Coronavirus in Hawai‘i: Case Count Reaches 410, More Community Testing on O‘ahu and Moloka‘i, and Help Track the Disease Online
Your daily update of everything you need to know related to COVID-19 on April 7.
Hawai‘i today reported 23 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, all adults, pushing the number to 410 statewide. Most were diagnosed in Honolulu, four were on Maui and one on Kaua‘i. No new deaths were reported beyond the initial five: two women and three men, according to the state health department.
No dramatic increase. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell cited two consecutive days of modest case numbers among nearly 15,000 people tested as a reason to be cautiously optimistic. “Let’s continue this march,” he said. “This is not a time to come out of your home and go and play on the beach or in the park.”
Moloka‘i tests done today. State health officials thanked Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group, and Maui County for coordinating a drive-thru testing today with 500 kits following the diagnosis of two positive cases on the rural island over the past week.
More free testing. Caldwell announced two more free testing sites in the community to be conducted by Premier Medical Group for those experiencing upper respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. Those tested will be required to provide personal information and contact numbers so results can be provided. Testing will be held Thursday, April 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Wai‘anae Small Boat Harbor, 85-471 Farrington Highway, and Saturday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Waipi‘o Soccer Complex. Caldwell says more testing will come in future weeks. For more information on this testing, call Premier Medical Group Hawaiʻi at (808) 304-8816 or (808) 367-6020.
Help track the disease online. Brandon Kurisu, of Upspring digital consulting, announced a new effort to crowd-source where people are going and use the information to anonymously track where people are becoming ill. (Upspring is part of aio media, which is the parent company of HONOLULU Magazine.) The new website, alohatrace.org, asks everyone to answer six questions every day or as conditions change, including how you’re feeling, any symptoms, where you went, how many people you contacted and the general location of your home. “Everything is confidential, anonymous and secure,” Kurisu said. The project will send data collected to the University of Hawai‘i, National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and the Pacific Urban Resilience Lab for analysis and research to help mitigate the spread of the disease. He put out a call for other software developers to collaborate.
Homeless screening and triage. Caldwell also announced the city’s new Provisional Outdoor Screening and Triage facility to work with homeless individuals to provide temporary shelter and triage services in tents at Ke‘ehi Lagoon while navigating people to available shelter. The Honolulu Police Department, under Capt. Mike Lambert, offered the concept as a temporary resource to those who are unable to access shelters due to current capacity issues, need a place to self-quarantine as a result of the statewide mandatory quarantine for incoming arrivals, or are unable to safely practice social distancing and hygiene at their current unsheltered location.
Fewer flights, arrivals at airports. The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority reported that on Monday, 513 people arrived in Hawai‘i, including 111 visitors and 163 residents, slightly fewer than the day before. For broader comparison, at the same time last year an average of 30,000 passengers arrived daily. Mandatory 14-day self-quarantine is required for all passengers arriving from out of state and those traveling interisland.
Vacation rentals shut down. Caldwell also said that visitors who are still arriving, although in much smaller numbers, remain a concern. And he clarified that vacation rentals are not an essential service and should not be operating, unlike hotels that are permitted now. Caldwell says even legal vacation rentals are ordered closed, especially since they are impossible to monitor for quarantine enforcement.
Police report arguments, not abuse. The Honolulu Police Department today stepped up enforcement of the statewide stay-at-home emergency order. Deputy police chief John McCarthy said HPD officers have issued more than 5,000 warnings, 353 citations and arrested two dozen people for emergency law violations. The penalty is up to a $5,000 fine and/or one-year imprisonment. He said domestic violence rates have remained at previous levels (33 over two weeks) but more arguments are being reported as people spend so much time together indoors.
Ventilator lending. Kapi‘olani Community College is offering to loan specialized equipment it trains students on to local health care organizations if they are needed. KCC has 11 ventilators for its respiratory care practitioner program and two portable ventilators and other supplies available to Hilo Medical Center. A mechanical ventilator or respirator provides life-saving support to treat patients unable to breathe on their own and has been in short supply in the states and countries hardest hit by the disease.
Mask tips. Dr. Darragh O’Carroll, an emergency doctor from Kuakini Medical Center, appeared at the Caldwell news conference wearing a surgical mask to help stress the importance of helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. “Mask wearing should be a point of pride,” O’Carroll said, with masks that provide a comfortable fit over your nose and sit snug on the side of your face. He was joined by professional surf photographer Zak Noyle, who is working with a nonprofit collaborative of next-generation creatives to encourage best practices. Noyle said 12 local brands are helping to make and provide masks to nonprofits and others on the front lines. every1nehawaii.com
Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman