CDC Ranks Moloka‘i Among the Most Vulnerable Communities in Maui County

March 31, 2020, 7:55 AM HST · Updated April 1, 6:02 AM
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PC: CDC via County of Maui.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is eyeing the potential shut down of airports to non-essential travel to protect the islands from future outbreaks of COVID-19.

All of Maui County’s 25 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are on the island of Maui.   While there are no reported cases of COVID-19 on the outer islands of Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi, county officials say Molokaʻi is rated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the most vulnerable communities in Maui County, based on 2018 data, specifically for hospital and medical resources.

According to the CDC, social vulnerability refers to “the community’s capacity to prepare for and respond to the stress of hazardous events ranging from natural disasters such as tornadoes or disease outbreaks, to human caused threats such as toxic chemical spills.”

The index groups 15 census derived factors into four themes that summarize the extent to which the area is socially vulnerable to disaster, including “economic data, as well as data regarding education, family characteristics, housing, language ability, ethnicity and vehicle access.”

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“We have zero reported cases on both islands.  I am extremely happy.  They have worked very hard to keep it that way; and we are working very hard,” said Mayor Victorino.

Mayor Victorino said he has been in contact with Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele with both reporting a reduction in the number of flights.

“But remember, they still have to keep open for humanitarian cargo and other essentials and essential workers that need to move between the islands. We are the only county that has three islands under our jurisdiction, so that is why we need airlines to move between the islands,” he said during an afternoon press conference on Monday.

“We have the Lānaʻi Expeditions (ferry) that moves between Lahaina and Lānaʻi, and they’re now running only two passenger flights (boat trips) a day–one in the morning (and) one in the afternoon,” said Mayor Victorino.

The goal, he said, is to prevent resources from being overwhelmed.

Mayor Victorino has been in discussions with Adjutant Gen. Kenneth Hara about a statewide inter-island travel ban.

On Monday afternoon, Governor David Ige announced a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine on all interisland travel.  This does not apply to those who are considered essential workers, but they are required to wear personal protective equipment during flights.

PC: Overall SVI for Maui County in 2020. Courtesy CDC.

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