Hawai‘i Department of Health accelerating telehealth adoption among community health centers statewide to provide care to vulnerable populations during current pandemic

HONOLULU — When COVID-19 and social distancing guidance required healthcare providers to rethink the way they delivered care, larger healthcare organizations were able to rapidly pivot to telehealth and keep pace with the rest of the nation.

But Hawai‘i’s community health centers—federally qualified health centers—needed assistance in getting up to speed to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations. Patients who receive care at these centers pay for their care on a sliding scale discount, depending upon their household incomes.

With a combined total of $670,000 from the Hawai‘i State Legislature and federal telehealth grant awards, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi Area Health Education Center and Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center, has provided the necessary policy guidance and technical support for community health centers to take advantage of new federal telehealth reimbursement policies. This has included weekly webinars on the basics of telehealth for providers.

“It has been an intensely busy time and it has been amazing to see our community partners and healthcare providers come together at such a critical time to help Hawai‘i’s families access healthcare services from home,” said Laura Arcibal, DOH telehealth and health care access coordinator.

To date, telehealth funding has been provided to:

  • HamakuaHealth Center (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • KaʻuRural Health Community Association, Inc. (a community-based nonprofit organization in Pahala on Hawai‘i Island)
  • LānaʻiCommunity Health Center (Lānaʻi)
  • Ho‘olaLāhui Hawai’i (Kauaʻi)
  • WahiawāHealth Center (Oʻahu)
  • Wai’anaeCoast Comprehensive Health Center (Oʻahu)
  • KōkuaKalihi Valley (Oʻahu)
  • University of Hawaiʻi, John A. Burns School of Medicine – Area Health Education Center

In addition to primary care, patients have been able to access behavioral health care services and COVID-19 screening via telehealth at https://hawaiicovid19.com/telehealth/

“Community healthcare providers who serve the most vulnerable populations in Hawai‘i hope telehealth can become part of the new normal to continue to efficiently deliver quality care and that the federal reimbursement policies will remain in place permanently beyond the current COVID response,” Arcibal said.

To learn more about telehealth in Hawai‘i, visit: https://hawaiicovid19.com/telehealth/.

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PDF: Hawai’i Department of Health accelerating telehealth adoption among community health centers statewide to provide care to vulnerable populations during current pandemic

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest June 1, 2020

Governor’s Office:

Mandatory Quarantine for Interisland Travel to be Lifted Effective June 16

Recognizing Hawai‘i’s national leadership in controlling the spread of COVID-19, Governor Ige announced the lifting of the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel effective two weeks from tomorrow (Tuesday, June 16, 2020). At an afternoon news briefing at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Governor Ige said, “This is an important step for everyone living in Hawai‘i. It will help reunite families and friends who have been separated due to the pandemic. And it’s an important step for the reopening of our kama‘aina economy.” The governor was joined in making the announcement by Senate President Ron Kouchi and Speaker of the House Scott Saiki. Additionally, Attorney General Clare Connors, Tim Sakahara from the Dept. of Transportation, DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, and Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO Peter Ingram were on hand to answer questions. “Lifting the quarantine is great news but flying between islands is going to be a different experience,” Governor Ige said.

Reopening Air Travel More Broadly

The next step in reopening air travel will be the lifting of the quarantine for residents and visitors traveling to Hawai‘I from out of state. Governor Ige commented, “Planning to lift the out-of-state quarantine is being done though an earnest, but careful and thoughtful process. We have seen what has happened to other communities that reopened too quickly. There have been new outbreaks. And many of our largest visitor markets, like California still have large numbers of new cases. We have to make sure that we do not experience a surge that overwhelms our healthcare capacity.” The governor said he expects to make an announcement about reopening mainland and foreign travel to the state next week. He said state leadership is exploring multiple options including only reopening initially to some travel corridors and bubbles and that screening and contact tracing are likely to be elements of the final plan. “Everyone in Hawai‘i has done a great job in coming together to flatten the curve. It’s been difficult, but you followed the mandates and I am proud of what you have achieved,” Governor Ige concluded.

 

Department of the Attorney General:

New Travel Procedures and Requirements for Interisland Travel

The Governor recognized Attorney General Clare Conners and her team and other state departments for developing plans for the complex process of reopening Neighbor Island travel. Conners indicates the new screening and tracking process will help minimize any new spread of COVID-19 and allow quick response should an outbreak occur. The key components of the new system will include thermal screening at state airports for everyone who travels between islands. Additionally, all travelers will be required to fill out a new travel form that will help health officials track and respond to new coronavirus cases. More details on what’s required will be released soon along with the new travel form.

Department of Transportation:

Detail on What Happens at the Airport When You Travel Interisland

Various state departments were involved in the process leading to today’s announcement of the reopening of interisland travel on June 16. DOT spokesperson Tim Sakahara said, “Part of that process was developing a new form that went through at least a dozen iterations. The main difference between the former arriving passenger forms is the interisland form asks for health related information.” That information will be used by the Dept. of Health in case health experts need to follow up or contact a traveler. Key points of the process include:

  • Temperature screening area (elevated temp of 100.4 degrees or greater, no fly)
  • Passenger verification before TSA checkpoints for completing of turning in forms
  • Forms collected and information verified
  • Anyone reporting symptoms to undergo additional screening and/or testing

In addition to having an elevated temperature, refusal to complete the mandatory forms or being on the traveler 14-day quarantine list will disqualify someone from flying. Forms are mandatory for all flight segments, even on the same day.

