Hawaii COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 8, 2020

Department of Health:

No New Cases Of Covid-19 Likely Just A Lull

Today is the first day since mid-March DOH has not reported any new cases. While this is good news, it does not mean, in any way, the end of the COVID-19 crisis. DOH and State leaders caution that social distancing measures, use of masks when in public places, and frequent hand-washing and sanitization of surfaces must continue to keep the infection curve flat in Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, May 8, 2020

Island of Diagnosis New Cases Reported since


(including new cases)

Total Released from Isolation
O‘ahu 0 408 385
Hawai‘i 0 74 67
Maui 0 114 93
Kaua‘i 0 21 21
Moloka‘i 0 2 2
Lana‘i 0 0 0
Residents Diagnosed outside HI 0 10
Unknown** 0 0
Total 0 629
Total released from isolation     566
Deaths 0 17  

** 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
34,836** 629 34,188

*Electronic Laboratory Reporting  **19 test results were inconclusive.

Please note: There appears to have been a glitch in the ELR reporting, in that the system was over counting some tests over the past week. Staff have fixed the issue and adjusted the data.

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

COVID-19 Cases by Exposure Travel Associated and Community as of May 7

Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, “We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks, although today we’re at zero, we want to maintain these declines. As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases.” Health experts indicate that while Hawai‘i is fortunate to have this pause, it should be used to reassess response capacity, preparedness plans, and to ensure the state is ready for a second and potentially larger wave of the disease.

Of particular concern now, is Hawai‘i residents resuming travel to the mainland, particularly to COVID-19 hotspots. Dr. Park explained, “Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others. When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home.” Park and other health experts say this is why it is critically important for everyone (visitors and residents) to observe the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine. It protects our community.

The State is again emphasizing that Hawai‘i is not a “me first” culture, but a culture of “we.” This philosophy is what’s allowed control of the COVID-19 pandemic up until this point. Hawai‘i residents particularly respect our kupuna and others who may be more susceptible to this serious disease.

For that reason, DOH says the strongest defense we have against future, rapid increases in COVID-19 cases is dependent on everyone’s consistent observation of safe practices.

  • Wear a mask when you are outside your home.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Keep a distance of 6 feet from non-household members.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often.
  • Stay at home when you are sick.



Hawai‘i Tops in Nation for COVID-19 Testing

This week, Harvard’s Global Health Institute published a state-by-state simulation that estimates the amount of coronavirus testing that will be needed by May 15. The institute started from a model of future case counts and then calculated how much testing would be needed for a state to test all infected people and any close contacts they may have exposed to the virus.

The study was conducted in partnership with National Public Radio (NPR). In an interview with NPR, institute director Ashish Jha said, “Testing is outbreak control 101, because what testing lets you do is figure out who’s infected and who’s not…that lets you separate out the infected people from the noninfected people and bring the disease under control.”

NPR reports that only nine (9) states have exceeded testing minimums estimated by Harvard and are mostly lower population states: Alaska, Hawai‘i, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The model suggests that Hawai‘i’s first pandemic wave of COVID-19 is “mild” relative to the state’s population and falls well below the 10 percent threshold advised by WHO. In the testing vs. target category, Hawai‘i is averaging 797 tests each day, more than the estimated minimum tests recommended by May 15. In the positive test ratio category, only 0.3% percent of tests in Hawai‘i have come back positive; much lower than the WHO recommended rate of 10 percent or lower. Only Montana has a better positive test ratio of 0.1%.

Read the entire story and view state charts here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/07/851610771/u-s-coronavirus-testing-still-falls-short-hows-your-state-doing


Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:

756 Passengers Arrive in Hawai‘i

Yesterday marked six weeks since the State’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, 756 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 239 visitors and 214 residents. The following table shows passenger numbers coming into the state. The table in the DBEDT section shows interisland travel.


Crew 3 115 118
Intended New Resident 9 117 126
Resident 16 198 214
Transit 59 59
Visitor 18 221 239
GRAND TOTAL 46 0 710 0 756
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 Labor and Industrial Relations:

State Pays Out $140,300,082 in Unemployment Insurance Benefits

DLIR announced Friday that it distributed $140,300,082 in unemployment insurance benefits over the past week. $83,776,600 of that total represents the $600 bonus made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020. DLIR Director Scott Murakami said, “I am tremendously grateful for our workers as well as the volunteers working at the Hawai‘i State Library and Hawai‘i Convention Center. We know that there are still many in our community who are suffering and with the help of our sister departments, the Legislature, private sector partners and non-profits, we are resolute in providing a greater level of relief as soon as possible.” A total of 76 DLIR staff have been internally reallocated to process claims, and about 600 volunteers are trained and working at the Hawai‘i Convention Center processing claims and staffing the phone center.



Department of Public Safety:

Jail Population Report

From March 2 to May 8 there has been an 823-person decrease in the jail population. 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.

Inmate Testing

Currently there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the prisons or jails. The latest Inmate Testing Report can be found:



Hawai‘i State Legislature:

House and Senate to Reconvene Monday, Public Viewing Held Online

House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ronald Kouchi confirmed yesterday that the Legislature will reconvene on Monday, May 11 through Monday, May 18. The session will focus on stabilizing the state budget and budget-related bills in anticipation of a $1 billion shortfall in state revenues. Speaker Saiki said, “We are reconvening the session because the immediate priority is to stabilize the state budget so that we can avoid drastic cuts and furloughs.” Senate President Kouchi said, “Clearly, in the area of visitor arrivals basically down to zero, G.E.T. activity has stopped as well, along with income tax filings deferred to July 20, so some of the most significant impacts have come from these income generators. While it’s possible that we can do the session in six days to take care of the budgetary process, we might need nine or 10 days overall to finish up business, so we will work in concert with the House through this process.” The State Capitol remains closed, but anyone can still submit written testimony and livestream the proceedings:



Department of Land and Natural Resources:

Hawai‘i Fishing Sector To Receive Portion of $300 Million CARES Act Funding

Hawai‘i’s struggling fisheries could be getting some help. On Thursday, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). This funding is to states, tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fisheries who have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

The DLNR and its Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is currently in the process of developing a spending plan, which, if approved by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will allow fishery participants to apply for financial relief from Hawai‘i’s $4.3 million portion. “This is welcome relief for our struggling local fisheries,” said Brian Neilson, DAR Administrator.  “Unfortunately, it will only cover a fraction of the economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we continue to encourage residents to support our local fishers and seafood producers as much as possible.”


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PDF: COVID-19 Daily News Digest May 8, 2020

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