Update on Interisland Travel Quarantine
Hawai‘i is now in the “Act with Care,” phase two of the overall, “Beyond Recovery,” reopening strategy for the state. Governor Ige announced at an afternoon news briefing that he has been working closely with the counties on opening up businesses and activities, and lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel is top-of-mind for many people. Governor Ige said, ”Health measures are pointing in the right direction to make this move…with infection levels appearing to be under control across the state.” He explained this is important to avoid a high level of cases in one county from impacting another county as people begin to travel. Key issues under discussion with the counties and airlines include, screening, testing, contact tracing and physical distancing. The governor concluded, “We are also going through the process of identifying other potential issues and welcome any thoughts or suggestions.” Governor Ige said when the interisland travel quarantine is lifted there will likely be additional COVID-19 cases, and we have the capacity to handle it. If a new surge occurs, some restrictions might need to be reinstated. He encouraged everyone to continue engaging in best practies like maintaining social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and staying home when sick. (Please see additional, related items below)
Lieutenant Governor’s Office
Healthcare Capacity in Good Shape for Resumption of Interisland Travel
Governor Ige commended Lt. Governor Josh Green for his role in establishing a free clinic in Kalihi to help those who’ve been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the news briefing Green reported Hawai‘i has had 68 new coronavirus cases in the past month (since April 21) and 21 cases in the past two weeks. He said the state’s hospital system is in great shape, with 39% of intensive care unit beds occupied, 51% of total hospital beds in use, and only 9% of the available ventilators in use. He also indicated that the supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is adequate, but a team he is leading is continually monitoring and ordering additional PPE as needed. Additionally the team is working to build up inventory in the event of a “worst case scenario”… a major outbreak in the state. He says from a medical standpoint, we need to continue to rely on public health officials to provide guidance on when it’s safe to lift quarantines. From a compassion standpoint he talked about several recent incidents in which family members needed to fly between islands for sick or dying relatives.
Department of Health:
Four New Cases of COVID-19 Reported
Hawai‘i island has three (3) new cases of COVID-19 and Maui has one (1) new coronavirus case. Three of the most recently reported cases are adults and one is a minor. Three are Hawai‘i residents and one is a non-resident.
Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 21, 2020
|Island of Diagnosis||New Cases||Reported since
(including new cases)
|Total Released from Isolation*|
|Residents Diagnosed outside HI||0||10|
|Total released from isolation||579|
* 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 615 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.
|Total Number of Individuals Tested by Clinical and State Laboratories||Positive||Negative|
*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **25 test results were inconclusive
For more tables visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/
Health Considerations for Travel Between Islands
DOH Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson revealed conditions that will be necessary for lifting interisland travel restrictions. He said the health department is actively working with a variety of partners like the departments of transportation and attorney general on requirements aimed at minimizing risks.
- Disease incidence remains low and capacity to investigate and quickly respond to new cases
- Accurate and complete passenger declaration forms are submitted
- Passengers subject to mandatory quarantine are identified and final destination confirmed
- Departure thermal screening
- Passengers with elevated temperatures are not allowed to board, evaluated, and offered testing if appropriate
Anderson added that it is critically important to maintain the 14-day quarantine for mainland visitors. He said once the procedures are finalized and implemented, lifting the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel will provide a good test to determine the risks and concerns with opening up travel from domestic and international destinations.
COVID-19 Testing Capacity Now up to Total of 3,620 Tests Per Day
In-state COVID-19 testing capabilities have been a top concern throughout the pandemic, but an assessment of statewide testing capacity this week shows there are ample supplies of tests that can be conducted in Hawai‘i. It means Hawai‘i residents can breathe a sigh of relief. Healthcare providers can now consider testing patients whom they suspect may be infected to ensure rapid identification of cases. This is a shift in the DOH’s earlier guidance that required specific symptoms and epidemiological criteria before testing. In the past three weeks, the number of sites conducting tests has increased from five to 11, and testing is now available in all four counties, including on all of the Neighbor Islands. According to data compiled by DOH, as of Monday, May 18, Hawai‘i has more than 38,300 COVID-19 tests on hand and is performing an average of 690 tests each day, with test results available the same day or by the next day. The maximum turnaround time is three days. The number of staff trained to perform the tests has also doubled, jumping from 68 to 135 within the past month.
“The compilation of data provides a realistic snapshot of the state’s overall testing capacity,” said Dr. Edward Desmond, State Laboratories Division (SLD) administrator, who compiled the data. “If necessary, the state has the capability to cumulatively ramp up to 3,620 tests a day, and this number is expected to significantly increase over the next three weeks.
Department of Transportation:
More on Lifting the Interisland Quarantine
DOT is proactively researching thermal temperature scanning equipment, after the legislature helped secure funds to cover some of the costs. He reiterated some of the conditions that will be necessary for reopening of interisland travel: temperature checks and new specific interisland travel forms. He said additional discussions are ongoing to identify other potential issues. Sakahara also thanked members of the Hawai‘i National Guard for their help in taking the temperatures of all airport passengers.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:
1,099 Passengers Arrive on Wednesday
Today marks two months since the State’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, 1,099 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 290 visitors and 361 returning residents. There was a total of 17 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 20, 2020
|Relocate to Hawai‘i||1||99||15||115|
Department of the Attorney General:
Arizona Visitor Posts Hawai‘i Excursions, Takes a Job and is Arrested
Wednesday afternoon, Special Agents from the Investigation Division of the Dept. of the Attorney General arrested an 18-year-old woman on charges of violating the State’s mandatory 14-day-quarantine rule and for unsworn falsification to authority. Alyza Alder, of Gilbert, AZ, was taken into custody at a fast food restaurant in Lāiʻe, after a citizen notified authorities that she was allegedly in violation of emergency rules. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority assisted law enforcement on this case. Alder arrived on O‘ahu on May 6 and allegedly began posting photos of herself swimming off beaches in Lāʻie and Hau‘ula between May 8 and yesterday. Investigators say while she still should have been under quarantine, she took employment at the restaurant. She has been booked and charged and her bail is set at $2,000. State Attorney General Clare Connors reiterated, “We are asking everyone – returning residents and visitors – to abide by our state’s 14-day self-quarantine order. The 14-day self-quarantine rules protect everyone’s health and safety. As we’ve said before, if you come to Hawai‘i with the expectation that you can ignore the self-quarantine order, you very likely will be reported, arrested and end up in jail facing hefty fines. All of us must do our part to protect ourselves, our families, friends and guests.”
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:
Hawai‘i’s Unemployment Rate at 22.3 percent in April
Hawai‘i’s unemployment rate stood at 22.3 percent in April. The number was announced by DLIR Thursday. The historic increase from the revised rate of 2.4 percent in March reflects the economic impact of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i. Statewide, 487,500 were employed and 139,000 unemployed in April for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 627,450. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in April, rising from 4.4 percent in March.
Department of Public Safety:
Hawai‘i Island Inmates Sew and Donate Cloth Masks for Those in Need
Inmates in the Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center (HCCC) and Kulani Correctional Facility (KCF) sewing program have made 920 cloth face coverings for those in need in the community. Thursday was the final day of distribution. The masks were made with materials donated by people. KCF Warden Wanda Craig said, “The men assisted in choosing what organizations the masks would be delivered to and worked hard to quickly finish sewing them so they could be delivered to community organizations this week. They are thankful to be given an opportunity to use their recently learned sewing skills to give something positive back to the community.” Inmates at different facilities across the state are altogether hoping to produce more than 300,000 masks for sale by the end of June. If you’d like to place an order, call 808-677-6638 or by email at email@example.com
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