 

Office of the Lieutenant Governor:

LG Says People Should Not Be Scared to Go Out

At the afternoon news briefing Lieutenant Gov. Josh Green reiterated that Hawai‘i has done extraordinarily well the past few weeks. No new cases today, no fatalities in a month, and more than 95% of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 have now been cleared. He said he understands, that in spite of these positive statistics, many people are still reluctant to go out into public spaces. “As long as people continue to wear masks, practice good social distancing and hand hygiene, everyone should feel comfortable getting out…to their doctor’s to maintain their health, to visit friends and family in groups of fewer than 10 people and to visit their favorite local restaurants,” Green said. He added that people do need to be prepared for a likely increase in coronavirus cases in Hawai‘i over the next few weeks and months; people should not be alarmed. He remarked, “This is the nature of living with COVID-19 until we see major progress on a treatment or vaccine.”

Governor David Ige at Airport News Briefing June 1, 2020

Governor David Ige at Airport News Briefing

 

Department of Health:

Four New Cases of COVID-19 Reported Over the Weekend

Today (Monday), there were no (0) new cases of coronavirus reported in Hawai‘i. On Saturday, one (1) new case was reported; an adult from Maui. On Sunday DOH reported three (3) new COVID-19 cases: two (2) adults on O‘ahu and one (1) adult on Maui. Since Feb. 28, 2020, there have been 652 COVID-19 cases recorded in Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, June 1, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 421 398
Hawai‘i 0 81** 81
Maui 0 118 108
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total 0 652  
Total released from isolation     608
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria. ** On Saturday one Hawaii island case was removed. Retested specimen at State Lab and found to be inconclusive.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 1,500 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
48,921** 650 48,527

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **14 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

Graph of COVID-19 Epidemic Curve of Community, Travel and pending cases as of June 1, 2020

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

Continued Good Health Practices Encouraged as Hawai‘i Reopens

We are anticipating the low numbers of coronavirus cases reported over the past few weeks may go up as more and more people get out and about. Our healthcare partners have worked hard to ensure they can manage any potential surge in healthcare needs. However, everyone can help maintain the low level of COVID-19 activity in Hawaii by continuing to practice all those things that have become common over the past several months. In the “new normal,” it will be important to be aware of all our close contacts and continue to adhere to physical distancing with those outside our respective “ohana bubbles,” wearing masks especially when physical distancing is challenging, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. All these measures in combination make a positive difference.

 

Kualoa Beach Park
Kualoa Beach Park                                       
Kualoa Beach Park
Kualoa Beach Park
Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay

Watch a Hawai‘i News Now public service announcement:

https://vimeo.com/423898941/73ddf52743

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

1,469 Passengers Arrive on Sunday

Yesterday, a total of 1,469 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 391 visitors and 476 returning residents. There was a total of 16 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 6 6 154   166
Transit     101   101
Military     137   137
Exempt     88   88
Relocate to Hawai‘i 4 2 104   110
Returning Resident 29 20 427   476
Visitor 48 23 320   391
GRAND TOTAL 87 51 1,331 0 1,469
Flights 1 1 14 0 16

Monday news release:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4696/060120-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

Saturday news release:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4693/053020-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Department of the Attorney General:

Returning College Student And Visitor Arrested For Quarantine Violation

A student attending college in Hawai‘i was arrested this morning by Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General. 21-year-old Venasio Vaipulu was reported by a witness. The witness told the special agents that on May 18 Vaipulu returned from spring break aware that he was under the State’s current 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine. The witness reports Vaipulu left his designated quarantine location nearly daily.

Investigators went to the address looking for Vaipulu to learn that he had moved without informing the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) of his new residence. He was arrested on two charges; quarantine violation and unsworn falsification to authority. He was booked, charged and his bail was set at $4,000.

Last Thursday, an 18-year-old Victorville, CA woman, who arrived on O‘ahu on May 17 was arrested on the same charges. She said she’d be staying with relatives for a month. Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General report that Makayla Janay Thomas began posting her adventures on Instagram, several days after arriving at a Mililani home. Attorney General Claire Connors commented, “While everyone is anticipating the reopening of interisland travel on June 16, the quarantine rules for all visitors and returning residents from the mainland will remain in effect until further notice. We encourage all travelers to respect the mandatory quarantine, as it has been an important component in helping Hawai‘i have the best metrics in the country, in terms of infection and coronavirus death rates.”

Read the full news release here: https://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/latest-news/hawaii-covid-19-joint-information-center-news-release-two-more-arrested-for-quarantine-violations-june-1-2020/

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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest June 1, 2020

College student arrested for quarantine violation

Visitor Also Arrested Last Week

HONOLULU – A student attending college in Hawaii was arrested this morning by Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General. 21-year-old Venasio Vaipulu was reported by a witness.

The witness told the special agents that on May 18, Vaipulu returned from spring break aware that he was under the States current 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine. The witness reports Vaipulu left his designated quarantine location nearly daily.

Investigators went to the address looking for Vaipulu to learn that he had moved without informing the state of his new residence. He was arrested on two charges: a self-quarantine violation and unsworn falsification to authority. He was booked, charged and his bail was set at $4,000.

