Partnership ensures post-arrival COVID testing will continue through mid-January

  • ROTH

Mayor Mitch Roth on Wednesday announced a partnership between Hawaii County and a private philanthropist that will ensure trans-Pacific post-arrival COVID-19 testing for those arriving on the Big Island will continue through Jan. 15.

According to the county, the testing currently is funded by federal coronavirus relief funding, which is slated to end this month.

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The testing has detected 45 cases of COVID-19 in travelers who had otherwise received a quarantine exemption with a negative test result prior to travel to Hawaii.

“It has been humbling to work alongside vested members of our community, the hotel industry and generous philanthropists who share in a deep sense of aloha and responsibility for our island home to find immediate solutions that help to keep our community safe,” Roth said. “It is my hope that these types of public-private partnerships will become a cornerstone of our administration.

“We thank all of those who worked tirelessly to meet the deadline to ensure that no days of testing were missed.”

The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 statewide.

Five cases were reported on Hawaii Island, 85 on Oahu, 14 on Maui and six were Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state.

Hawaii County’s test positivity rate is 1.8%, compared to the state’s test positivity rate of 2.4%.

Four additional COVID-related deaths were reported Wednesday on Oahu. Three men, ages 30-39, 40-49 and 60-69, and a woman age 80-90 had underlying health conditions and had been hospitalized. A total of 50 deaths have now been reported on the Big Island, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

In a message Wednesday, Civil Defense said the DOH reported that a Hawaii Island resident died on Oahu.

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“You should understand the seriousness of what is happening in areas outside of Hawaii,” Civil Defense said. “The coronavirus cases count and fatalities continue to dramatically increase across our nation and are projected to continue at the current rate or worse through early next year.”

Although the first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on the Big Island next week, Civil Defense availability the vaccine for the general public is still months away.

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