Maui Mayor Keeps Eye on COVID-19 Case Count, Explores Job Creation
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino says he’ll look at potentially closing beach parks and reinstating other restrictions if the county continues to see double digit new cases over the next few days.
New Maui cases over the past three days included: 14 on Sunday, 7 on Saturday and 9 on Friday. That equates to a 10 case average increase over the course of three days. Last week, Mayor Victorino said the threshold for any closures “would really depend on a number of factors,” but narrowed the scope to a sustained period of one week of double digit increases in Maui County.
“Of these cases, we have had some travel related with a bachelor party in Honolulu. I mean there is a lot of different issues that are occurring, but much of the spread now is based upon community–people coming back or people getting sick within the community,” Mayor Victorino said during a morning interview today with Shane Kahalehau on KPOA 93.5 FM.
He also discussed the cases occurring at the Maui Memorial Medical Center where a new cluster of at least nine individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday. A hospital spokesperson said they are working collaboratively with the Department of Health to investigate the possibility of a community-acquired exposure as the source.
“As you saw, our hospital has again, both staff and patients that are infected,” said Mayor Victorino.
“There was one very belligerent patient that didn’t want to wear a mask and he proved to be COVID positive. It’s a lot of people disregarding all of the safety measures that is driving this new outbreak,” said Mayor Victorino.
“I don’t want to see it continue. Again, if it does for the next four or five days, a week or so, if it averages more than double figures, then we’ll look to rollback our position and start maybe closing beach parks and all of that. That’s where the gatherings are, and if you drove along Ukumehame yesterday, you would have seen a lot of people on the beach enjoying with tents and pop-tents and all of that. All of those right now are prohibited, but they don’t seem to care. They just go right ahead,” said Mayor Victorino.
“So if you’re going to have blatant disregard for the rules, then we’re going to have to be stricter on those rules,” he advised.
Mayor Victorino Addresses Rumors Relating to Resort Bubbles and Public Beach Access
Mayor Michael Victorino today addressed “rumors and misinformation” he said is spreading on social media about resort bubbles and public beach access.
The comments come after he discussed the idea of bubble travel and geo fencing at beachfront resorts during a press conference on Friday.
“One vicious rumor–because I was talking of bubble resorts and I did say beachfront. Beachfront property is not the beach. It’s a person’s property or the hotel or whoever it might be. And the bubble, which stretches out to the beachfront part of the property. I said that. And so that was taken out of context,” said Mayor Victorino.
“And now there are these vicious rumors–guys writing letters saying that I’m going to close Kāʻanapali Beach, Fleming Beach… You know, I know it’s certain people out there that have this thing about taking anything and everything we say and try to make it into what they want it to mean, and not really what it was meant to be,” said Mayor Victorino.
“It was really meant to say that we have been working for months now looking of ways to safely and protecting our residents, which is our priority in reopening the economy. People are still looking and wanting to get back to work. And so we need to work all of these different aspects, and I’m not afraid to say that,” said Mayor Victorino noting he’s working with agriculture, technology and other industries for solutions toward job creation.
“The new normal is coming. And what it is going to be exactly, none of us really know yet, but we are working at it. We don’t want to sit on our laurels and wait until it’s all over like some people… the world doesn’t wait for you. We need to start looking for opportunities or else our people will be in another world of hurt and I don’t want to see those kinds of rates start jumping up–when you’re talking about suicides and stuff like that. I know that will come unless we give hope and really another opportunity to live here and work here,” he said.