A plan for Hawaii airports to require 14-day home quarantines for both residents and visitors coming to the islands will involve hiring or reassigning roughly 500 people and cost about $1 million per month, according to the state Senate’s special committee on COVID-19.
The committee held its first meeting Thursday before the State Capitol shut down following news that Sen. Clarence Nishihara had contracted coronavirus. Senators urged Gov. David Ige to immediately act on the plan agreed upon by the Department of Transportation’s Airport Division.
“This is a difficult action, but necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and keep the people of Hawaii safe,” the committee said in a news release issued late Thursday night.
As of March 18, the DOT’s Harbors Division is no longer allowing cruise ship passengers to disembark in the islands, with the exception of Hawaii residents. The vessels are only allowed to enter state ports to refuel and resupply. The ban on cruise ship passengers runs at least for the next 30 to 60 days.
“This ban on cruise ship passengers will not impact cargo shipping to the islands. There are safety protocols in place regarding cargo shipping, but none of those protocols or the cruise ship passenger ban will impact the delivery of needed consumer goods to Hawaii,” the senators said.
As of noon Thursday, the state had 10 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 26. The Department of Health State Laboratories Division has tested roughly 40 critically-ill individuals, while the private labs have tested more than 1,000 less severe cases.
In the committee hearing, state health officials told lawmakers they are “urging people to limit the number of tests being done and to not test those who are not ill” because the state is running short on medical supplies.
For more information, go to the Department of Health’s new website, hawaiicovid19.com/.