Coronavirus in Hawai‘i: The State Is Not Ready to Reopen Yet
Your daily update on everything you need to know related to COVID-19 on April 16.
Eleven new cases bring Hawai‘i’s total to 541, with four of those on O‘ahu. More than 21,000 tests have been administered, there have been no new deaths associated with COVID-19, and 374 people have been released from isolation. A new dashboard at oneoahu.org updates these numbers, along with the total confirmed cases in the U.S., state unemployment claims and passenger arrival statistics, daily.
Hawaiʻi does not meet current criteria for reopening in phases. President Donald Trump’s criteria for a phased reopening, announced today, includes a downward trajectory of cases over a 14-day period. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said that modifications to the stay-at-home order will be made over many months once we start to see continuous drops in positive cases, but people should expect to continue wearing masks for a long time.
Testing at Geiger Community Park. On Friday, April 17, there will be drive-thru testing at Geiger Community Park in ‘Ewa from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free masks available. To get a free mask from Every1ne Hawai‘i, register at every1nehawaii.com by 4 p.m. on Friday. The group is hoping to distribute them by next Friday. There have been more than 6,500 requests submitted so far. Caldwell stressed that anyone under the age of 2 should not wear a mask, and it is not required for anyone under 5.
Masks for bus riders and drivers. Members of the Department of Transportation Services and O‘ahu Transit Services will be providing masks to those at the island’s busiest bus stops starting tomorrow. From Wednesday onward, anyone not wearing a mask will be denied boarding.
Photo: David Croxford
Homeless sweeps to resume. Starting next week, the city will begin enforcing the stored property ordinance and sidewalk nuisance ordinance again after they were paused in March. Officials will target encampments that pose the biggest health risks or have received the most complaints.
New telehealth resources. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s COVID-19 website debuted a section on telehealth today, including links to providers and a self-screening tool. Medical professionals encourage everyone to call their health provider first to see if it offers telehealth services. Telehealth can be used for both COVID-19 screening as well as other issues such as mental health. Go to hawaiicovid19.com/telehealth.
Registration for summer programs postponed. Online registration for free and paid summer programs through the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation that was scheduled to begin Monday has been postponed until further notice.
No state budget cuts planned yet. Gov. David Ige stressed again today that no plans have been made to cut salaries of government employees, an idea that received widespread backlash when first reported yesterday. “I want to assure everyone that we will explore all options before making any decisions about salary reductions for government employees,” he said. Caldwell said there is no proposal for city employees to be furloughed or have salary cuts at this time, either.
City to send letters to stop illegal stays. Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, said the DPP is planning to send a letter to the airport and tourism industry to better communicate where travelers will be staying so that their 14-day quarantine can be enforced. The DPP will also send letters to platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO to request they stop advertising, as well as to legal rentals that are deemed nonessential and should not be operating right now.