Confusion around Safe Travels leads to arrest

LIHU‘E — Matthew Olsen, 58, had gone to California for a week to have dental surgery. Aware he needed an authorized Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) COVID-19 test, he got one for $150 at an urgent-care clinic in El Centro, Calif., prior to his return.

But it wasn’t until he was on his Oct. 21 flight home that the Kapa‘a resident found out it wouldn’t be accepted to get him out of quarantine.

“I had a negative COVID test in-hand,” Olsen said Monday morning.

Olsen’s name and mugshot were included in a press release from the Kaua‘i Police Department last weekend alongside 13 others who had been arrested for violating COVID-19 quarantines since Oct. 15.

“It (the press release) doesn’t tell you I had a negative test,” he said.

The state continues to mandate a two-week quarantine in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but allows the option to bypass it by providing a negative NAAT COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their departure flight to Kaua‘i. The catch, for some, is that the test must be through one of the state’s “trusted partners.”

While it may have been the correct test and within the time frame, the state is requiring tests be through the state’s Safe Travels program, which gives officials access to validate tests. Those who do not have the proper test are subject to quarantine in an approved accommodation for 14 days.

As of Friday, KPD has made 132 travel-related quarantine arrests, each subject to up to one year in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

KPD Assistant Chief Mark Begley confirmed that Olsen had a negative test from an outside vendor.

“When he arrived at the Lihu‘e Airport, he presented a mainland test result that did not fall within the acceptable guidelines established by the state of Hawai‘i Department of Health,” Begley said Monday afternoon.

“Mr. Olsen was informed that his test result was not from a trusted source and that he needed to quarantine. He was advised of the quarantine requirements. He was directed to go straight home and begin his quarantine,” said Begley.

Airport personnel helped Olsen through the Safe Travels online application, Olsen said.

“They ended up helping me through the online stuff,” he said. “I couldn’t get it done myself. It was extremely difficult.”

Olsen confirmed airport personnel told him he had to quarantine.

Under the assumption that while under quarantine he could seek medical attention, Olsen called the Lihu‘e Urgent Care Clinic, inquiring about COVID-19 testing options. He then headed to the location.

“I thought medical visits were OK, but it has to be an emergency,” Olsen said.

At the facility, Olsen was informed he could pay $150 for a test or take part in the county’s post-arrival testing option, he said.

However, the county’s post-arrival testing program at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall is only for residents who have already had an accepted pre-test through the state’s Safe Travel program.

KPD officers responded to a call from the facility reporting Olsen had become “agitated.”

When officers arrived around 6 p.m., Olsen was walking along Kaumuali‘i Highway as he called for a ride. He was arrested.

Able to post the $100 bail with money he had on him, Olsen said KPD officers drove him home afterward.

Monday, Olsen signed a state quarantine order, acknowledging that he is subject to quarantine, according to KPD. Olsen will quarantine, he said, but he always planned to get the pre-test and a post-arrival test, he said.

“Essentially, any time testing is disallowed, the likelihood of community spread is made worse,” Olsen said. “The people who have recently traveled are the most likely to be in danger of contracting and spreading COVID. Denying testing to these people is particularly counterproductive.”

  1. Jim Hall October 28, 2020 1:40 am Reply

    Show me your papers comrade, your constitution is dead here.

  2. Reality Bites October 28, 2020 2:48 am Reply

    “When he arrived at the Lihu‘e Airport, he presented a mainland test result that did not fall within the acceptable guidelines established by the state of Hawai‘i Department of Health,”

    Code for: “The State of Hawaii is not getting kickbacks $$ from the organization that conducted the NAAT COVID-19 test for Mr Olsen within the 72 hours prior to arrival in our Holy Land of Kauai. Therefore, we arrested him and publicly embarrassed him.”

    Welcome to 1930’s Germany! An estimated ~6% of the 200K supposed “COVID-19 Deaths” in the USA, were actually due to contracting COVID. The rest had “COVID like symptoms”, and the hospitals received thousands of dollars for treating the individual. Remove the $$$$ benefits to the hospitals from the Government, and watch the number of supposed COVID deaths go to zero. Glad no one has died from influenza the past 6 months. Glad to see we found a cure.