Last Thursday, an 18-year-old Victorville, CA woman, who arrived on O‘ahu on May 17 was arrested on the same charges. She said she’d be staying with relatives for a month. Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General report that Makayla Janay Thomas began posting her adventures on Instagram, several days after arriving at a Mililani home.

They say her social media postings showed her and local acquaintances going to various beaches, shopping centers, and local eateries. As with some previous quarantine violation cases, a local community group monitoring social media alerted the special agents.

Agents went to where Thomas was staying and arrested her on charges of violating the mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine and for unsworn falsification to authority. She was booked and charged, and her bail was set at $2,000.

Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “Pursuant to the Governor’s Act with Care order, we ask everyone moving about in our state to comply with the rules and directives in place to keep people safe. The travel self-quarantine order is based on public health guidance, and as we anticipate the reopening of interisland travel on June 16, it is important to note that the quarantine rules for all travelers from the mainland will remain in effect until further notice. We encourage all residents and visitors to respect the mandatory self-quarantine, as it has contributed to the low infection and death rates in Hawai‘i.”

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PDF: Two More Arrested for Quarantine Violations

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 29, 2020

Department of Health:

Three New Cases of COVID-19 on O‘ahu

DOH reports three (3) new COVID-19 cases. Two (2) are adults and one (1) is a minor and all are from O‘ahu. Please note that the total case count only rises by two, as one O‘ahu case was removed after a presumptive positive specimen was retested and was ultimately negative.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 29, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 3 419 397
Hawai‘i 0 82 82
Maui 0 116 105
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total 3 649  
Total released from isolation     605
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 933 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
47,421** 647 46,760

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **14 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

Bar graph of Community Associated Cases of COVID-19 Epidemic Curve as of May 29, 2020

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

Most Hawai‘i Residents Recognize COVID-19 as a Serious Concern

According to a statewide survey recently commissioned by DOH, the majority of Hawai‘i residents—93 percent—consider COVID-19 to be a very serious or somewhat serious health concern. 75% believe it poses a real danger or threat to themselves or others living in their household. However, only 44% of respondents say they are practicing social distancing guidelines “all of the time” suggested by government officials and healthcare professionals.

The 25% of respondents who say they do not feel threatened by COVID-19 cited reasons for their belief: They’re following CDC guidelines, believe they are healthy and unlikely to get sick, do not venture outside their homes much, or do not trust reports about the severity of the disease. There were notable differences in perceptions between the neighbor islands and O‘ahu, with 81% of neighbor islanders saying they consider COVID-19 to be a very serious concern, versus 69% of O‘ahu residents surveyed.

“The findings provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of our efforts to educate our community about the disease. This is especially important as we begin to reopen parks, businesses and other places where people congregate,” said Bruce Anderson, Director of Health. “For our state to fully reopen and start the road to economic recovery, all of our residents must recognize the seriousness of the pandemic and be willing to make necessary lifestyle changes to prevent a second wave of increased cases.”

Public service announcements can be viewed at HawaiiCOVID19.com/Resources.

View the Executive Summary of the survey here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckrxq0qjtfcxefn/Executive%20Summary_DOH%20COVID%20Survey.pdf?dl=0

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

1,031 Passengers Arrive on Thursday

Yesterday marked nine weeks since the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, a total of 1,031 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 300 visitors and 316 returning residents. There was a total of 15 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 4 136   140
Transit     54   54
Military     114   114
Exempt     39   39
Relocate to Hawai‘i 2 66   68
Returning Resident 18 298   316
Visitor 20 280   300
GRAND TOTAL 44 0 987 0 1,031
Flights 2 0 13 0 15

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4686/052920-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Department of Public Safety:

PSD Population Report

From March 2 to May 29 there has been a 708-person reduction in the jail population across the state. These reductions are due to the huge, up-front diversion efforts made by county police departments, PSD’s Intake Services Center Division and the State Judiciary. More recent, additional reductions are due to the collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley. The prison population has also seen a 100-person decrease.

https://dps.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/RELEASE-PSD-COVID-19-updates-5.29.20.pdf

 

Department of Human Services:

Med-QUEST to Issue New Request for Proposal for Managed Care Organizations

DHS announced Friday that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Med-QUEST is rescinding the contract awards made to managed care organizations in January, canceling the request for proposal (RFP) released August 2019, and will be issuing a new RFP this fall to address the evolving needs of the community amid this public health crisis. Judy Mohr Peterson, administrator of the Department of Human Service’s Med-QUEST Division said, “The needs of our community have dramatically changed just within the past few months. The impact of the coronavirus caused us to take a new look at how to address the emerging needs of our growing Medicaid population and modify the requirements of the RFP to reflect this new reality we are all facing. We are grateful to the health plans who submitted proposals in 2019 and look forward to receiving new proposals that respond to this new environment.”

Since March 4, 2020, Med-QUEST enrolled over 24,000 additional beneficiaries, an increase of over 7.5 percent in total enrollment in less than three full months. The number of new applicants is expected to climb even higher as many face unemployment. The resulting Medicaid enrollment numbers are likely to remain high until Hawaiʻi’s economic recovery begins and there is a return to pre-pandemic employment levels. Based on the RFP issued back in August 2019, Med-QUEST announced in late January that it had awarded contracts to four health plans: Hawaii Medical Services Association and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan to serve Medicaid beneficiaries on all the islands, and to AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan to serve Medicaid beneficiaries on O‘ahu. Those contracts were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2020. However, Med-QUEST previously announced postponement of the effective contract date to devote internal resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to avoid placing any added stress and confusion on the part of beneficiaries during a challenging time. Existing contracts with all health plans shall be extended until the new contract awards are made.

