September 2020 COVID19/Coronavirus Update

September 2020 COVID19/Coronavirus Update

Hi everyone! I hope you are all staying safe. It is getting near the end of the year and I was hoping to visit Hawaii for the holidays. I thought I would share some of the information I’ve received with you all.

 

Hawaii incoming visitors can skip the quarantine, with a negative test result

In my last post, I mentioned that the 14-day quarantine for incoming visitors to Hawaii was expected to be lifted in August. That didn’t happen. In fact, Hawaii has recently had a surge in COVID-19 infections. As an exception, if you are able to get a negative PCR test within 2-3 days of your arrival, you can skip the quarantine. Note that this takes a tremendous amount of planning, as my test experience showed that you need to reserve an appointment and wait 48 hours for the results.

There is a fine and possible jail time for people who break quarantine. There has been groups who track certain visitors movements and social media for evidence of breaking quarantine, so be warned (example).

Oahu residents and visitors must wear a non-surgical grade mask in areas where they cannot maintain 6 feet of distance

Similar to some other states like Oregon, if you are out in the open, you can skip the mask. But, if you are in a shopping mall, a bar, grocery store, at the beach and it is crowded, a face covering is required, until who knows when (KHON2 News).

Note that I have seen more and more of these masks available in stores like Costco. I personally have about 4 cloth masks and disposable masks, but I wash and re-use all of them each week or two weeks. Also, right now, there is some debate on how effective “neck gaiters” are as controlling the inflow or outflow of virus particles, but for now, I would recommend against them (NPR). 

How to get a COVID “PCR” Test

The other month, I had requested a test from my health insurance provider, Kaiser Permanente. I had a week of feeling lousy, no cough, no loss of smell, and wanted to take the test. Here were my steps:

  1. I called them to do a pre-check to see if I showed symptoms
  2. They scheduled a time for me
  3. I showed up at the facility in the parking lot and they swabbed the inside of my nostril
  4. I waited about 1.5 days for a text result

Note that the test I took, has a 70% accuracy, which is very troubling, since 50% means that the test is useless and that results are right half the time and wrong half the time. The test was free for me.

For you, if you do not have an opportunity to get a test through health insurance, it will be up to the resources in your area. Here are some links you can check out:

  • Google “<your county/city name> covid19 testing”
  • US Dept of Human and Health Services (link)
  • CVS testing (link)
  • Walgreens testing (link)

 

Hawaiian Air layoffs

Recently, Hawaiian Air had another round of layoffs. This is due to the struggling demand for flights to and from Hawaii. Unfortunately, the visitor quarantine, bans from visitors of certain countries, and people being unemployed have led to a major drop in visitors for most of 2020 so far and will take 2021 and beyond to recover to pre-COVID levels. (Hawaii News Now)

On Oahu, a mass testing occurred on the H-3 Freeway

The state is taking some measures to preserve public health. They recently closed down the h3 freeway for Covid testing (Hawaii News Now).

 

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