BREAKING: Third Consecutive Day of Record Covid-19 Cases in Hawaii: 73 New (68 on Oahu, 5 on Maui)
Hundreds in Quarantine or Isolation Affirm Shelter-in-Place Plans
• Mayor Victorino Asks Governor to Reinstate 14-Day Interisland Quarantine
• Modified Quarantine Rules in Place During Tropical Cyclone
• Second Day of Record High Numbers on Friday July 24 with 60 New COVID-19 Cases in Hawaii
• COVID-19 Update: Low Level of Community Spread on Maui, School Assessment
For the third consecutive day, Hawai‘i has recorded a record single day high for new COVID-19 cases, reporting 73 new cases in the state–that includes 68 on O‘ahu and five on Maui.
“As Tropical Cyclone Douglas approaches, across the state 625 people, currently in isolation or quarantine due to exposure to someone or being positive for COVID-19, have affirmed they will shelter-in-place,” according to an update provided this morning by the state Joint Information Center.
Health officials say that with record new cases today, it’s expected the number of people in isolation or quarantine will rise by the end of the day. The Hawai‘i Department of Health reports that they contacted these individuals yesterday and at that time, they indicated they do not intend to seek accommodations at a public shelter.
State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “Thursday’s, Friday’s, and today’s numbers demonstrate the relaxation of safe practices from the 4th of July, particularly on O‘ahu, may have been one primary reason for these daily new records. We’re beginning to see more cases among younger to middle-age adults; many who relay stories of attending gatherings, parties, events, or socializing at bars.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park added, “Multiple household clusters and other clusters are associated with social interactions like 4th of July gatherings, birthday parties, televised sports events, religious functions, work meetings, and funeral events. Our investigations and contact tracing show in many of these settings people have relaxed their physical distancing and use of facial coverings.”
While the percent of positive coronavirus in the state seems to be stable, the curve is very gradually increasing because of the positivity rate in Honolulu. Dr. Park explained, “This means the rate of new cases, particularly on O‘ahu, is greater than the rate of increased testing that is occurring.”
However, due to the approaching storm, the DOH State Laboratories Division will not be conducting COVID-19 testing on Sunday. Testing is expected to resume late Monday or on Tuesday. The DOH State Laboratories Division has been testing specimens for one of the clinical labs because of a reagent supply shortage. The State Laboratories Division also regularly tests specimens from investigations and sentinel surveillance.
Dr. Anderson concluded, “There are already calls for re-instituting restrictions and given this concerning trend. We are closely monitoring the situation, evaluating exposure risks, and currently in discussions on going back to previous restrictions on activities.”
The new cases bring to 1620 the total number of cases reported in Hawaii since reporting for the pandemic started at the end of February. Further details related to recovery and rate will be posted later today. Currently, there are 39 individuals who are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 36 on O‘ahu and three on Hawai‘i Island.
To date, there have been 26 COVID-19 related deaths in Hawaiʻi, including 19 on Oʻahu, six in Maui County, and one Kauaʻi resident who was hospitalized in Arizona. Prior COVID-19 related deaths are posted here.
Age breakdown is not available by county; however there is a breakdown of the statewide count. Of the 1371 (excludes 22 residents diagnosed out of state) cases recorded *as of July 20 statewide (updated weekly): 132 were 0-19 years old (one of which required hospitalization); 487 were 20-39 years old (12 of which required hospitalization); 447 were 40-59 years old (37 of which required hospitalization; and three deaths); and 305 were 60+ years old (80 of which required hospitalization; and 20 deaths).
Maui County has six COVID-19 related deaths
- Maui reported its first COVID-19 related death on Monday, April 6, of an adult male over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions and exposure to travelers.
- The second Maui death was announced on Wednesday, April 8, and was an unattended death.
- A third death in Maui County reportedly occurred on April 7, but was reported in the state count on Friday, April 10. The third case involved an elderly individual who was in the chronic care unit.
