HONOLULU - Officials of the state of Hawaii announced on Aug. 28 that visitors will be required to fill out a “Safe Travels” health questionnaire through an app before visiting the island.
The questionnaire will be mandatory for all travelers starting Sept. 1, and was created by state officials with the aim of protecting the health of Hawaii’s residents and curbing the spread of COVID-19.
“I am pleased to launch this digital app which will allow our travelers to provide their required health and travel information before they arrive at the airport,” said Gov. David Ige. “It will also help us keep in contact with those who are required to be in quarantine. This is an important step in preparing to reopen our economy.”
The questionnaire can also be completed online, and it asks travelers to provide various health and travel information. Once the form is filled out, the applicant receives a QR code which is scanned at the airport to allow entry into Hawaii.
In order to complete the mandatory questionnaire, visitors must create an account at travel.hawaii.gov, complete a profile and fill out details of their trip.
A health questionnaire will then be sent to the traveler 24 hours before departure to Hawaii. Once the questionnaire is submitted, the visitor will receive a QR code to be used to enter the island.
Since the state of Hawaii requires a mandatory 14-day quarantine, the app will be used as a daily check-in, providing health information. State health officials said a visitor’s 14-day quarantine begins the day they enter the state, and the daily health check-in with the app begins the day after entering the state.
“Compared to paper processing, this online app will save travelers time at the airport and will speed up distribution of information to state and county officials who need it to keep us all safe,” said Douglas Murdock, chief information officer of the State of Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services.
Officials say the health questionnaire allows for the state’s health department to monitor medical data of incoming travelers more efficiently and can also be used by the office of the attorney general and county law enforcement officials enforce necessary quarantine guidelines.
FILE - Hawaii Govenor David Ige addresses the press. (Photo by RONEN ZILBERMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
The new requirement for visitors comes as Hawaii health officials issued an urgent call for nurses to assist the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as hospitals experience an influx of patients, making the need for data on incoming travelers even more critical for protecting the population.
Officials in the private, public and nonprofit health care sectors are collaborating to bring more nurses to Hawaii to address the increasing caseload resulting from the virus outbreak, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.
Hospitals trying to deal with the spread of the virus are already short-staffed, said Daniel Ross, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association OPEIU Local 50, which represents about 4,000 members.
Hawaii’s daily new coronavirus case counts have remained in the triple digits for nearly a month.
“It’s only going to get worse as time goes on,” Ross said.
The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, just one of the Hawaii hospitals in need of staff, is seeking an additional 40 to 60 nurses for critical care, telemetry, medical and surgical units, emergency care and inpatient dialysis.
Ige issued an emergency proclamation waiving licensing requirements to enable recent graduates to provide support assistance such as screening and administrative work.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.