Hawaii has arrested nearly 200 visitors for quarantine violations

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Since Hawaii's mandatory quarantine for trans-Pacific arrivals went into effect on March 26, a total of 182 people have been arrested for violations of the emergency order, according to a release from the Hawaii Covid-19 Joint Information Center

The arrests have been made by state and county law enforcement agencies across the Islands, which have used a combination of phone check-ins, in-person visits, community tips and other methods to monitor recent arrivals.

The figure includes arrests on Oahu made by the attorney general's office, but the Honolulu Police Department groups all violations of current emergency rules together and does not provide specific statistics for quarantine violations.

"It's a monumental effort to keep track of everyone who should be in quarantine, and it involves a hui [alliance] of law enforcement agencies, representatives of Hawaii's visitor industry, state transportation workers and the community generally," the release said.

State officials are monitoring individuals who are supposed to be quarantining through Hawaii Tourism Authority and the state Department of Transportation call centers. Quarantined individuals can also use an app to provide updates to the state on any symptoms. 

Officials are currently tracking about 7,145 individuals, and attorney general Clare Connors has said they are considering apps and other technology to monitor travelers and also aid in contact tracing. The approximately 80-member team calling quarantined visitors has contacted more than 27,000 travelers since the quarantine order went into effect. Those found guilty of violating the quarantine are subject to up to a year in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine. 

During a July 15 meeting of the state Senate special committee on Covid-19, legislators clashed with Connors over the efficacy of quarantine enforcement efforts. 

"What we're hearing are a lot -- a lot of comments -- from the community that there isn't faith that the quarantine is being enforced effectively," state Sen. Jarrett Keohokaloloe said. "And what we're hearing from you is that the system to enforce the quarantine is as solid as it can be."

"The quarantine is challenging to enforce," Connors said. "If people have complaints, if people know that there are persons that are violating the quarantine ... they need to report that to their police departments."

A pretravel testing program that will allow overseas travelers to bypass the quarantine if they produce a negative test result within 72 hours of arrival is scheduled to start Sept. 1.

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