Council calls emergency meeting for Wednesday: Legislative body seeks travel testing update from …

The state plans to reopen to trans-Pacific travelers Thursday without a quarantine period provided they get a pre-travel test within 72 hours of their …

County Council Chairman Aaron Chung has called an emergency council meeting for 1 p.m. today to get a briefing from Mayor Harry Kim about how interisland and trans-Pacific travel will work come Thursday.

The public can watch the meeting at the council’s website via livestream. http://hawaiicounty.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=1.

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The state plans to reopen to trans-Pacific travelers Thursday without a quarantine period provided they get a pre-travel test within 72 hours of their flight. Hawaii County will require both a pre-flight COVID-19 test and a free rapid-response COVID-19 antigen test at the airport itself.

In addition, a pre-travel testing program for interisland travel between Oahu, Maui and Kauai begins Thursday, but Hawaii County has not yet signed on.

“There seems to be confusion on the part of some as to how this program will be implemented,” Chung said. “We are so close to that Oct. 15 date, the council feels that it is wise to allow the mayor an opportunity to further explain his plan and to answer questions.”

County Clerk Jon Henricks said Tuesday the public can testify live at the meeting via Webex. To register to testify, email Jeanette.Aiello@hawaiicounty.gov or call 961- 8255 no later than 11 a.m. The public is encouraged to send in written testimony to counciltestimony@hawaiicounty.gov.

“We understand the council’s sense of urgency, so we’re putting this together quickly,” Henricks said. “We’ll get people on if we can.”

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The council will be discussing Communication 1120, which states in part, “Lifting of the 14-day quarantine for those out-of-state travelers that can provide negative test results for COVID- 19 is likely to increase the threat of spreading infections to residents of Hawaii County, no matter how effectively the testing program is implemented and managed.”

“The lack of a clear path forward and consensus on how to best proceed between the County of Hawaii and the State of Hawaii is causing confusion and anxiety amongst administrators and officials responsible for implementing Trans Pacific travel COVID- 19 mitigation measures, as well as concern from stakeholders and the citizens of the County of Hawaii,” the communication says.