Hawaii is one of the strictest states when it comes to testing and quarantine requirements for travelers. Those traveling to Hawaii either need to get tested within 72 hours of traveling to Hawaii, or need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
It goes without saying that the 14 day quarantine option doesn’t (and shouldn’t) apply if you knowingly tested positive for coronavirus prior to flying to Hawaii, but it seems one couple didn’t quite get that memo.
A few days ago we first learned the story of a couple that knew they tested positive prior to flying to Hawaii, and we now have some more details on how exactly that happened.
In this post:
Couple tests positive for COVID-19, flies anyway
A couple has been arrested following an incident that occurred on a November 29 flight from San Francisco to Lihue. The couple was staying in Seattle and took a coronavirus test there. This is where things get complicated.
They then flew from Seattle to San Francisco to Lihue, and when they landed in San Francisco, they both discovered that they had tested positive for coronavirus.
Officials notified the couple of their test results, and told them to isolate, but they didn’t take that advice, and decided to continue on their flight to Lihue anyway.
When police in Hawaii were made aware of this, they met the plane on arrival, and arrested the couple. Both were charged with second-degree reckless endangering, and have been released on $1,000 bail.
A spokesperson for the Kauai police department said that “they knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death.”
The couple was also traveling with their four year old son, who was handed over to a family member, and Child Protective Services was notified of the situation.
The couple has been banned from flying United, given that the airline requires passengers to acknowledge that they don’t have coronavirus (or any of the associated symptoms) when checking in.
Why this is a good reminder for anyone traveling
What the couple did was reckless, plain and simple. My only hope is that with good mask compliance on planes they didn’t infect anyone else along the journey with coronavirus.
However, the situation is a bit more complicated than we originally thought. Initially it sounded like the couple got their positive test results prior to starting their journey to Hawaii, and decided to fly anyway. In reality the couple found out their positive test results after they had already started their journey to Hawaii.
While it’s reckless, I can better appreciate how the couple got into this situation, and I think this is an important reminder.
The couple was from Hawaii, and they were returning home. It’s awful and irresponsible that they’d put other passengers at risk. This is unfortunately a situation anyone needs to be prepared for if they choose to travel, though. It’s bad enough to test positive while away from home, and even worse to test positive at your layover airport, in a city you may have no connection to at all.
If you choose to travel, are you prepared to potentially be quarantining in one place that’s not your home for two weeks? For some people this can be complicated financially and logistically. An extra two weeks of lodging expenses aren’t in many peoples’ budgets, and it probably gets even more complicated when you’re traveling with a kid and have no support.
To be clear, I’m not in any way excusing what the couple did. Rather I’m saying this because I think it’s an important reminder — if you choose to travel away from your home at a time when cases are as high as they are, be prepared for the risk and cost associated with it. Unfortunately it’s something many people likely don’t consider.
A couple has been arrested in Hawaii and charged with second-degree reckless endangering, having boarded a flight to Hawaii after receiving positive coronavirus test results. This situation was more complicated than many of us had initially assumed, in the sense that the couple found out about their positive test results during a layover in San Francisco, rather than before they started their journey.
That doesn’t in any way excuse what they did, but rather it’s a good reminder of how much can go wrong with travel in this era.
I’ll be curious to see how they end up being sentenced.