Travelers going to Maui will no longer have to get tested for COVID19 once they arrive on the island. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino announced, “I think the time has arrived”. This decision was made on Friday as only a handful tested positive among visitors and residents.
Maui started secondary testing on May 4 as an additional precaution. For travelers who refused to take the test, they will have to undergo mandatory quarantine. Fully vaccinated individuals, on the other hand, were exempted from this rule.
The mandatory test in Maui’s Kahului Airport was on top of the required pre-departure COVID19 test which is applied to all travelers.
Maui’s Free COVID19 Tests
From May 4-31, 92,936 rapid COVID tests were done at the Kahului Airport. These tests were offered to travelers for free. And out of the thousands of tests, only 29 rapid antigen tests came back positive. For those who tested positive, follow-up PCR testing was done, which is considered more accurate compared to the rapid antigen test. Out of the 29 positive rapid antigen tests, only 5 came back positive via the PCR test. That is a positivity rate of 0.054%.
According to Dr. Alan Wu who is the co-founder of Doctors of Waikiki, “Those are great numbers”. They were initially concerned that the positivity rate was as high as 1%. According to Mayor Victorino, the $2.5 million to $2.7 million spent on the testing program was worth it.
Victorino announced that “The bottom line in all of this: It was here to protect you the visitor and, really more importantly, you the resident”.
Hawaii’s Road to Normalcy
Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that Hawaii will lift travel restrictions once 70% are fully vaccinated in Hawaii. Also, some milestones will lead up to the dropping of all travel restrictions. For instance, once 60% of the state is fully vaccinated, vaccinated travelers from the mainland US will no longer have to do COVID19 testing and quarantine. Last Friday, Hawaii had a vaccination rate of 52%.