Hawai‘i, We Are Almost There
Governor David Ige was cautiously optimistic in remarks delivered at a news briefing this afternoon. “Your hard work, sacrifices, and diligence are paying off,” the governor said. For the past ten days, the state has experienced six or fewer new cases of COVID-19. “The curve has flattened…until there is a vaccine or cure we are not out of the woods, and we still need to remain extremely vigilant,” Governor Ige emphasized. He singled out Kauai Mayor Derick Kawakami’s leadership and the people of the Garden Island for becoming the first island with no new or active cases in two weeks
Work to Relax Restrictions and Mandates Underway
With Hawai‘i’s low rate of coronavirus infections, Governor Ige says state and county leaders are looking at easing restrictions and reopening the local economy. He reiterated his earlier pledge that this will happen in phases, based on health data, science and guidance from healthcare advisors. The governor and county mayors are looking at ways to scale back mandates in a cautious, safe and coordinated manner. However, the governor warned, “Please keep in mind that there is a widespread expectation of a second wave of cases, not just here, but on the mainland and worldwide. If we start to see a surge, some of the mandates may have to be reinstated.”
Help for Self-Employed and Independent Contractors
The governor announced the launch of a new system to specifically help people are are not typically eligible for regular unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA was made available through the federal CARES Act. As it is a new program, it comes with new requirements and Governor Ige describes it as a difficult process. He said, “Hawai‘i is one of the first states to bring PUA on line. I’m pleased to announce that starting this week people can begin to submit applications for PUA relief funds.”
Additional Help for Small Businesses
Payments to businesses under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), which has brought more than $2 billion in forgivable loans to the state, will not be subject to the State General Excise Tax (GET). Governor Ige said this will help ensure that funds stay in the hands of small businesses so they can keep people on their payrolls and cover some of their operational expenses. While the state can administratively waive GET, it can’t do the same for income taxes. So in keeping with the federal stance that PPP loans are excluded from federal gross income tax, the Dept. of Taxation will be asking the Hawai‘i State Legislature to pass legislation that permits the state to conform to federal rules. This is expected to provide some relief to the more than 11,000 small businesses that have received PPP loans, with a second round of funding that started on Monday.
Lt. Governor’s Office:
Lt. Governor Proclaims, “The Curve is Flat – You Did It!”
During remarks at today’s media briefing Lt. Governor Josh Green thanked everyone in Hawai‘i for doing a great job in practicing social distancing and taking other measures which have greatly flattened the curve of new COVID-19 infections in the state. “We are sad to lose 16 of our loved ones and our hearts are with their families and friends,” Green said. He added, “Fortunately Hawai‘i is among a few states with the lowest mortality rate. The fact that we share this distrinctrion with really rural states like Wyoming, Utah, North and South Dakota, is a great sign for Hawai‘i. The Lt. Governor cautioned everyone not to become complacent, saying it is likely there will be additional deaths. While the curve has been flattened (four new cases today), people already in the hospital or have chronic conditions could still succumb to COVID-19, even as the number of cases and active disease decreases. Green, the governor’s healthcare liaison, shared the following statewide hospital numbers:
|HOSPITAL BEDS||ICU BEDS||VENTILATORS|
Department of Health:
Four Additional COVID-19 Cases Reported
Four (4) new cases of coronavirus, included three (3) O‘ahu adults and one (1) Hawai‘i resident diagnosed outside of Hawai‘i have been reported by DOH. This brings the total of COVID-19 cases in Hawai‘i to 613 since Feb. 28, 2020. As of today, 321 cases are travel-associated, 236 are community-associated, and 56 with risk factors unknown at this time.
Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, April 29, 2020
|Island of Diagnosis||New Cases||Reported since
(including new cases)
|Total Released from Isolation|
|Residents Diagnosed outside HI||1||8|
|Total released from isolation||516|
** Refers to positive cases that have an unknown county of diagnosis at the time of this report. As more information becomes available for these cases, they are assigned to the proper County of Diagnosis. A negative number indicates the number of previously unknown cases that have now been assigned to a county.
Laboratory* Testing Data
|Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories||Positive||Negative|
*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **21 test results were inconclusive.