    Biden wins, and watch all the COVID-19 testing come to an end. Headline in February 2021: “No new COVID cases since Biden takes over. No one is dying anymore”. Stop the madness!

    1. AnneFrankly October 28, 2020 2:19 pm Reply

      Its funny you think you are just as much a victim as a jew in nazi germany when you are told to wear a mask. Isn’t Hawaii a little hot for a little snowflake?
      As to your 6% of 200k corona deaths supposedly dying of actual coronavirus, if you had a high school diploma and didn’t just regurgitate fox news, you would see that its only 6% of the coronavirus deaths ONLY had coronavirus. Which is in line with people with underlying conditions being vulnerable to coronavirus. Obviously if you have cancer, or a lung condition you are more likely to die of coronavirus, which is what happened to the other 94%. Since you don’t believe that people die from coronavirus, here is a report from the only non fake news site you believe

      And its very interesting that you think that the whole world would care so much that Biden wins that they would also fake their coronavirus deaths.

  3. Da Shadow October 28, 2020 3:04 am Reply

    Does anyone else see the irony in this? The State and County are quick to point to any positive test for “growing cases,” but if your negative test results are from a lab that isn’t a “trusted partner,” those results are somehow suspect?

  4. Big Mess October 28, 2020 3:19 am Reply

    This is a big mess by people who think that they know what they are doing.

    The man did and tried to do all the right things to mitigate the state’s asinine COVID-19 requirements and they still found a way to arrest a person who was doing things in good faith.

    1. RevW October 28, 2020 10:11 pm Reply

      Lawyers who specialize in selective enforcement , entrapment and similar rights violations should soon be flocking to Kauai (with the “correct” test results) … how long does it take to validate a temporary bar exam in Hawaii? Utilizing the appropriate bribes – er, I mean ‘fees’ – of course?

  5. Wally Roberts October 28, 2020 4:43 am Reply

    Hope those Kauai cops are learning to click their boot heels. My friends and I have written Hawaii off our future post-pandemic travel plans.

    1. tunnels October 28, 2020 5:57 pm Reply

      No one cares. There’s thousands more to replace you.

  6. Bureau October 28, 2020 4:43 am Reply

    Welcome to a government run by government. (bureaucracy people) instead of by the PEOPLE.

    That’s why the Founding Fathers created Common Law. That way things would be reasonable under the Law, instead of unreasonable.

  7. randy kansas October 28, 2020 5:40 am Reply

    would have been cheaper/time wasted, for him to pay the $150 test price at the Urgent Care….hindsight is 20-20…seems like so far, most of the issues are with residents, not the visitors…hmmm

  8. Communist Uprising October 28, 2020 8:33 am Reply

    this is getting utterly ridiculous.
    slowly, but surely, the State grows more powerful.

    1. FunWithFacists October 28, 2020 2:23 pm Reply

      Its funny that you are so afraid of communism, yet don’t even know what it is. For example, government over reach would actually be more of a facist kinda thing. Communism would be you collecting your social security and medicare.

      1. Jim Hall October 30, 2020 2:17 pm Reply

        Read “The Gulag Archipelago” by Solzhenitsyn. He lived through it and knows what a terror communism really is. We have just been given a free 9 month subscription to the new world order, how do you like it so far?

  9. Everythingisawesome October 28, 2020 8:54 am Reply

    This incident reflects more on KPD and the failed State of Hawaii than it does on you. When those with power stop acting like fellow citizens it is the beginning of the end.

    1. Kristin October 28, 2020 5:46 pm Reply

      He did not in good faith follow the guidelines. He needed a pre travel test from a trusted source. He did not have a trusted source do his test which rendered it useless. Had he followed protocol he would’ve been fine. He was also told to quarantine which he tried to get around by getting a test to avoid quarantine. Hes right about travelers being the ones to contract and pass the virus so they should avoid traveling. Also its untrue that visitors can’t get a post travel test from the safe travel program. He could have as long as he had a negative test prior to getting here from a trusted source. Its voluntary and the county is offering an incentive to travelers for doing it. The residents however don’t qualify for the incentive. He is crying to the papers about confusions when its very clear what needs to be done and if not you quarantine. Period and no exceptions and that what people are upset about. They want to come here, bend the rules to their convenience and put out community at risk in the process.