 

Department of Transportation:

DOT Makes New Storm Patrol Keiki Activities Available Online

The DOT is making new Storm Water Hawai‘i activities available online to help parents engage their keiki at home. Kids can join the Hawai‘i Storm Patrol and earn their official, printable badge by participating in a variety of fun, interactive activities. Each year, the Storm Patrol team distributes more than 13,000 books and badges to all 1st grade classrooms on O‘ahu. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, the annual distribution was delivered to private and public schools, and while keiki won’t be able to enjoy them in school, they can now download the books to enjoy at home. Parents can also download a variety of worksheets to keep their keiki busy and learning. For teachers who are looking for new content to add to their curriculum for the next school year, the Storm Patrol teachers guide and resources are easy to download and share. To visit the webpage: https://www.stormwaterhawaii.com/hawaiistormpatrol/

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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 29, 2020

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 28, 2020

Governor’s Office:

Community Connection on Facebook Live Held with Four County Mayors

Gov. Ige was joined by all four county mayors during today’s Community Connection session to discuss the reopening of businesses and activities in the state and counties. The leaders of the state answered public and media questions on what residents could expect in the coming weeks and months as Hawai‘i continues its fight against COVID-19. Viewers asked where and when pools would reopen, when camping will be allowed, and wanted updates on summer programs, and more. The mayors emphasized that their goal is to keep the community safe. City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell pointed out, “There’s no playbook for this pandemic. It’s not like a tsunami where we go through this repeatedly. We are learning how to deal with it.” They also stressed they’ve been talking to each other from the very beginning to share what they’re doing and looking at best practices.

During the session Gov. Ige mentioned that the 14-day quarantine would be extended for domestic and international travelers past June 30, but would make an official announcement at a later date. Gov. Ige also mentioned that he and all four mayors have been working for the last three weeks to coordinate reopening interisland travel and said they would make a decision on that within the next few days. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said they’re still working out details and that there needs to be a “strong-checked” system whenever travelers leave their destination.

 

Department of Health:

Three New Cases of COVID-19 on O‘ahu

DOH reports three (3) adults are the latest people to test positive for COVID-19. All are Hawai‘i residents and all were diagnosed in Honolulu. Two of the cases are from community spread, and the risk factor for the third person is unknown at this time.

Low Case Counts Don’t Predict the Future

As the state moves forward with opening businesses and activities, it is expected that more positive cases will be reported. COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and it’s likely there will always be cases in the state. It remains critical for everyone to care for one another and keep up social distancing, handwashing, wearing a facial covering, and other prevention measures to protect those who are at risk and to keep the number of cases down. Only by working together can we control the spread of illness in the state.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 28, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 3 417 397
Hawai‘i 0 82 81
Maui 0 116 106
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total 0 647  
Total released from isolation     603
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 742 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
46,488** 645 45,828

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **15 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

Bar graph showing Hawai'i's COVID-19 Epidemic Curve updated May 28, 2020

For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/

 

Department of Transportation:

“Act With Care” Update on Driver’s License, State ID

The DOT is working with the governor’s office to provide a blanket extension for all driver’s licenses, State identification cards, and instruction permits to the end of September to reduce the need for people to gather at driver’s licensing centers. This extension will be added to a future supplementary proclamation. Gov. Ige said, “Thanks to the actions of the majority of our residents, Hawai‘i is one of the best-performing states in the country in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain grateful and cautious as we move towards recovery. Providing an additional extension of credentials will allow our county DMVs to address the backlog that developed over this emergency period while keeping our public servants and community members safe.” As an added note, expired driver’s licenses or State IDs that expired on or after March 1, 2020, can be used at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints for up to one year after the card’s expiration. According to the TSA: “If your driver’s license of state-issued ID expired on or after March 1, 2020, and you are unable to renew at your state driver’s license agency, you may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID a year after expiration.”

https://hidot.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/05/28/act-with-care-update-on-drivers-license-state-id/

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

Hawai‘i Visitor Statistics Released for April 2020

In April 2020, visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands decreased 99.5 percent compared to a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. A total of 4,564 visitors traveled to Hawai‘i by air service last month compared to 856,250 total visitors (by air and cruise ships) during the same period a year ago. To view the full report:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4678/april-2020-visitor-statistics-press-release-final.pdf

1,129 Passengers Arrive on Wednesday

Today marked nine weeks since the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, a total of 1,129 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 311 visitors and 398 returning residents. There was a total of 15 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 7 129 8 144
Transit     44   44
Military     92   92
Exempt     65   65
Relocate to Hawai‘i   4 69 2 75
Returning Resident   33 358 7 398
Visitor   16 272 23 311
GRAND TOTAL 0 60 1,029 40 1,129
Flights 0 1 12 2 15

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4679/052820-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Hawai‘i State Senate:

Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 Meets to Discuss Tourism Recovery 

The Hawai‘i State Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 held a hearing Thursday to discuss the tourism recovery plan. Members of the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative presented a plan to create a task force to establish a travel bubble corridor. The corridor is for travel by two regions, both of which contained the virus, and who agree to a quarantine-free travel zone. All meetings are livestreamed.

http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13

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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 28, 2020

Stepping Up for Youth Mental Health

How one Hawaii couple has taken care of its family’s mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.

