched test providers after PMG told them that testing coverage from April 15 to April 30 would cost an additional $ 600,000.

“We found another supplier who would keep it in the $ 400,000 stadium for two weeks,” he said.

Roth said his government “intends to end the testing program upon arrival.”

“Our island remains one of the safest places in our nation and we are proud of the work that has been done to keep it that way,” he said. “With the introduction of vaccines as an extra layer of protection, we believe it is time to begin a return to normal, including relieving additional pressures on our airlines, airports, Kamaaina and visitors.

Roth said the county will continue to monitor its numbers and adjust them if necessary “to ensure the health and safety of our community”.

“Until then, we will continue to find innovative solutions to get our community back on track and return to a happy, healthy, and thriving Hawaii County,” he said.

The change in tests on the island of Hawaii after arrival comes as Maui Mayor Michael Victorino plans to conduct a second test for trans-Pacific travelers, including residents returning from overseas. Details are still being finalized, but Victorino said during a press conference on Wednesday that this could happen as early as late April.

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