Senate hears mayors’ Safe Travels perspectives
LIHU‘E — County mayors made their case to the state’s Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 calling for modifications to the state’s Safe Travels program on Wednesday.
Start Free AccountGet access to 10 premium stories every month for FREE!
Already a Subscriber?Current print subscriber? Activate your complimentary Digital account.
Subscribe NowChoose a package that suits your preferences.
Thank you Mayor K,
Stick to your guns. If we look to the metrics of “success” of the “safe travels” program perhaps we should consider this. Compare us with Maui which is still in the program.
Both Maui and Kauai have seen more cases since the October 15 reopening than they saw in the previous 7 months.
Maui has 22 or 22 ICU beds full. 100%. Kauai has 25% of our ICU beds occupied.
Maui’s positivity rate is 1.5% and ours is 0.7%. The positivity rate is double ours.
Since November 25 our 7 day average daily new cases are falling from 5 to 1.4. Muai, which was on an almost identical trajectory with us from October 31 through November 25 is now at 7.3 cases per 100,000 population. Hawaii county is also sharply increasing.
By every meaningful metric, Kauai is doing the right thing for the health of its island.
Now lets make sure we open in a science based manner to provide for the economy of the island. Be kind to each other and take care of those in need.
Since Safe Travels opened, Big Island of Hawaii has implemented a two-test system. The traveler bore the cost of the pre-test, while the County of Hawaii covered the cost of the post-test for transpacific travelers as well as inter-island Kama’aina. They used CARES act monies to cover the post-arrival testing costs. They worked with Ige to create safety and support the economy of the Big Island. This would have been a better route for Kauai to open up with, instead of opening up with the attitude of resentment towards Ige, and that tourism was going to make everyone sick. But we didn’t want to pay for the 2nd test for transpacific folks, and wanted these travelers to quarantine 3 days until they received their 2nd test – Ige didn’t like that this was inconsistent with all of Hawaii, so Kauai played victim and opened by Ige’s standards. So we opened, only to close as fear set in. Still, it would have been wiser to start out like the Big Island with 2 tests (cover costs of 2nd test with CARES money), and give the project a chance, then ask for stricter measures as needed. It also would be nice if right now, like the Big Island, there was a way for inter-island travelers to take a 2nd test 3 days into quarantine so that they could be set free if their test is negative. People have jobs, appointments, families on other islands, and traveling would be easier for us if this option was available. Travel is essentially closed for Kauai, yet now cases show up each day still, and on top of that many frustrated/worried people are out of jobs, furloughed, losing businesses, etc.