Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center Daily News Digest, August 7, 2020Posted on Aug 7, 2020 in Latest Department News
Governor and Superintendent Announce O‘ahu Public Schools Will Go Online for First Four Weeks
At a news briefing Friday, Gov. David Ige and Supt. Christina Kishimoto announced public schools on O‘ahu would be doing complete distance learning for the first four weeks of the new school year, which starts on Aug. 17. This comes a day after new rules were announced to curb the growing spread of COVID-19 on O‘ahu. Gov Ige said, “I have heard a great deal of concern from parents and teachers regarding the start of the school year… This is a challenging time. And I know that parents, teachers and students are worried. I also realize that keeping students at home is going to be an additional burden on working parents, but because of the recent surge on O‘ahu, I agree that this is the right approach. I know you’re frustrated with all of these measures. Everyone wants our lives to return to normal. But we still need to be vigilant, and taking personal responsibility is still the best way to fight COVID-19.” The plan does not affect schools on neighbor islands. Additional details about the plan are listed in the DOE section of this Daily News Digest.
Governor Extends Condolences to Family and Friends of Latest Victims
“Today we received the heartbreaking news that two more of our neighbors passed away due to COVID-19. I want to extend my sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. We also saw 201 new positive cases reported,” said Gov. Ige. “This is a disturbing trend of triple-digit cases over the last week. I know you are concerned about these growing numbers. And this is why we needed to reinstate the inter-island quarantine and restrictions on Oʻahu, and although some of you are getting tired of hearing us repeat ourselves, we need to remind you that everyone needs to take personal responsibility to curb this surge in cases.” The governor also reminded everyone to continue wearing masks, washing their hands, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home if they feel sick to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Emergency Proclamation Reinstating Partial Inter-Island Travel Quarantine Signed
Gov. Ige signed the 11th emergency proclamation Friday, which reinstates a partial inter-island travel quarantine. The rules go into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. The rollback was first announced Thursday, as O‘ahu continues to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases due to large gatherings. The rules state quarantine will only be mandatory for passengers arriving in the counties of Kauaʻi, Maui, Hawaiʻi and Kalawao (Molokai). The quarantine requirement applies to any person traveling to and between the islands in these counties. It does not include inter-island travelers arriving on O‘ahu. The period of self-quarantine will begin immediately upon arrival and last 14 days or the duration of the person’s stay on the island, whichever is shorter. Gov Ige. said, “I have been working closely with all of our county mayors and we agree that reinstating part of the inter-island travel quarantine is necessary and the right thing to do at this time. We must protect our neighbor island residents in light of the alarming increase in COVID-19 cases on O‘ahu.” It’s also important to note that these rules don’t change quarantine protocols already in place for travelers coming into Hawai‘i from out-of-state.
The inter-island quarantine continues through Aug. 31 unless it is terminated or extended by a separate proclamation. The previous inter-island travel quarantine affecting all inter-island travelers took effect on Apr. 1 and was lifted on June 16. The proclamation can be viewed here:
Department of Education:
O‘ahu Public Schools to go Online for First Four Weeks of 2020-21 School Year
DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto joined Gov. Ige at a news briefing Friday to announce modifications of its school reopening plans for all O‘ahu public schools, in light of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Starting on Aug. 17, all O‘ahu public schools will be implementing full distance learning models. Schools will use Aug. 10-14, to train and prepare for this transition. The DOE has designed three phases:
- First phase, in-person training (Aug. 17-20): During the first week of school, students will physically return to campus on a coordinated and scheduled basis, determined by each individual school, to connect with their teacher, receive training on the distance learning platforms, and address issues with connectivity and access to technology. Special considerations will be given to vulnerable students and their families for more in-person access to the school and teachers. Starting on Aug. 17, Oʻahu cafeterias will be serving only grab-and-go meals; in-person dining will not be allowed. After-school programs will be suspended until students return to in-person blended learning models.
- Second phase, ready to learn (Aug. 24-Sept. 11): For the remainder of the four-week period, full distance learning will be implemented. Staff will report to their designated work sites for continued distance learning instruction. Special education services that cannot be provided in a distance learning format will be available in person. Supervised in-person learning labs at schools will be available for students who do not have WiFi access.
- Third phase, transition to blended learning (Sept. 14): DOE will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with the Governor’s Office and DOH to assess whether or not students can safely return to in-person blended learning models. If distance learning will continue for the remainder of the first quarter of school, an announcement will be made on Sept. 8.
