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Gov. Ige asks protesters from weekend Black Lives Matter rallies to voluntarily self-isolate

                                An estimated 10,000 of more people participate in the Black Lives Matter rally what ended at the state Capitol on Saturday.
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An estimated 10,000 of more people participate in the Black Lives Matter rally what ended at the state Capitol on Saturday.

Gov. David Ige today requested that participants in Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend consider self-isolating a few days in order to protect others from possibly getting the new coronavirus.

While Ige said during this morning’s COVID-19 Care Conversation that he was pleased with the peaceful manner in which the protests took place, he was concerned about another spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Certainly I was very impressed by the protests, you know, especially because they were so peaceful in how they were organized,” said Ige. “Clearly I think everyone in Hawaii joins with the protesters in really wanting to highlight the fact that racial inequality is still part of our community in spite of progress made all across the country, and we all are committed to doing better.”

However, he said he was concerned after seeing the sheer numbers of protesters that participated — in the thousands — and how closely packed together they were.

“I certainly would ask you to self-isolate yourselves for a couple days and make sure, clearly, if you do become symptomatic don’t hesitate in getting services,” said Ige. “Finally I just would encourage them to stay away from any kupuna or loved ones that they have who may be in the high-risk category.”

Many younger people can be asymptomatic, he said, and unaware that they may be carrying the virus. He encouraged them to be mindful of that.

“I certainly would encourage them to just be mindful and aware they may be asymptomatic and that would be the last thing anyone would want to do,” he said, “is infect a kupuna or an aunty or uncle who are very susceptible to the disease.”

The conversation covered a range of other topics, including when Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine for incoming U.S. mainland travel and international travel might end. Ige announced during an earlier conversation that the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel will be lifted on June 16.

Ige said lifting the quarantine for mainland travel would not likely happen this month.

“Those states most important to me are actually seeing their highest level of COVID activity — California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada — they all had one of their highest virus counts this past weekend, so I think that’s what’s very concerning to me,” he said. “Just a reminder, the rest of the world has shut down travel from the U.S. because of the virus activity that other nations see in our country and so, certainly, we want to be careful about doing that and I don’t anticipate we would allow domestic travel certainly not before the end of June.”

He said the state would announce decision parameters on lifting those quarantines soon.

In response to concerns about whether people could still get help with Scott Murakami, director of state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations on leave, Ige said dealing with the backlog of unemployment insurance claims would continue to be a priority.

“Let me just assure you that everyone is committed to keeping it a priority as we drive down the backlog of cases,” he said, “and then, yes, I am preparing another emergency proclamation that deals with evictions. We are looking at the mortgage side as well thinking about what would make the most sense in terms of providing community members relief on the mortgage side.”

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