Hawaii is Ready for Coronavirus

Jul 25, 2020 | General Information

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While Hawaii is a crossroads for international and especially Asia Pacific travel, the number of visitors from China annually is small, less than 1% of arrivals in Hawaii. But Hawaii’s state government and health authorities are not taking any chances when it comes to dealing with coronavirus prevention.

In case someone in Hawaii is identified to have the novel 2019 coronavirus, they will be quarantined and monitored for two weeks at the U.S. Pearl Harbor military base. However, Hawaii’s Department of Health officials say that the likelihood of using the facility for more than a few individuals currently remains low. That opinion is grounded in facts and analysis, not misinformation or simply optimism.

The US military in Hawaii has been very involved in Hawaii’s coronavirus decision-making. The Navy took quick action to provide Pearl Harbor for Quarantine if needed. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith has restricted all Defense Department travel to China. All US defense personnel in China on temporary duty had to leave mainland China immediately. For now, the state’s health authorities have opted for US military bases as Hawaii’s preferred quarantine sites. Military bases provide the security, limited public access and support staff needed to implement Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The only people likely to be quarantined in Hawaii have been to China’s Hubei. Direct flights to Hawaii from China were stopped in early February. One Hawaii resident who traveled recently to Hubei but returned to Hawaii from another country – without any symptoms — is the first to be quarantined in Pearl Harbor. Hawaii’s Health Department has said that some people in Hawaii who did not travel from Hubei but traveled within the past few weeks to China – and have no symptoms — are self-monitoring at home.

A handful of other US citizens who were in China have past through Honolulu’s airport on the way to somewhere else, presumably going home. Most flights to the US from China have been funneled to 10 other airports around the nation, and not to Hawaii’s Daniel K. Inouye International. Virtually every international flight is being screened In Hawaii and elsewhere.

Hawaii has set up a State Laboratory to test for coronavirus in Pearl City. This will significantly speed up testing turnaround time. Test results from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta can take a week or longer. Hawaii will be ready to more quickly and accurately diagnose a case and take appropriate preventive actions.