Aug. 17 remains the official start date for all HIDOE students. Neighbor island school reopening plans will continue as planned, with blended learning models. All DOE buildings will remain open for faculty and staff, and employees will be expected to follow all health and safety protocols. Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said, “It is our mission to ensure that all students in Hawai‘i have equitable access to a quality education, even amidst this pandemic. Learning must take place as we continue to safeguard our island community. Mahalo to our students, teachers, staff and school communities for their continued support and flexibility during these challenging times.”
The DOE news release is posted online at:
Department of Health:
Daily COVID-19 Cases Still Triple Digits, 2 More Deaths Reported
All but one (1) of the 201 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, reported by the Dept. of Health (DOH) today is from O‘ahu. Maui has a single new case.
Health Director Bruce Anderson said, “Unfortunately, projections for increases in COVID case and ICU bed utilization are being realized.” Many of the Intensive Care Units on O‘ahu is full or close to full and hospitals are surging, transferring patients, and opening new units to handle new patients. ICU bed-use on the Neighbor Islands has not changed significantly to date.
Yesterday, Gov. Ige and Mayor Caldwell announced restrictions on large group gatherings, the closure of beaches and parks, and the reinstitution of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any travel other than arrival on O‘ahu. “These actions are targeted toward what we know to be high risk activities,” said Anderson. “Given the incubation period of COVID can be as long as 14 days, we are seeing the result of exposures a week or two ago and it will probably be at least a couple of weeks before we can expect to see the benefit of the restrictions on these activities and events on O‘ahu. We all need to act now. Avoid crowded places, closed spaces and close contact. Your life and the lives of your loved ones and friends will depend on it.”
For a second day in a row, DOH is reporting two deaths, as a result of the COVID-19 infection. Anderson said, “We send our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the latest victims of this terrible disease. Their passing’s are a stark reminder of the realities today. Unfortunately, we are going to see more and more casualties as the surge of cases over the last few weeks continues and, sadly, more and more families and neighborhoods will experience the loss of loved ones.” Both of the latest victims are men, and both are from O‘ahu. One was older than 60-years-old and had been in the hospital. He died on August 4. He was exposed to a positive household member. The second man passed away on Wednesday and was in the 40 to 59-year-old age group. His death was reported by the Honolulu Medical Examiner because he died at home, unattended. His family reported he had symptoms but did not seek medical care. Both men are said to have had underlying medical conditions and the health investigations into their deaths continues. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have now been 31 reported deaths in Hawai‘i associated with COVID-19.
On Thursday, State and County leaders issued a renewed plea for everyone to take personal responsibility and to maintain safe practices to stop the surge. They are also stepping up enforcement of emergency rules, by putting more police officers into the field to aggressively enforce the renewed restrictions in Honolulu, which include the closure of all county and state beaches and public parks. People are encouraged to report violations:
COVID Enforcement Hotline at 723-3900 begins Sunday at 10 a.m. or email [email protected]
Hawai‘i COVID-19 Counts as of 12:00 noon, August 7, 2020
|Island of Diagnosis||New Cases||Reported since
(including new cases)
|HI residents diagnosed outside of HI||0||23|
Laboratory* Testing Data
There were 3,962 additional COVID-19 tests reported via electronic laboratory reporting.
Note: On August 6 there were issues with Electronic Lab Reporting.
|Total Number of Individuals Tested
by Clinical and State Laboratories
*Electronic Laboratory Reporting **17 test results were inconclusive
For more tables, charts and visualizations visit the DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division: https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/what-you-should-know/current-situation-in-hawaii
NPR Contact Tracing Survey Shows Hawai‘i Among Top States Nationwide
A new survey published by the National Public Radio (NPR) shows Hawai‘i is among the top states in the nation with enough contact tracers in reserve to control the COVID-19 outbreak in our islands. The survey shows Hawai‘i needs an estimated 285 contact tracers, and while the current contact tracing staff level is at 79, there is a reserve of 229 staff members that could be used to help, as needed. Thirty-nine states currently do not meet the estimated need for contact tracing capacity. The CDC told U.S. Congress in June about 100,000 contact tracers would be needed nationwide to fight the spread of COVID-19. The level of contact tracers appears to stand at 41,122, although NPR notes several states did not share their contact tracer levels so the number could be slightly higher. To view the study:
Department of Public Safety:
First COVID-19 Positive Inmate Reported, Three Employees Also Test Positive
PSD has been notified that a new inmate housed at the O‘ahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) tested positive for COVID-19. It’s the first confirmed inmate case at PSD. The inmate was brought to OCCC on Monday and placed in a mandatory 14-day intake quarantine, as is the procedure for all new inmates. The inmate was tested on Tuesday, after the department learned of possible exposure to COVID-19 prior to entry. PSD Director Nolan Espinda said, “The facility acted quickly to implement the Department’s COVID-19 pandemic protocol for correctional facilities, in an effort to mitigate any potential spread of the virus. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been working closely with DOH to ensure all DOH and CDC guidelines are followed in our facilities, so we can maintain the health and welfare of our staff and the incarcerated population.”