      1. Reality Bites October 29, 2020 4:57 am Reply

        “He needed a pre travel test from a trusted source.”

        Ah, I think an Urgent Care facility should qualify, but I guess Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens are “more trusted”. SMH.

        Every STATE DEPT OF HEALTH in the Union offers FREE testing……but hey, Hawaii refuses to accept. Does that make sense?

        All this for a “virus” with a 99% survivability rate? Yes, spend endless taxpayer money implementing a process that crushes the local Economy. How much is this Draconian process costing taxpayers for KPD Overtime to check on quarantines? All the contract and National Guard folks enforcing this at the airport….what is this costing the taxpayer for tourist to prefer to visit the Caribbean?

        Yea, listen to the unelected “Scientists”, but don’t listen to professional Economists. Can’t wait for the new 2021 property tax rates to feed our County Government. Oh wait, they are getting all the kickbacks from their list of 12 “Trusted Testing” facilities. SMH.

  10. LTEreader October 28, 2020 5:44 pm Reply

    It’s NOT rocket science. The State of Hawai’i has said from Day 1 you MUST get tested at one of the locations listed on the State website. This ensures that those at Hawai’i’s Airports can do their jobs expeditiously, and accurately by logging into the ‘partner site’ to verify information. Pretty simple really.
    I heard yesterday that some test results people are showing up here with are fraudulent, which was inevitable and preventable by getting tested at one of the locations ALL visitors and returning residents have been told they must go to. Why is this so hard to comprehend? SMH.

    And Reality Bites –
    You obviously have NO clue what people had to endure in Germany during the 30s. Educate yourself!

    1. Reality Bites October 29, 2020 5:06 am Reply

      “Show me das papers”! “The enforcers are knocking on our hotel door to ensure we have remained in place”! “We are being arrested because we were out by the Resort Pool with 6 feet of distance from anyone”! “I was arrested and had to spend two days in jail because I did not have bail money…..All I was doing was walking on the beach”! “I was ordered to remain in my house, with no food, for 14 days, because I arrived in Kauai with an Oregon Health Department COVID-19 test. They said the test must be at Walmart or CVS”!!

      It doesn’t start with cattle cars and concentration camps. Stop the madness!!

  11. RevW October 28, 2020 10:33 pm Reply

    That’s rather presumptuous. Some of us are old enough and have family & friends from Germany (who are now US citizens) to know EXACTLY what people had to put up with in Germany from the 1930 right on through the Allied postwar “presence”. Just regular German citizens back then, not even part of any of the NAZI target groups. … you rather missed the point that people now do not want to move in that direction. Needing to go out of state for any kind of surgery also suggests that it was too serious for Kauai doctors, which just might have made it a tiny bit difficult for Mr Olsen to sort out the long sequence of acceptable / not acceptable.Calling the police because Mr Olsen was “agitated” after all the runaround and walked out when he couldn’t get things sorted out is overreaction, too. He was trying to comply , trying to get to where he was supposed to be when nobody could help him, and … got arrested. And booked. Thumbs up to the police for taking him home after doing what they were legally required to do. Thumbs down on the “medical” facility for doublespeak : you can pay for it but you aren’t allowed to take the test.

  12. Mowerman61 October 29, 2020 9:19 am Reply

    I am a Kauai resident and I just returned from a mainland trip. This was a trip that was supposed to happen in May, but it was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions in Hawaii. Navigating the current rule placed on travel to Hawaii was a bit time-consuming, but it wasn’t too hard to read the rules and figure out how to comply with them.

    What I don’t understand is why you can’t get a Covid-19 test at any testing location on the mainland that is certified by the state where the test is being administered.

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