One new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state was reported Sunday on Hawaii island, increasing the statewide tally for the disease to 640, the Department of Health said.
The Health Department’s daily count of new infections in Hawaii has not been in double digits since April 18 when officials reported 22 new cases. The count has not exceeded four new cases per day so far this month. There were two days during this period when no new cases were announced.
Also Sunday, the state reported that its ongoing enforcement of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for arriving passengers netted another suspected violator just an hour before the California resident was to fly home. The COVID-19 Joint Information Center announced that deputy sheriffs arrested the man Saturday at the airport for violating the quarantine.
Abdulla Aliyev, also known as Turgut Aliev, allegedly had been posting images of himself at various locations across Oahu, following his May 1 arrival.
Hawaii officials said Aliyev’s social media posts on YouTube and Instagram showed him on the beach, at Diamond Head, at Foster Botanical Garden and at other locations across the island instead of remaining in quarantine at the Airbnb condominium he rented on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. He also posted while riding TheBus.
On one of his social media updates, someone wrote that he was violating the state’s COVID-19 emergency rules, and Aliyev falsely responded that police had already given him a ticket, the joint information center said in a news release.
Concerned citizens who had been monitoring Aliyev’s social media posts alerted authorities, the release said. Around 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aliyev posted on a social media account that he was at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and was leaving in a few hours.
The Attorney General Department’s special agents alerted state deputy sheriffs, who caught up with him at the airport one hour before his scheduled flight to Los Angeles.
State Attorney General Clare Connors said in the statement that most people in Hawaii have “little tolerance for anyone, either a visitor or returning resident, who flouts the emergency rules” to stop the new coronavirus in Hawaii.
“If you are out and about in violation of a self-quarantine order, it is likely you will be reported and arrested,” she said. “We again implore visitors to delay their trips until this pandemic passes and we ask that anyone who arrives here comply with the 14-day self-quarantine rule.”
Aliyev, an Azerbaijani who lives in Reseda, Calif., was charged with violating the state’s 14-day mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers and unsworn falsification to authority. His bail was set at $2,000.
Connors added that returning residents who violate the state’s quarantine order for travelers will face the same punishment.
Under Gov. David Ige’s 14-day quarantine for incoming travelers, visitors must stay in their lodging for the 14 days and are allowed to leave only to seek medical care. Short-term rentals of under 30 days aren’t considered essential businesses and aren’t allowed to operate under emergency orders.
Because of visitors skirting the state’s quarantine order, the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 is considering additional ideas to close quarantine loopholes, said state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka-Wahiawa-Whitmore Village).
One idea is having Hawaii residents who are hosting visitors sign a document making them complicit if the visitor violates the state’s self-quarantine order.
Of the 640 confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 82 have required hospitalizations, with no new hospitalizations reported Sunday, health officials said.
As of Sunday, 50 infections in Hawaii were active cases with a total of 573 patients classified by health officials as “released from isolation” since the start of the outbreak. One new release (on Oahu) was reported Sunday. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation.
More than 90% of people known to have been infected in Hawaii are now classified as released from isolation.
The state’s coronavirus death toll remained unchanged Sunday at 17. Eleven of the deaths were on Oahu, and six on Maui.
Sunday’s statewide coronavirus cases total included 415 on Oahu, 117 in Maui County, 77 on Hawaii island and 21 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also included 10 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.
By county, Honolulu has seen 382 patients released from isolation (92%), and Maui has had 96 cases (79%) released. Kauai has no known active confirmed coronavirus cases; Hawaii island has two active cases.
One hospitalization in the statewide count is a Hawaii resident who was diagnosed and treated outside the state, officials said. Of the 81 hospitalizations in the state, 57 have been on Oahu, 22 on Maui and one each on the Big Island and Kauai.
Of the 40,104 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii, just 1.6% have been positive. Health officials counted 369 new test results in Sunday’s statewide tally.