All facilities follow the PSD Pandemic Response Plan which falls in line with CDC and DOH guidelines for identifying and isolating inmates who fit the CDC and DOH criteria for testing.
- If an inmate presents with symptoms of a respiratory illness or has had possible contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual, PSD Health Care Division’s staff will perform a full evaluation, including testing for COVID-19 and common infectious respiratory illnesses such as Influenza.
- Health care staff conduct onsite specimen collection using the nasopharyngeal swab and submit the specimen for testing.
- Inmates pending testing are immediately placed in medical isolation.
- The facilities have longstanding outbreak management plans in place to quickly identify, isolate and treat communicable diseases. They remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.
In unrelated cases, one adult correctional officer (ACO) at the Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) and two ACOs at the Waiawa Correctional Facility (WCF) have reported positive COVID-19 test results. The HCF ACO received the positive test results on Thursday. The two WCF ACOs tested positive Aug. 4 and 6. Director Espinda added, “DOH is conducting contact tracing and we will follow through with implementing their guidance and directives. Thankfully, the risk to other employees and inmates is believed to be minimal because all staff regularly practice the necessary safety and sanitation precautions called for in their facilities Pandemic Control Plan, all of which have been ingrained in everyone over the past few months.” PSD will continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19 and make additional operational and preventative decisions as the situation evolves.
Department of Defense:
Director Kenneth Hara Revokes Military Exemption for Families on PCS Orders
At the end of May, at the urging of U.S. INDO Pacific Command, HI-EMA Director Kenneth Hara published a memo exempting military service members traveling to Hawaii and their family members, from the 14-day state quarantine rule. As of today, that memo has been revoked. Arriving military service members must check with their commands for current orders and policies regarding restriction of movement. The military is following all state directed restrictions. Also, all arriving family members, DoD employees, and government contractors need to follow state restrictions. (See memo attached.)
Hawai‘i State Judiciary:
South Kohala District Court to Reopen August 18
The South Kohala District Court, which has been closed since Aug. 4 due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, will reopen on Aug. 18. Family court cases scheduled for Aug. 10, 12, 14, and 17 will be heard as scheduled, but will be moved to the Keahuolu Courthouse Courtroom 2B in Kona. All district court cases scheduled for Aug. 4 to 17 will be rescheduled. Those involved in these cases will be notified separately about their new court date. Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert D. Kim said, “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We’re happy to report that, so far, staff have been receiving negative test results. However, those who make up the core operations team are being advised by the DOH to remain at home until Aug. 17, as a precaution. We appreciate the community’s patience and understanding as we ensure that we can safely reopen the courthouse on Aug.18.”
As a result of the closure, the Chief Justice issued an order extending the filing deadline for documents due Aug. 10 to 17 in the South Kohala District Court. All documents due to have been filed during that period shall be deemed to have been timely filed if they are filed by Aug. 18, 2020.
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations:
State has Issued $2.6 Billion in Benefits Since March 1
DLIR announced updated unemployment insurance claims information on Thursday, including paying $2,620,848,963 since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 1, 2020. DLIR Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio said, “94-percent of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic have been processed and paid out by the DLIR. Currently our biggest challenge is the staff and resources required to address the high level of imposter and regular fraud in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.” To help reduce the backlog of identity verification, DLIR is asking PUA claimants to submit all of the following:
- A picture of their Social Security card or other government issued document with name and Social Security number, front and back,
- Government issued ID with official photo and birthdate, front and back
- A selfie with picture ID next to the face
Perreira-Eustaquio also noted, “There’s also been a significant uptick in workers still attached to an employer being fully released from employment. These individuals will need to report the separation when filing a weekly claim certification. After filing a weekly claim certification, these individuals then reactivate their claim and select ‘Report Separation from an Employer’ in the online portal at huiclaims.gov/#/.” For more information:
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority:
3,064 Passengers Arrive on Thursday
Yesterday marked 19 weeks since the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine started for all passengers arriving in Hawai‘i from out of state. Yesterday, a total of 3,064 people arrived in Hawai‘i including 893 visitors and 913 returning residents. There was a total of 41 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 THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, 2020
|Relocate to Hawai‘i||38||14||206||20||278|
Hawai‘i COVID-19 Joint Information Center
Information Specialist III
Hawaii Department of Defense
O: (808)369-3517 C: (808)277-9425