Daneen Sandry with child drawing chalk on concrete near grass
Therapeutic foster parent Daneen Sandry with one of her youth.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed that nearly half of all Americans believe the coronavirus crisis is causing harm to their mental health. Here in Hawaii, mental health providers across the islands have been working especially hard throughout the pandemic to protect the well-being of their clients and communities.

The past three months of living with COVID-19 have inspired some Hawaii residents to step up for mental-health awareness. Daneen Sandry and her husband Rick are two of these unsung heroes. Over the past seven years, the Sandrys have served as therapeutic foster parents for many young people between the ages of three and 21 with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Daneen found her passion for becoming a foster parent over the course of 25 years of work with the Hawaii State Department of Education where she met many youth in foster care. Her current work with Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Na ‘Ohana Pulama program (CCH-NOP) offers Daneen yet another outlet to help local youth in foster care. The treatment program provides short-term therapeutic foster care for youth having difficulty functioning in their everyday lives at home, at school and in their communities due to emotional and behavioral challenges.  CCH-NOP is a Department of Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division (CAMHD) provider offering Transitional Family Homes on Oahu and the Big Island.

Rick is the varsity soccer head coach at Saint Louis School, and has served as a coach in several youth sports.

The Sandrys work together to firmly advocate for their youth and their interests, and coordinate services for their educational and medical needs. We asked Daneen to reflect on her mental-health work with Hawaii youth during the COVID-19 crisis.

What has ignited your passion over the course of this pandemic?

Daneen: This crisis gave me more time to bond and just hang out with my youth with no distractions. Seeing their gains in development, whether big or small, is very rewarding. I discovered information from them that I probably wouldn’t have. I hope this time together has let them feel loved and safe in my home.

How do you believe behavioral health services will change in your daily life as COVID-19 restrictions are lessened?

Daneen: It was interesting to me that they were able to sit and focus on services virtually. It’s good to know that these virtual services will still be available if they are not able to make it to services in person.

Can you share a behavioral health success story you’ve heard about during this crisis or share one from your own experiences?

Daneen: I’ve experienced many success stories. I experienced seeing one of my youth graduate from high school. One who had never played football made the high school football team and another reunited with [his/her] biological family.

How do you practice self-care?

Daneen: I love spending time with my family and talking on the phone with my sisters. When everyone is tucked away in bed, you can find me binging on Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime. A good massage and pedicure will always rejuvenate me. Being forced to stay at home has given me more time to cook and have many meals together with my family.

The Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group (BHHSURG) is grateful to Daneen and Rick Sandry for their efforts to protect the mental health of young people in our communities.

For more stories like the Sandry’s, or more information on behavioral health and homelessness services in Hawaii, visit the BHHSURG website at http://bhhsurg.hawaii.gov/ or follow @BHHSURG on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 27, 2020

Department of Health:

One New Case of COVID-19 Reported

One (1) Hawai‘i island adult has tested positive for coronavirus according to the latest count from DOH. The new case comes after three consecutive days of zero (0) positive cases.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 27, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 414 394
Hawai‘i 1 82 81
Maui 0 116 104
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total 1 644  
Total released from isolation     600
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 518 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
45,746** 642 45,089

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **15 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

Bar graph showing Hawai'i's COVID-19 Epidemic Curve updated May 27, 2020

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

Vacation Rental Performance Report Released

HTA released its monthly Vacation Rental Performance Report Wednesday, and the supply of vacation rentals in Hawai‘i last month was down 62.2 percent, and unit demand was down 97.4 percent compared to the same time last year. On April 7, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that short-term rentals may not operate during this emergency period. The other mayors followed with similar orders, and vacation rentals are not on the state’s list of essential businesses. To view the whole report:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4627/hta-april-2020-hawaii-vacation-rental-performance.pdf

869 Passengers Arrive on Tuesday

Yesterday, a total of 869 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 235 visitors and 322 returning residents. There was a total of 14 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 2 110   112
Transit     58   58
Military     52   52
Exempt     44   44
Relocate to Hawai‘i 2 44   46
Returning Resident 15 307   322
Visitor 19 216   235
GRAND TOTAL 38 0 831 0 869
Flights 1 0 13 0 14

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4628/052720-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

Reporting by DBEDT of interisland passenger numbers is currently experiencing an 11-day lag, as recently implemented traveler forms are being processed. Those numbers will be included as they become more current.

 

Department of Transportation:

New FAQ Section Added to DOT Coronavirus Webpage

The DOT has created a new Frequently Asked Questions section regarding the mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine and airline passenger verification process to help inform the public. Agencies that receive inquiries from the community are also invited to share the information as needed. To access the DOT Coronavirus webpage: https://hidot.hawaii.gov/coronavirus/

 

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:

State Monitoring for Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims

DLIR announced Wednesday it’s monitoring for fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Multiple states have been victimized by fraudulent claims filed in recent weeks as part of a nationwide scam organized by a cybercrime gang that is believed to have obtained personal information through previous nationwide data breaches. The U.S. Secret Service issued a national alert about this international crime ring committing fraud against state unemployment programs on May 14, 2020. DLIR Director Scott Murakami said, “We are working with our federal, state and local partners to investigate and prevent fraud, while paying benefits to claimants as quickly as possible.” The department was alerted that potentially fake claims may be filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information, however, no personal information from claimants have been stolen from the department. The department uses program integrity measures to prevent and identify fraud and is currently coordinating with the Hawaii Bankers Association to identify suspicious accounts.

