A strict new rule went into effect yesterday (11/24/20) which now requires all inbound travelers to have their negative pre-travel NAAT COVID test (taken no longer than 72 hours prior to your scheduled departure time) results in hand & uploaded to the Safe Travels website prior to your scheduled flight departure in order to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
The big change here, is that pre-Nov 24th; travelers were allowed to go under temporary quarantine until their results came in (see figure 1 below). This was the case for many travelers with the labs being so backed up that they could not guarantee results fast enough (myself included, on two separate occasions).
A lot of people were flying in without having received their test results and were just hoping for the best, staying in self-quarantine until results came in...sometimes 2-4 days after arrival.
Now, without results in hand prior to departure; it is a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, no exceptions.
There is also a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers traveling between islands, except for those traveling from a neighbor island to Oahu. This inter-island policy seems to be a little more forgiving though as it is actually a lot easier than you might think to get tested here in Hawaii by an approved testing vendor, with lab results coming back really fast (in my experience, my result came back the next day). More on that below.
Figure 1: Old Rules
IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER
1) You must take the test no more than 72 hrs/3 days PRIOR to your scheduled departure time.
2) The test must be done by an approved vendor (link below).
3) You must have your negative test results printed and in hand as well as uploaded to Safe Travels website PRIOR to your scheduled departure, NO EXCEPTIONS.
4) Negative COVID test is ALSO required with inter-island travel (except for ppl traveling from a neighboring island to Oahu as stated above).
WHAT'S FRUSTRATING ABOUT IT
The major problem with this new rule is that as COVID-19 cases have continued to rise, there has been a huge influx of people getting tested lately. This has caused a pretty significant delay in lab result return times and it is absolutely impossible to get a firm guarantee from anyone that you will get your results in time.
The good thing is that it looks like the approved testing partners are working really hard to accommodate these new requirements. So far I have experienced and heard various feedback on test result turn times from various vendors.
My last test was done through Quest out of a Dr. office in Palo Alto (who then mailed it overnight to Los Angeles) and my results didn't come back until the 4th day (past 72 hrs). My colleague had the same experience using CVS but his results didn't come back for a full 6 days. We have some more people coming in over the next few weeks so I will try to update this article with our their result turn times using Kaiser and Vault Health.
TOP TESTING VENDORS SO FAR
The #1 front runner out of the approved vendors in my book right now is still VAULT HEALTH (who I recommended back in July) especially as they have recently teamed up with Hawaiian Airlines.
Vault offers the best convenience as they allow you to order the test through the mail ($119), take it at home in their virtual "Zoom Room", you mail it in and your results are sent electronically before the deadline. No waiting in long lines, exposing yourself unnecessarily or driving anywhere...except to the post office. Costco also offers a mail in testing option with virtual test monitoring but I don't know of anyone who has used that one yet.
I haven't seen guarantees from any testing vendors so you will have to chose which one is right for you and your budget of course; I just wanted everyone to be aware of the new rule and to plan accordingly!
Please be sure to always go off of the approved vendors list provided by the state (link in button below). The graphic below the button shows some of the top vendors for your reference.
With this new rule to consider; I have pulled together some of the best resources to help you navigate this process.
Below you will find for your reference a current step by step Hawaii Travel Checklist, a 72 hours testing guideline from Vault Health, the most accurate resource links, and a Travel Document Checklist of recommended paperwork to carry with you.
***For flight crews, I highly recommend applying for CISA crew-member exemption status and will provide instructions, links and a checklist for that soon.
Mail-In Testing Tips
Mail-in ordering and testing guidelines from Vault Health:
Vault Health tips for mail-in test shipping:
Top Links for HAWAII TRAVEL Info
Exemption Application Process Info Coming Soon!
Make sure you're following all the updated guidelines so you and your crew/clients/family don't get stuck in quarantine!
The date of this article is 11/25/20. Please be sure to do your own research prior to any travel planning to ensure accurate rules are being followed as they have been changing a lot lately.
Safe travels everyone! :)
Kelly -> Yourgotofa,
P.S. If you'd like a free pdf of any of the checklists, please email
me your request at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the fires rage on throughout my community again, I wanted to take a moment to share some updates and resources for anyone who may be looking for information or ways to help/donate/raise awareness with the relief efforts. Please donate if you have the means, share with anyone you know who may be affected or find ways to help if you can through some of the resources below. Every little bit is appreciated for those who are suffering!
This is the California live fire map and tracker from SF Chronicle below as of 9:51 PST, Sept 28th. Click the button below to see the latest movements.
In the aftermath of a disaster, immediate needs for victims can include shelter, food, cash and other basic needs. A community’s recovery is often more complex and depends on the scope of the disaster and an affected community’s specific context and needs. For these reasons, the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports both mid-term to long-term recovery efforts for those affected by California wildfires. - California Community Foundation
CCF offers some great support options by way of donation including the Northern California Wildfire Relief Fund (click button to donate).
LATEST UPDATE & NEWS
As of Monday evening Sept 28th, 2020...
The Glass Fire started around 4am Sunday morning.
After 70 mph winds swept through Napa County, it erupted further, threatening thousands of structures along the Silverado Trail in between St. Helena and Calistoga. Just overnight, it has ripped through north St. Helena & the Calistoga making its way all the way through to Santa Rosa prompting thousands of emergency evacuations.
In just 24 hours, the Glass Fire has indiscriminately destroyed 113 structures including many communities and ecosystems in its path, eventually merging with both the Shady Fire and the Boysen Fire.
As of tonight 36,236 acres have been burned. According to CalFire; 1,466 total fire personnel are assigned to this fire, 26 crews, 5 helicopters, 200 engines, 57 dozers and 22 water tenders with 0% containment.