For more tables please visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/
Maui Memorial Cluster Update
As of yesterday, there are a total of 59 COVID-19 positive cases at Maui Memorial Medical Center. DOH is continuing to monitor this cluster which includes 38 staff and 21 patients.
Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance Plan
Dept. of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson announced today that DOH is preparing to publicly release its comprehensive plan on Disease Surveillance and Investigation. The plan involves the medical community, schools, businesses, community health centers, and clinical laboratories. Anderson said, “Strengthening our contact tracing capacity will also be key in implementing effective disease containment and control of COVID-19.” DOH is using technology to help streamline the process of contacting positive cases and conducting investigations.
New Contact Tracing Digital Tool
DOH is also close to rolling out a new digital tool to follow-up with people who’ve had close contact with a positive case. People will be able to use the application to provide information on their health status and transmit the information securely to DOH. This new application has been used successfully in other states, and DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “We are looking forward to incorporating this application for disease investigation in Hawai‘i.”
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:
494 Passengers Arrive on Tuesday
Yesterday, 494 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 121 visitors and 177 residents. There was a total of 13 arriving flights. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday. The next table details interisland travel.
AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 28 2020
|Intended New Resident||6||57||63|
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
INTERISLAND AIRPORT ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES FOR APRIL 26, 2020
Department of Transportation:
Update on Pride of America
The Pride of America has reduced the number of crew on the ship to approximately 150 people. The remaining crew will sail with the ship when it departs for Oregon to enter dry dock. The scheduled departure date is anticipated for June 20. The ship has maintained communication with the Department of Health, which reports no new cases and the few symptomatic persons have tested negative for COVID-19. The ship has nearly completed two incubation periods from the last exposure. The vessel will remain docked at Pier 11 at Honolulu Harbor until it departs.
Update on Enhanced Airport Verification Process
The enhanced passenger verification process continues at Hawaiʻi airports with positive results. A Washington man flew to Honolulu without a reservation or means to pay for lodging, so he was sent back to Seattle Monday night. Another person also flew back to Seattle Tuesday. Upon landing in Hawaiʻi passengers are having their temperature taken, their contact information and reservations verified, and they must sign a document acknowledging they understand it is a criminal offense if they disobey the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine order.
Department of the Attorney General:
Four More Arrested For Quarantine Violations
A Florida man and an Illinois woman are the latest people to be arrested and charged under the State’s COVID-19 emergency rules. They were first contacted by Honolulu Police yesterday, the same day they’d checked into a Waikiki hotel. Hotel staff called police after they saw the couple returning to their room with shopping bags and take-out food in violation of the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine rule. This morning special agents from the Dept. of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division went to the hotel and arrested them. They are charged with violation of the 14-day quarantine rule and unsworn falsification to authorities.
Also, yesterday, a 60-year-old California man was observed by a witness jet-skiing off a North Shore beach. Authorities say he was supposed to be in self-quarantine at his Waialua home beginning on April 18th. Yesterday, he was seen leaving his residence and was then followed to Costco in Waipio. He was arrested by AG’s special agents as he was loading groceries into his vehicle. In addition to being charged for violating the self-quarantine rule, he is also charged with unsworn falsification to authority.
On Maui, a 34-year-old man is voluntarily returning to his home in Houston today, after being contacted by Maui Police repeatedly for violating the mandatory self-quarantine rule. An investigation revealed that the man left his hotel room late Monday and returned after midnight. The next morning when officers contacted him, he said he wasn’t aware of the mandatory self-quarantine. He said he now understood the rules and would not leave his room again. Tuesday evening police were contacted again and saw him leaving his room. He was arrested and released pending further investigation.
Hawai‘i Attorney General Clare Connors reminds all visitors and returning residents flying into Hawai‘i at this time, “It is always our hope that persons coming to our state follow our laws and respect the needs of our community. In light of the health and safety concerns presented by this pandemic, law enforcement has a zero-tolerance attitude towards anyone who violates the traveler self-quarantine rule. When we receive reports of violations, we will pursue them. We’re asking everyone flying into the state to respect the emergency rules for their own protection and for the health and well-being of all of Hawai‘i.”
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