Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 13, 2020

From the Governor’s Office:

Safer-at-Home Means Keeping the Curve Flat

This is the second week since Governor Ige issued the Safer-At-Home order and at an afternoon media briefing he said he is pleased the cases reported today continue to remain low. With only three new cases today, Hawai‘i is one of the safest states in the nation in the fight against COVID-19. In addition to the low number of new cases, Hawai’i has achieved some other key metrics, permitting the re-opening of specific sectors of our economy.

With Mall and Retail Reopening’s Governor Encourages Continued Vigilance

On Friday, many retail stores and shopping malls on O‘ahu can reopen under the Safer-At-Home order—joining retailers and malls that have already opened on the neighbor islands.

Today, Governor Ige encouraged residents to shop at the newly opened stores and malls, but to please remain vigilant. Ige commented, “Please follow social distancing requirements at malls and stores. Avoid congregating and gathering in large groups. And please wear your face masks. Remember that malls are not places to loiter. Please make your purchases and head home where it is safer.”

Millions in Federal Funding to Hawai‘i for Contact Tracing

Governor Ige is thanking Hawai‘i’s congressional delegation for securing $50 million in federal funding to pay for contact tracing. The governor said, “They have been working tirelessly to help the people of Hawaiʻi in the fight against this pandemic. And this grant will go a long way in covering the cost of training and responding to a future surge.” (See DOH & UH items below)

Read the news release from Senator Brian Schatz: https://www.schatz.senate.gov/press-releases/hawaii-receiving-50-million-in-new-federal-funding-to-ramp-up-covid-19-contact-tracing


Lieutenant Governor’s Office:

Lt. Gov. Green Proposes “Travel with Aloha” Program

As the state looks toward the eventual reopening of air travel to and around the state, Lt. Governor Josh Green proposed a program, he is calling, “Travel with Aloha,” at this afternoon’s media briefing. He believes such a program will help the state mitigate possible importation of coronavirus from traveling visitors and residents. A key component of Green’s proposal is having visitors and returning residents voluntarily getting COVID-19 tests within 72-hours of their departure to the islands. People who decline to get tested would undergo additional testing and screening upon arrival at State airports. Green said, “This could cut several hours from their vacation or return home and they could be required to undergo a possible 14-day mandatory quarantine.” He added, “It’s imperative we do everything we can to safeguard our state from importing coronavirus through travel, while maintaining our community’s aloha for visitors.”

Report on Statewide Hospital Bed Capacity

During today’s COVID-19 news briefing, Lt. Gov. Green also noted a Harvard Global Health Institute study that announced Hawai‘i is among nine states that have exceeded testing minimums necessary for reopening. Supporting this study, he said if there were a large number of positive cases that have not been detected or reported, we would see more COVID-19 positive patients in our healthcare system. “We are still doing great, in terms of our hospital capacity,” Green commented. Across the state, 54% of all hospital beds are in use, 43% of intensive care unit beds are occupied, and ventilator use is only at 12%. He is encouraging people to get medical treatment if needed and to not fear hospitalization. For more on the Harvard/NPR study: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/07/851610771/u-s-coronavirus-testing-still-falls-short-hows-your-state-doing


Department of Health:

Three New Cases of COVID-19 Reported

There are three (3) new cases of coronavirus being reported today by the DOH. All of the cases are on O‘ahu, one is an adult and the two others are minors. Both minors are members of a family cluster that DOH has been monitoring. The adult case continues to be under investigation.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 13, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since


(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation*
O‘ahu 3 414 376
Hawai‘i 0 75 75
Maui 0 115 90
Kaua‘i 0 21 20
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 11
Unknown 0 0
Total 3 638
Total released from isolation     563
Deaths 0 17  

* Includes cases that meet isolation release criteria. Cases that have died and one case that left the jurisdiction have been removed from these counts.

Laboratory* Testing Data

There were 391 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.

Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories Positive Negative
37,436** 636 36,780

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **20 test results were inconclusive.

Bar Graph of COVID-19 Cases by Exposure as of May 12, 2020

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

Contact Tracing and Testing Capacity

DOH is working on a plan to rapidly increase testing and contact tracing capacity. As more businesses open back up, this will be necessary to detect and respond to any increase in new cases. An important part of the contact tracing plan is ensuring adequate numbers of people who are well trained. DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson has put together a partnership with the University of Hawai‘i for a program which will train 300 more contract tracers who can be mobilized in case of a surge. This is in addition to the more than 80 contract tracers already available. At Wednesday’s news briefing UH President David Lassner provided an update on the university’s role in the contact tracing program. (See item below)

DOH Reiterates Continued Need for Vigilance During Safer-at-Home Phase

Complacency is a serious concern as reports of fewer cases inadvertently signals less urgency. Informal gatherings are being observed and people are doing less social distancing, and everyone is not wearing a mask. Any success we are seeing now will backslide if everyone in our communities does not comply with staying at home, social distancing, mask-wearing, and other measures to keep the spread of coronavirus controlled. State legislators are urged to remind their constituents that maintaining community efforts and sacrifices will allow us to reopen the state. Not complying will likely create a second wave of COVID-19 and delay reopening businesses and resumption of travel.