Another among many other fires burning throughout California is the Zogg Fire in Shasta County which has doubled in size just over the last few hours. Zogg stats : 1 day active, 31,237 acres burned, 146 structures destroyed, 3 fatalities reported, 700 personnel assigned, 8 helicopters, 81 engines, 36 dozers and 19 water tenders with 0% containment as well.
The SF Chronicle has reported that Santa Rosa Schools have cancelled online classes through Wednesday and the city has urged residents to conserve water for fire fighting usage.
Emergency alerts sounded throughout the day and night warning residents of the increasing fire line and evacuation radius. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning as the fires continued to burn out of control.
Some of the Napa & Sonoma county structures that sustained significant damage or were destroyed include many famous wineries and high end resorts such as the three-Michelin-star Restaurant at Meadowood Napa Valley Resort, Calistoga Ranch, Chateau Boswell Winery, Hourglass Winery, Black Rock Inn, Sterling Vineyards and Castillo de Amorosa Winery (where a girlfriend of mine recently got engaged).
According to California Community Foundation, there are currently 27 major wildfires with over 18,000 firefighters deployed; including my younger brother, who is a local NorCal firefighter that has been working on the North Complex fire in Quincy for the past few weeks. Previously, he had been working with a strike team and hot shot crew (with 5 engines and a water truck) that was battling the Hopkins Fire.
When I told him how much I appreciate his work and how many of my friends and even some strangers have reached out to say the same; he mentioned that there were a lot of people in Quincy that he saw on Saturday with signs showing their appreciation to the fire crews on their way back to camp.
Reinforcements have been coming in from all over California and across state lines to help. Federal agencies and military personnel are also showing up and continue to assist with the ongoing fire fighting efforts; some of which include the National Guard, Marines, Sailors and inmates from the CA Inmate Firefighter Program. With limited ground personnel, bulldozers and aircraft are being used as well to contain the flames.
Please consider making a donation to help with the wildfire relief efforts, making signs of appreciation for our crews out there or feel free to pass along this info along to anyone who might need them. Praying for everyone that has been affected, the heros on the front lines and everyone else behind the scenes and in between.
Stay safe everyone!
I’m happy to report that the crickets are no longer the only ones chirping in the Bay Area...
Amidst the continually rising US COVID-19 infection rate; many of our favorite international travel destinations are understandably, yet frustratingly still figuring out their stance on allowing ‘high risk’ Americans entry onto their soil. As a result, we are seeing unprecedented lockdowns, mandatory quarantines, and negative COVID-19 test result proof required within 48-72 hours of traveling in some cases.
While we navigate the ever-changing travel requirements, owners and charter clients are looking for opportunities to get out of town (however brief) as trip requests are starting to flicker in and out again. As crew-members, a new responsibility of ours has emerged: securing negative COVID-19 test results within a strict time frame in order to fly.
As a contractor in California, I had some difficulty getting an appointment for a COVID-19 rapid test within the time frame requested by the owner on my last trip. With fingers crossed, I booked appointments with two different testing facilities hoping that I would get my test results back early in order to fly. Both test results were delayed about 6 days as they had to be sent to labs due to there not being enough rapid test supplies to accommodate all of the people who had appointments. Thankfully I got my results back in time for our trip...but just barely.
The uncertainty of whether or not I would be able to get my test done on the right day (two of my appointments were actually cancelled by the provider the day before), worrying about the possibility of the trip dates changing again (as we all know is very common in corporate aviation) and ultimately, would I get my results back in time in order to fly/work...was a lot of stress to deal with.
That is why this week, to hopefully save you some time and stress...I wanted to share some new COVID-19 testing resources that I learned about (along with the two other places that I had been using for testing). These mainly apply to contract crew and smaller flight departments that do not have assistance with test procurement from a corporation which is ideal.
1) Vault: Online order, delivery & at home testing with a doctor virtually. It costs $150 and you do the test at home with results back within 48-72 hours (after the lab receives it). My pilot source for this option said that he's been getting results back normally before 48 hours so I've ordered one to have on hand for my next trip. I like that with this option (also #2, and #3 below) I don't have to scramble to get an appointment for testing when a trip comes up and that I don't have to drive all over town, wait in a long line or risk being exposed to other potentially sick people.
2) Pixel: Online order, delivery & at home testing. I have not used this one yet, but it's another where you order the test online. I checked their website and the wait times were 3-5 days after test is received by the lab. They bill your insurance or CARES Act if you are uninsured.
3) Hims: Online order, delivery & at home testing. I have not used this one yet, but it's another where you order the test online. I checked their website and the wait times were 3-5 days after your test is received by the lab. Cost is $150.
4) GoHealth: Onsite clinic testing by appointment. Here you sign up for a virtual appointment first. I had been getting same day/next day rapid testing appointments with the results back same day, although a few days ago I tried to book a virtual appointment and they did not have any virtual appointments available. If using this option, I recommend checking that the result times are what you need. Cost is $51 for virtual appointment and $100 for rapid test.
5) Carbon Health: Onsite clinic testing by appointment. They had been offering mobile clinics throughout CA with rapid testing, you just had to book an appointment a few days before. This option is now sending their results to the lab and can take 5-7 days to get your results back. Carbon bills your insurance or CARES Act if you are uninsured.
When I first used this option (via mobile clinic) I booked an appointment for one day out and got my results the same day. The next time I booked the mobile clinic, they called me to rebook the appointment for the next day because they had moved the clinic to another location...then they said that they had to switch from the rapid test to the lab test and that the results would take 5-7 days so beware of that.
Please do your own research prior to using any of these methods as result turnaround is changing constantly!
Anyway, I hope that you find this info to be helpful. If there are any other testing methods that you are using that are good, please let me know in the comments.
Wishing you smooth travels!