Traveler forced to quarantine in Hawaii despite negative COVID-19 test

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area man forced to quarantine in Hawaii despite getting negative COVID test results two hours after landing is speaking out tonight.

Here's what you need to know if you decide to fly to the Hawaiian Islands.

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The lure of Hawaii remains tempting for many.

The numbers of visitors plummeted as COVID-19 gripped the county, but the state says some 12,000 travelers still land on the island each day.

Many no doubt come from California despite travel restrictions in place in the Golden State.

One of those is Reyes Ramos, a Concord man traveling with two companions.

"They were pretty good about social distancing on the plane," said Reyes. "The planes have only probably about 30, 40 percent capacity, which is really good."

Hawaii requires all visitors to get tested 72 hours before departure.

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Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green explains.

"They get that test successfully," he said. "Then it's negative, it's a top flight test, then they don't have to worry about quarantining."

Reyes said he did just that. He went to get his COVID test 72 hours before his departure.

He tells us he received his negative test results two hours after he landed. Too late. The test results had to be in before departure. They ordered him to quarantine for 10 days.

"It's not my fault that these guys took so long to deliver the test," Reyes said. "Why do I have to quarantine if I have negative results and she said, 'Sorry, that's the law."'

But the Lieutenant Governor says strict protocols are necessary to avoid having to put even more people under quarantine.

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"Then they find out later they were positive, the two rows around them all now were close contacts, the individuals themselves and their family are going to have to isolate for 10 days in Hawaii," he said.

Reyes received his test from Kaiser, which is a partner in Hawaii's Safe Travels program.

Kaiser told us: "We sympathize with Mr. Ramos... turnaround times for results may vary. Staying home is the best thing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones."

Ramos says Hawaiian Airlines told him it would okay to board without test results, but the airline told us test results are not a requirement for boarding and that it encourages its passengers to stay informed of all requirements.

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Reyes thinks all parties need to talk to each other.

"Yeah, I mean there is a big miscommunication going on between all the parts involved," he said.

Reyes contacted Assemblyperson Tim Grayson's office which talked Hawaii into ending his quarantine after three days. Kaiser is considering his request to pay his change fees to extend his vacation by the time he lost.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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