Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth has officially asked Gov. David Ige to reintroduce pre-trip testing for mainland travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, and also close beaches and parks due to a recent increase in COVID on the Island Great.
Mayor Roth cites as the main reason for his request the precarious situation in most hospitals in Hawaii and Honolulu, where residents, sick with coronaviruses, have to wait “days” to get a bed in emergency rooms.
“The consistent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state of Hawaii and across the country reached record levels and made it unbearable strain in our health systems and communities in general,” the letter said. “Only on the Island of Hawaii, our hospitals are full and cannot receive more intensive care patients.”
According to data provided by the mayor, more than 90% of hospitalized patients in Hawaii have not been vaccinated.
“Almost everyone in our ICU was not vaccinated, almost everyone who was dying was not vaccinated,” he said.
The mayor is not only pointing the finger at trans-Pacific travelers due to the rise in COVID-19, but also at the lack of control over excessive tourism that has led visitors to frequent the beaches “crowded like sardines”.
He also urged residents and visitors to avoid large gatherings, wear face masks, observe social detachment and get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help fight the virus.
At this point, it is difficult to say whether Governor Ige will approve both requests. In fact, he reinstated social gathering mandates, such as limiting inner groups to 10 people and outer groups to 25.
It has also reintroduced a limited 50% capacity for bars and restaurants, but has resisted applying tougher measures like lockouts and increased travel requirements.
As of July 8, the state of Hawaii began allowing fully vaccinated mainland travelers to visit the islands without the need for a pre-trip test or quarantine.
At one point, authorities thought that fully vaccinated people could leave the masks behind and return to the normality the islands crave. But the new variants of COVID-19 practically awakened everyone from that dream.
in a recent study Oxford University scientists have found that people who contract the Delta variant of COVID-19 carry a similar amount of coronavirus even when fully vaccinated.
The growing data and the reality that Hawaii is resisting demonstrate that the pandemic is far from over.
Definitely, a pre-trip test for everyone will certainly reduce the likelihood of transmission,” said University of Hawaii epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Lee.