- The fourth case was confirmed on April 19, and was an adult male from Washington state in the 40-59-year age group who had no previous medical conditions. State health officials say the man’s exposure history may be travel-related. The man had been hospitalized for an extended period in serious condition at Maui Memorial Medical Center.
- The fifth Maui case occurred on Monday April 20 and involved a man who had underlying health conditions. He had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late last year. This person’s death is considered related to the MMMC cluster.
- The sixth Maui case was reported on May 3, 2020. The case involved a woman, over the age of 60, with underlying medical conditions. She had been in the hospital at Maui Memorial Medical Center since late February. Her infection occurred in mid-April. “COVID-19 is not believed to be the primary cause of death, due to her other serious illnesses, but may have been a contributing factor to her passing,” health officials said.
On Monday, July 13, Gov. David Ige announced he is delaying the launch of the state’s pre-travel testing program by a month to Sept. 1, 2020. He also announced the extension of Hawai‘i’s 14-day quarantine on trans-Pacific travel to the end of August. The governor said he still believes in the program and reports that the state has made progress, but said spikes on the mainland and here at home have stalled the program that many equate to the reopening of tourism in Hawaiʻi.
“This decision came through much, much discussion, and we have accessed the situation that we see before us. On the US mainland, we continue to see uncontrolled outbreaks and surges and we don’t believe that that situation would change significantly by Aug. 1st as we had hoped. The outbreaks on the mainland aer also beginning to affect the supply chain of our testing supplies.” said Gov. Ige.
He agreed that the developments will make economic recovery more challenging for Hawaiʻi.
A separate quarantine in place for interisland travel was lifted on Tuesday, June 16. This applies only to air travel within the state, and anyone arriving into the state would still be subject to a 14-day quarantine as outlined above. Upon lifting the interisland quarantine, the state has implemented thermal screening, a new interisland travel form and a more robust contact tracing program.
The state has since selected NEC Corporation, NEC Corporation of America and their partner, Infrared Cameras Inc., to provide thermal temperature screening and facial imaging technology at Hawaiʻi’s public airports.
The thermal temperature screening equipment will be installed immediately at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Kahului Airport, Līhuʻe Airport, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole and Hilo International Airport.
- Phase 1 will have the temperature scanners installed this month at the gates currently being used for arriving trans-Pacific flights.
- Phase 2 will have the temperature scanners installed at the remaining gates in the coming weeks.
- Phase 3 expects to have the facial imaging equipment installed by Dec. 31, 2020.
Maui Public Schools Prepare for Start of Fall Semester in August
The state Department of Education still plans on re-opening classrooms in August for the Fall semester. The department’s plans were reviewed on Thursday afternoon with the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19. Schools have three options to choose from: fully reopen with every student on campus for in-person instruction; come in on a rotating schedule with students doing both distance learning and in-person instruction; or do a full distance learning program. State School Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said models for individual schools are determined by the principals of respective schools.
Mayor Victorino Adds $3 Million to H.E.L.P. Program
Mayor Michael Victorino announced that Maui Economic Opportunity Inc. continues to accept applications for the Hawaiʻi Emergency Laulima Partnership (H.E.L.P.) program.
Through June 30, MEO received 5,690 applications and approved 4,361 for financial assistance through the program, for a total of $1.9 million in assistance.
The County of Maui has now allocated $5 million in general funds for the H.E.L.P. program, up from the initial $2 million when the program was launched. The program provided assistance to 11,775 individuals through the end of June.
The H.E.L.P. program provides financial assistance for Maui County residents to bridge the gap created by layoffs and reduction in work hours resulting in loss of income due to COVID-19. Assistance may be used for food, personal hygiene, medicine, rent, mortgage, utility payments, phone or Internet service, insurance or other essentials.
Beginning July 1, the maximum assistance in a 30-day period has increased to:
- Family of 1-2, $500
- Family of 3-4, $750
- Family of 5-6, $1,000
- Family of 7-plus, $1,250