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VIDEO: 2 more coronavirus cases brings Hawaii’s total to 634; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands announces rent relief program

  • DENNIS ODA / MARCH 21
                                Motorists drive through Kakaako Waterfront Park to be screened and tested for the coronavirus in March. Hawaii’s statewide total of coronavirus cases has risen to 634 today, with two new cases on Oahu, health officials said.

    DENNIS ODA / MARCH 21

    Motorists drive through Kakaako Waterfront Park to be screened and tested for the coronavirus in March. Hawaii’s statewide total of coronavirus cases has risen to 634 today, with two new cases on Oahu, health officials said.

UPDATE, 4 P.M.

Gov. David Ige noted that the two new coronavirus cases announced by the state Health Department today “continues to show that we have flattened the curve.”

“With only 2 new COVID-19 positive cases, we are on the right track to get this disease under control in Hawaii,” Ige said at an afternoon news conference at the State Capitol. “This is the fifth day since the safer-at-home order went into effect, which allowed several businesses and activities to resume operating. This includes the opening of retailers and shopping centers in Maui County starting today.”

Those two new cases are Oahu residents, according to a state news release, and include one adult and one minor. Both were travel-associated.

Watch the news conference above

However, Ige said it does not mean that people should feel free to congregate, gather in large groups and ignore social distancing mandates. Unfortunately, Ige said there have been reports of group gatherings and people loitering on the beaches and not wearing masks in public.

“I know that this has been difficult,” said Ige. “People want to get our of their homes and socialize but if we stop following the social distancing guidelines. we will lose all of the progress we have achieved today and all of your sacrifices will be meaningless. So please continue to follow the mandates. Your family, neighbors and friends are counting on you.”

Ige also noted that today was the first day of the State Legislature reopening, and that he is working legislators and the counties on the best use of federal coronavirus relief funds, as represented by Senate Bill 75.

Ige was joined this afternoon by William Aila, Jr., Department of Hawaiian Home Lands chair, and Norm Baker, interim Aloha United Way President to announce a new rent relief program for Native Hawaiians.

The new program, approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission at its April meeting, provides eligible beneficiaries with rental assistance both off and on homelands using $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant funds.

“We started by implementing mortgage relief programs for existing homesteaders and now we are pleased to launch this initiative with AUW to help applicants on our waiting list,” said Aila

Eligible Native Hawaiians on DHHL’s applicant waiting list must provide documentation of a loss of income or job as a result of COVID-19 and other qualifications. If qualified, applicants may receive assistance for the payment of their security deposit and rent for up to six months.

To apply for DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program, call AUW at 2-1-1.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Hawaii’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 634, up two from Sunday, the state Department of Health announced today. Both new cases — an adult and a minor —are on Oahu and travel-related.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 81 have required hospitalizations, with no new hospitalizations reported today, health officials said.

As of today, 56 infections in Hawaii are active cases with a total 561 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation” since the start of the outbreak. No new releases were reported today.

Health Department officials said Saturday they had stopped counting Hawaii’s coronavirus-related fatalities and at least one person who had “left the jurisdiction” in this category. The category now just counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation.

About 88% of the people who have been infected in Hawaii are now classified as released from isolation.

The state’s coronavirus death toll remained at 17, unchanged from Sunday. Eleven of the deaths have been on Oahu and six on Maui.

Today’s statewide coronavirus cases total includes 410 on Oahu, 117 in Maui County, 75 on Hawaii island, and 21 in Kauai County, according to health officials.

The total also includes 11 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

By county, Honolulu has seen 376 patients released from isolation (or 92%), Maui has had 91 (78%) , and the Big Island has seen 74 (98%). Kauai no longer has a confirmed active case.

One hospitalization in the statewide count is a Hawaii resident who was diagnosed and treated outside the state, officials said. Of the 80 hospitalizations in the state, 56 have been on Oahu, 22 on Maui and one each on the Big Island and Kauai.

Of the more than 36,612 coronavirus tests conducted by state and clinical laboratories so far in Hawaii, just 1.7% have been positive. Health officials counted 252 new test results today.

On Friday, Hawaii officials reported no new confirmed cases in the state for the first time in eight weeks. Hawaii’s first case of coronavirus was a visitor and reported on Feb. 14. The state began testing on Feb. 28 and had its first positive test result on March 6. At the peak, Hawaii saw 34 new COVID-19 cases a day twice in early April.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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