Dr. Sung Yang On Traveling to Hawaii

Dr. Yang Waikiki Hawaii

February 26, 2021

Dr. Sung Yang has made a career of providing medical care to local Hawaiians and visitors for years. When COVID-19 hit the islands of Hawaii he was fully aware of how the state’s restrictions were put in place quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19 infections. Based on what Dr. Yang sees currently, regardless of whether a tourist is visiting or a resident is returning home the pre-arrival requirements for Hawaii are in place and enforced.

First, Dr. Yang Waikiki notes, travelers coming to Hawaii from other states need to bring an approved genetic test (PCR or TMA) for COVID-19 that is completed within 72 hours of their departure to Hawaii and shows negative results be exempted from the mandatory quarantine of 10 days. If the travelers do not bring documentation of a negative test result they are required to complete the 10-day quarantine.  This pre-arrival test requirement is part of the state tracking program to detect anyone coming into the islands who may be infected as well as whom or where they may have exposed the virus to.  If the traveler does not comply with quarantine and monitoring, Dr. Yang points out, that person can be legally prosecuted, fined, and even forced to leave the islands.

International travelers from a few countries such as Japan, Korea, and Canada can also complete the pre-arrival testing to bypass the 10-day quarantine.  For now, travelers from all other countries do not have the option of pre-arrival testing and must complete 10-day quarantine and monitoring. Travelers from the three countries must arrange and complete the genetic COVID-19 tests via “Trusted Testing Partners” or laboratories recognized and approved by Hawaii at their respective countries. 

Unlike many other states in the U.S and other countries, Hawaii has a very restricted and confined population zone. Dr. Yang Waikiki states that the islands and metropolitan areas of Honolulu are very physically compact and densely populated, which can make the spread of the infection more rapid.  Also,, Hawaii doesn’t have the robust resources in terms of hospital and ICU beds to accommodate a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 cases per Dr. Yang.  Nor does Hawaii have the proximity to other states with more resources to transfer over the COVID-19 patients that exceed the current capacity.  Therefore, this overflow scenario can spell out a disaster if travelers come into the islands without pre-arrival testing.

Dr. Yang Waikiki travel precautions include the advice that visitors should plan early when they know traveling to Hawaii is on the horizon. Entry requirements are active and real, and the state of Hawaii is very specific about the type of COVID-19 test and the laboratories that perform these tests. Certain airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines have partnered with a certain approved laboratory to facilitate the testing,i.e. home test kits are mailed to travelers in advance, self-swabs are done, and the test kit with the swab is mailed back with test results available to travelers before departure.  Dr. Yang Waikiki notes that travelers should plan early and carefully to avoid a last-minute disappointment of not obtaining the exemption from the 10-day quarantine, which is usually devastating to travelers who want to enjoy their vacation in Hawaii or need to work as soon as possible after arrival. Even worse, travelers should plan ahead to avoid COVID-19 infection that can cause unintended harm to their health and the health of other travelers and local Hawaiians.