http://labor.hawaii.gov/blog/news/5453/

# # #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 27, 2020

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 26, 2020

Governor’s Office:

Three Days – Zero Cases

During an afternoon news briefing Gov. David Ige called the Memorial Day weekend, “A great weekend in the fight against COVID-19. Including today, we have had three days in a row with no new cases. Zero.” He thanked everyone for their efforts which have resulted in Hawai‘i leading the nation in controlling the coronavirus outbreak. The governor again encouraged people to continue practicing our now common measures like face covering and social distancing, especially as more and more of the economy is reopening. “It must be done in a careful manner so we can continue to protect your health and the health of your families and neighbors.”

Governor Thanks Residents for Successes

Gov. Ige once again thanked the people of Hawaiʻi for acting responsibly to flatten the curve. He said, “It is important to remember that we will keep the virus under control through personal responsibility … it’s about your own actions. This weekend, most of you enjoyed the holiday in the right way. Small gatherings. Physical distancing. Wearing your masks.” He acknowledged that there was at least one large gathering at Ka‘ena Point State Park and said “…we have sacrificed too much to have the health of our community threatened by the actions of a few, inconsiderate people.”

Update on Re-openings Including Travel and Tourism

The re-opening of Hawaiʻi is moving forward. Stores are re-opening. People can go to the beach and some parks. Some services and other businesses have re-started. Gov. Ige said he expects to announce the end of the inter-island travel quarantine very soon. He added, “And we are finalizing the plans to re-open tourism. Gov. Ige reminded everyone that we need to keep up our health best practices by maintaining social distancing, washing our hands, wearing our masks, staying home if sick and avoiding large gatherings. The governor concluded, “We came together as a community to fight the virus. And we still need to work together to remain safe.”

 

Department of Human Services:

Focus on Childcare

As parents return to work many of them are worried about having safe places for their children. Governor Ige said, “Without a safe place for their children, many people will have a hard time returning to their work.”

Alan Oshima, Economic Recovery and Resiliency Navigator, said that “childcare is a key component to allow employees to return to work with peace of mind, knowing their child is being cared for while they are working.” He said the guidelines being released today by the Dept. of Human Services (DHS) represent a collaborative effort and incorporate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

New guidelines for Hawai‘i childcare facilities will utilize all available public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawai‘i Department of Health. The goal is to minimize the risk to children, staff, and families when resuming or continuing childcare operations. Every child-care facility and home that continues to operate or re-opens is required to establish and follow written operational policies that address the guidelines consistent with Governor Ige’s 8th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation. Minimizing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus to children in care depends on every facility and home consistently applying these public health practices. The Guidelines for Child Care Facilities that cover public health measures include detailed reference material that will enable child care centers to effectively implement the new guidance with protocols for the following:

  • Cleaning, sanitation and safety measures
  • Child and parent expectations
  • Employee support
  • Physical distancing (limit to childcare groups of 9:1, room dividers, staggered meal times)
  • Health & safety (temperature checks, face masks, etc.)
  • Facility safety (ventilation system, trained back-up staff, communication protocols, etc.)

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

Additional Contract Opportunities

DHS is also announcing contract opportunities for childcare facilities as well as requests for proposals for childcare providers. These opportunities will support families and provide an injection of funds to help Hawaii’s economy. Eligible child care providers may now apply for $11.9 million of additional federal funds to increase the safety and protect the health of children in their care. DHS has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Emergency Child Care Services and will award contracts to eligible providers to cover cleaning and sanitation of the child care facility or home or other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of the child care, including health and safety measures for the facility, health and safety measures for the child in care and for staff or caregivers.  All licensed and registered child care facilities and homes, as well as organizations contracted by the Department of Education (DOE) to operate A+ sites at elementary school campuses, are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020.

https://humanservices.hawaii.gov/provider-vendor-covid-19-information/

 

Department of Health:

Third Day of No New Cases of COVID-19

Today is the third consecutive day that Hawai‘i has reported no new coronavirus cases. A weekend issue with electronic lab reporting (ELR) has been fixed and has not affected any data.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 26, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 414 389
Hawai‘i 0 81 79
Maui 0 116 104
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10  
Unknown 0 0  
Total 0 643  
Total released from isolation     593
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria.

Laboratory* Testing Data

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
45,228** 641 44,572

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **15 test results were inconclusive

Graph of Community Associated and Unknown COVID-19 Cases as of May 25, 2020

Hawaiicovid19.com

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

Hotel Revenues Down Dramatically

Hawai‘i hotels across the state reported dramatic declines in revenue per available room (RevPAR), average daily rate (ADR), and occupancy last month compared to April 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, statewide RevPAR in April 2020 decreased to $12 (-94.5%), ADR fell to $131 (-51.8%), and occupancy declined to 8.9 percent (-69.0 percentage points).