University of Hawai‘i

Leveraging Expertise for Contract Tracing

As Governor Ige announced, a one-year, $2.5 million program, forged as a partnership between the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division and UH’s UHealthy Hawaiʻi Initiative will leverage UH faculty expertise and existing courses across the 10-campus system to quickly develop content for contact tracing training. The plan is to then train the approximately 300 contact tracers in two to three days, or two to three months, depending on their educational backgrounds, as well as increase the universityʻs capacity to graduate 100 community health workers each year. DOH can then hire the trained individuals as needed, including as emergency hires, in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases. The university will offer two tracks for contact tracing training: a course for clinical professionals (approximately two to three days to complete for those with at least an undergraduate degree and a clinical health background) and an intensive contact tracing program (approximately two to three months for those with undergraduate degrees, health sciences preferred). All training content and materials will be approved by the DOH.

The UH Community Colleges will add capacity in the community health worker programs and update curricula so that community health worker graduates will be prepared to be part of COVID-19 contact tracing teams as needed. In an effort to increase enrollment, $1,000 scholarships will be available to UH Community College health worker students once they complete the program. They are a critical component to the contract tracing teams with their special community-based training and ties to work effectively with identified high-risk populations. Learn more about the UHealthy Hawai‘i Initiative: https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2019/08/20/uhealthy-hawaii/


Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

852 Passengers Arrive in Hawai‘i

Yesterday, 852 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 264 visitors and 321 residents. The following table shows passenger numbers coming into the state. The table in the DBEDT section shows interisland travel.


Crew 3 114 117
Intended New Resident 16 88 104
Resident 27 294 321
Transit 46 46
Visitor 26 238 264
GRAND TOTAL 72 0 780 0 852
Flights 1 0 12 0 13

*Visitors are people who do not have a Hawai‘i ID, including essential healthcare workers, essential federal workers, former residents like mainland college students coming to stay with family, military on temporary assignment and leisure travelers.



Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism


Arriving Airport



Honolulu (HNL) 0 64 110 100 60 26 1 0 0 361
Kona (KOA) 109 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 115
Hilo (ITO) 126 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 126
Kahului (OGG) 238 3 0 0 0 2 3 0 3 249
Līhuʻe (LIH) 57 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 57
Molokaʻi (MMK) 27 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 37
Lānaʻi (LYN) 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Kapalua (JHM) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Waimea (MUE) 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5
Total Arriving 561 67 110 121 60 28 4 0 3 954



Hawai‘i House of Representatives:

House Awaits $5.1 Billion Capital Improvement Project Budget from the Senate

The Senate Ways and Means Conference Committee agreed Wednesday on the Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, totaling more than $5.1 billion. Some of the funding would address statewide needs that have become apparent due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as upgrades to outdated Department of Labor and Industrial Relations unemployment computer systems and modernizing the Department of Accounting and General Services finance systems. The CIP budget also includes funding for many “shovel ready” construction projects that can begin work quickly providing much-needed jobs to help resuscitate the economy. The bill now moves to the full Senate for a second reading. To read more about the proposed budget: https://www.hawaiihousedemocrats.com/post/house-awaits-5-1-billion-cip-budget-from-the-senate


Department of Land and Natural Resources

Kaua‘i Temporarily Adds Hunting Days for Covid-19 Response

Kaua‘i hunters are invited to apply for special use permits to hunt goats, pigs, and deer on closed hunting days in State Forest Reserves, Natural Area Reserves, and Game

Management Areas. Usually, most hunting areas on Kaua‘i are open only weekends (Friday-Monday). Beginning on Monday, May 18, people who want to hunt on closed days can submit online applications. “Hunters have asked us to increase open hunting days to help them feed our community,” said Sheri S. Mann, Kaua‘i Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “With so many people out of work, and concerns about national meat shortages, it is likely many folks are interested in hunting during the middle of the week.  We want hunters to practice social distancing recommendations. Opening up daily hunting should spread hunting trips out and reduce the likelihood of overlaps.” Applicants must have a current hunters license and permits will be issued for a one-month period, with opportunity to reapply for future months after submitting harvest data. Permits will be processed several times a week.

For more information: www.KauaiForestUsers.com or 808-274-3433.

Read the full news release here: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/blog/2020/05/13/nr20-062/

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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 13, 2020

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