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4618/hawaii-hotel-performance-04-2020.pdf

1,028 Passengers Arrive on Monday

Yesterday, a total of 1,028 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 259 visitors and 381 returning residents. There was a total of 14 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday, but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR MONDAY, MAY 26, 2020

  KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 3 6 136   145
Transit     66   66
Military     43   43
Exempt     54   54
Relocate to Hawai‘i   8 72   80
Returning Resident   34 347   381
Visitor   40 219   259
GRAND TOTAL 3 88 937 0 1,028
Flights 1 1 12 0 14

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4620/052620-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

Reporting by DBEDT of interisland passenger numbers is currently experiencing an 11-day lag, as recently implemented traveler forms are being processed. Those numbers will be included as they become more current.

# # #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 26, 2020

Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 23-25, 2020

Department of Health:

Only One New Case of COVID-19 Reported Over Memorial Day Weekend

On Saturday, DOH reported one (1) new case of coronavirus on Maui. On Sunday and Monday there have been no new cases.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 25, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since

2/28/2020

(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 0 414 389
Hawai‘i 0 81 79
Maui 0 116 103
Kaua‘i 0 20 19
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10
Unknown 0 0
Total 0 643
Total released from isolation     592
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria.

Laboratory* Testing Data

Today’s tables are updated based on investigation data only. There has been a temporary interruption in the electronic laboratory reporting, which affects the receipt of negative test result numbers and laboratory testing data cannot be updated. IT staff are reviewing the issue.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
44,523** 641 43,867

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting

**15 test results were inconclusive

Hawaiicovid19.com

Guidance for Restaurants, Retail Food Markets And Food Manufacturers
DOH has developed detailed guidance on safe practices and recommendations for reopening Hawai‘i’s food sector. During this initial recovery stage, the health department urges restaurants to act with care and continue to meticulously follow safe practices. Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health said, “We encourage food operators to promote good hygiene practices by ensuring adequate supplies of soap, individual disposable towels, and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol for employees and customers. Any employee who exhibits signs of illness should not be allowed to report to work.” At a minimum, customers are required to wear a cloth face covering when moving through a food establishment or while waiting for a pick-up order, and their masks may be removed only while eating.

In addition these additional stipulations for dine-in service:

  • No more than 50 percent or half of the total seating capacity should be available for dining-in use.
  • Dining tables at least six feet apart for indoors and outdoors. (Outdoor seating does not count toward the total seating capacity.)
  • Restaurants are encouraged to require reservations for dine-in service for greater control of customer volume.
  • Consider allowing customers to pre-order while making reservations to decrease the length of time they are in the establishment.
  • Maximum of six customers, not living in the same household, per group per table, with a maximum of 10 customers, living in the same household, per group per table.
  • No self-service salad bar or buffet.
  • Restaurants should also post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted in the restaurant.

As the state moves toward the next phase of recovery, the health department plans to increase the recommended dining capacity for restaurants to 75 percent of total seating capacity while keeping dining tables at least six feet apart. DOH also issued guidance for retail food markets, limiting the number of people in a facility up to 50 percent of fire code occupancy and maintaining a minimum of six feet between individuals. In the next phase, the recommended number of people in a retail food market increases to up to 75 percent of fire code occupancy, while continuing to maintain a minimum of six feet between individuals. The health department is continuously monitoring and evaluating conditions.

For a complete list of requirements for restaurants, retail food markets and food processors and manufacturers in the State Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience: Guidance for Reopening the Food Service Sector (PDF), DOH Food Safety Branch: health.hawaii.gov/san/, and DOH Food and Drug Branch: health.hawaii.gov/food-drug.

 

Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism:

Hawaii May See Double Digit Economic Downturn In 2020

Hawai‘i is one of the hardest hit states economically, but it is one of the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic. DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said, “While our economy will not recover overnight, Hawai‘i is well positioned because of our strong human will, innovative spirit and physical infrastructure. We are well positioned to go beyond recovery and evolve into a more balanced and diversified economy.” On Friday DBEDT released its second quarter 2020 Statistical and Economic Report today. The department projects Hawai‘i’s economic growth will fall by 12.1 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial unemployment claims started to surge during the week of March 16, and totaled 232,893, as of the end of May 16, 2020, increasing 2,081 percent from the same period a year earlier.

After declining 53.7 percent in March, the number of visitor arrivals was only 3,565 in the full month of April, while the average daily visitor arrivals in 2019 was 28,562. During the first 21 days of May, visitor arrivals to the state totaled 5,397, the daily visitor count (257 per day) now is more than double the April daily count (120 per day). Most businesses surveyed had applied for some type of federal financial assistance, but half of businesses had not received assistance when they were surveyed. The first week of the survey corresponded with the opening of the second wave of federal funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). Businesses that did not get their applications submitted in time for the first round of funding were eligible to have their applications reviewed during the second round, which is still ongoing. The report is based on certain assumptions. Since the global COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying tourism shutdown are unprecedented, Hawai‘i’s economic forecast cannot be generated using past trends; however, basic relationships between economic variables remain unchanged, such as the relationship between job count and unemployment, personal income and GDP. Due to the government assistance programs, there will be a significant increase in personal transfer receipts from the federal government, which consists of income payments to households in which no current services are performed. The federal assistance will be reflected in household spending. Based on these assumptions:

  • DBEDT projects that Hawai‘i’s economic growth rate, as measured by the real gross domestic product GDP), will drop by 12.1 percent in 2020, then will increase at 0.7 percent in 2021, 0.6 percent in 2022 and 1.1 percent in 2023.
  • Hawai‘i will welcome 3.4 million visitors in 2020, a decrease of 67.5 percent from the 2019 level.
  • Visitor arrivals will increase to 6.2 million in 2021, 8.3 million in 2022, and 9.4 million in 2023.
  • Visitor arrivals will not reach the 2019 level until 2025, based on the assumptions. Visitor spending will decrease more during the next few years due to the decrease in daily spending.

For the full release: http://dbedt.hawaii.gov/blog/20-09/

 

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

966 Passengers Arrive on Sunday

Yesterday, a total of 966 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 253 visitors and 362 returning residents. There was a total of 15 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday but does not show interisland travel.

AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2020

KONA MAUI O‘AHU LĪHUʻE TOTAL
Crew 4 7 111 122
Transit 54 54
Military 39 39
Exempt 60 60
Relocate to Hawai‘i 2 1 73 76
Returning Resident 31 33 298 362
Visitor 36 17 200 253
GRAND TOTAL 73 58 835 0 966
Flights 2 1 12 0 15

Monday news release:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4616/052520-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

Sunday news release:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4615/052420-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

Saturday news release:

https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/4613/052320-passenger-count-press-release.pdf

 

Department of the Attorney General:

Special Agents Arrest Two More Quarantine Violators

Social media postings again helped lead to the arrests of two men, on Friday afternoon, accused of violating the State’s 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine rules. Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General arrested 20-year-old Artyon Zhiryada of Happy Valley, OR and 19-year-old Dan Vlasenko of Vancouver, WA as they were leaving a condominium on Lewers Street in Waikiki. In addition to facing quarantine violation charges, Zhiryada faces an additional charge of Cruelty to Animals. Agents say he posted a video, among others, showing him shooting a feral chicken with a spear gun in an area parking lot. They say the pair arrived in Honolulu last Saturday, indicating they were staying at a friend’s condo. They immediately began breaking quarantine requirements and “showed off their escapades by posting their adventures on social media sites as they traveled to various locations around Honolulu.” Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We appreciate the assistance of those who reported these social media postings to us. Our special agents have arrested 15 quarantine violators in recent weeks and county police departments have arrested additional suspects. Once again, we must warn residents who return, and visitors who come to Hawai‘i, that they will face consequences for violating our COVID-19 emergency rules. Please do the right thing and if you cannot abide by the 14-day quarantine, postpone your trip to the Aloha State until the quarantine ends, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else.”

 

Department of Land and Natural Resources:

Hundreds of People Violate Emergency Rules at Huge Beach Gathering

Late Sunday night, into the wee hours of Memorial Day, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and the Honolulu Police Dept. worked to clear an estimated 200 people from a beach at the Mokuleia section of Ka‘ena State Park on O‘ahu’s North Shore. Witnesses report the crowd was even bigger earlier in the evening.

Three DOCARE officers, joined by five HPD officers, spent the next 4 ½ hours directing partiers to clean up their messes and to leave the area. Saturday morning DOCARE officers cleaned up trash and pallets used to fuel giant bon fires the night before. Open fires on Hawai‘i beaches are illegal. Participants were also in violation of COVID-19 Emergency Rules, as well as not having permits for large gatherings in a state park. Saturday and Sunday night’s parties were promoted on social media. Last night, due to the size of the crowd and the small law enforcement contingent, the goal was to disperse the crowd and get their messes cleaned up. Officers report that most people were compliant, but there were a couple of “knuckleheads,” who wanted to argue and push their luck. No citations were issued, however.

DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “This is exactly the kind of bad and selfish behavior we’ve all been asked repeatedly not to engage in during this emergency. It’s unfortunate, that at least in the case of the Sunday night party, many of the participants appear to be from surrounding military bases. This is a day when we remember the sacrifices of the men and women who’ve given their lives in defense of our country and its disappointing that the urge to socialize and party, at this given time, overrides any obligation to duty and common sense.”

Read the full release: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/05/25/nr20-071/

# # #

PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 23-25, 2020

Special agents arrest two more quarantine violators

One Faces Additional Charge of Animal Cruelty

HONOLULU – Social media postings again helped lead to the arrests of two men, on Friday afternoon, accused of violating the State’s 14-day mandatory traveler quarantine rules.

Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Department of the Attorney General arrested 20-year-old Artyon Zhiryada of Happy Valley, OR and 19-year-old Dan Vlasenko of Vancouver, WA as they were leaving a condominium on Lewers Street in Waikiki.

In addition to facing quarantine violation charges, Zhiryada faces an additional charge of Cruelty to Animals. Agents say he posted a video, among others, showing him shooting a feral chicken with a spear gun in an area parking lot. They say the pair arrived in Honolulu last Saturday, indicating they were staying at a friend’s condo. They immediately began breaking quarantine requirements and “showed off their escapades by posting their adventures on social media sites as they traveled to various locations around Honolulu.”

Both men were booked and charged and have been unable to post bail at this time. For Zhiryada, bail is set at $4,500 and for Vlasenko it is $4,000.

Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “We appreciate the assistance of those who reported these social media postings to us. Our special agents have arrested 15 quarantine violators in recent weeks and county police departments have arrested additional suspects. Once again, we must warn residents who return, and visitors who come to Hawai‘i, that they will face consequences for violating our COVID-19 emergency rules. Please do the right thing and if you cannot abide by the 14-day quarantine, postpone your trip to the Aloha State until the quarantine ends, for your own safety and the safety of everyone else.”

# # #

PDF: Special Agents Arrest Two More Quarantine Violators

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