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Gov. Ige may delay plan to waive quarantine for some travelers after spike in coronavirus cases

  • COURTESY GOV. DAVID IGE / FACEBOOK

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Gov. David Ige is pictured at the Hawaii State Capitol today.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Gov. David Ige is pictured at the Hawaii State Capitol today.

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                State Department of Health director Bruce Anderson is pictured at the Hawaii State Capitol today.

    JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    State Department of Health director Bruce Anderson is pictured at the Hawaii State Capitol today.

UPDATE: 4:20 p.m.

Gov. David Ige said today he may delay the state’s plan to waive the 14-day quarantine for transPacific visitors who test negative for the coronavirus following what he called a tough week with more than 500 COVID-19 cases, including 207 announced today.

At a virtual news conference this afternoon, Ige urged Hawaii residents to redouble their efforts to fight the coronavirus.

“It’s clear that many across the state have relaxed their commitment to maintain the physical distancing and all of the best practices we’ve talked about in fighting against this COVID-19 infection,” the governor said.

Ige said he and the mayors have been tracking the recent surge in cases and will make a decision soon whether to delay the Sept. 1 start of welcoming visitors from the mainland without a 14-day quarantine restriction if travelers obtain a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel.

He said his team is still working to implement the pre-arrival testing program Sept. 1 but the recent surge in cases is concerning.

“We continue to monitor the conditions here in the state, as well as around the country, and will be making a further determination as we get closer to the Sept. 1 date,” he said.

A replay of the briefing is available to view online. Watch above or via Gov. Ige’s Facebook page.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Hawaii’s Department of Health counted 207 new coronavirus cases today, a dramatic increase for the state but officials said 114 of these cases are the result of delayed reporting of cases from this weekend.

Of the 207 newly reported cases, 198 are from Oahu, seven on Maui, and two on Hawaii island.

Officials counted 3,433 new tests in today’s tally, with the 207 new cases representing 6% of the total tested.

The new daily total beings the statewide total to 2,448 since the start of the outbreak in Hawaii in late February, with one Oahu case removed from today’s totals due to updated data, officials said.

“It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to detail all of the situations in which people are becoming infected with coronavirus.” state Health Director Bruce Anderson said in a news release. “It runs the whole gamut of hanging out with close friends, socializing in bars, attending religious events and funerals, and many other types other social gatherings. This virus does not discriminate on who it infects and the only way to prevent its spread is to limit exposure to others by using face coverings, physical distancing and avoiding gatherings and crowded places. Unfortunately, Hawaii is experiencing spikes in cases similar to many mainland states, and in most cases, we can track new infections back to those who have let down their guard. Everyone needs to take this very seriously.”

Today’s new-case total far surpasses the previous record of 124 Thursday, before the state reported problems with the test result data over the weekend.

With the spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. David Ige urged everyone to take action to reduce the spread of coronavirus by practicing physical distancing, wearing face masks and staying at home when they are sick.

“We can only be successful if we all take personal responsibility in reducing the transmission of COVID-19,” Ige said today on Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii.

On Sunday, health officials reported 45 new coronavirus cases but noted that the daily reporting of positive COVID-19 cases was “not a complete and accurate picture due to the temporary delay in receiving complete data.” They said data from Saturday and Sunday is missing from Clinical Laboratories of Hawai‘i, a private laboratory conducting most of the tests in the state, and they warned that they would need to update the count from Friday on. Saturday’s new case tally was 87, after three days with over 100 infection counts reported.

As of today, 1,107 infections in Hawaii are known to be active cases, with a total of 1,315 patients now classified by health officials as “released from isolation,” or about 57% of those infected. Today was the first time the statewide active case count topped 1,000 infections. The category counts those infected people who have met the criteria for being released from isolation. Twenty-one new release cases — 20 on Oahu and one on Kauai — were reported today.

Today’s statewide coronavirus case total includes 2,083 on Oahu, 178 in Maui County, 117 on Hawaii island, and 47 in Kauai County, according to health officials. The total also includes 23 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside of the state.

>> RELATED: With coronavirus cases spiraling, Lt. Gov. Green says statewide lockdown might be only way out

The state’s coronavirus-related death toll remains at 26: 19 on Oahu, six on Maui and one Kauai resident who died outside the state. The nationwide COVID-19 death count has surpassed 154,000.

Of all the confirmed Hawaii cases since the start of the outbreak, 201 have required hospitalizations, with two new hospitalizations on Oahu reported today, health officials said.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today that 75 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in Hawaii, with 15 patients in intensive care units and 10 on ventilators.

Of the 130,712 coronavirus tests conducted so far by state and clinical laboratories in Hawaii as of today, about 1.7% have been positive.

Two hospitalizations in the statewide count are Hawaii residents who were diagnosed and treated outside the state. Of the 199 hospitalizations within the state, 168 have been on Oahu, 26 on Maui, four on Hawaii island, and one on Kauai.

By county, Honolulu has seen 1,023 patients released from isolation, and Maui has had 133 patients released. Kauai and Hawaii county have two active infections each.

Anderson and other state health officials continued to sound the alarm about people gathering in large groups without wearing masks and physical distancing. Specifically, they said today that many beaches on Oahu were as crowded as they were before the COVID outbreak. They also noted that health investigations have traced at least one case in a person who recently attended a drum circle at Little Beach in Makena State Park. They said about 100 people were recently on the beach for sunset at Makena for the rising of the full moon, but were not wearing masks of physical distancing.

The scene here was repeated on beaches and in parks across the state, officials said.

“As long as individuals in our communities fail to accept personal responsibility for the spread of COVID-19, we are unfortunately going to see continued days of triple digit numbers,” said Anderson. “This already has resulted in the renewal of restrictions on large social gatherings and other conditions and is likely going to lead to additional ones.”

“We are once again, as we have from the beginning of this crisis, asking every resident of Hawaii to take this threat with the utmost seriousness,” Anderson said. “Life, as we knew it, pre-COVID-19, cannot return to normal until we again flatten the infection curve. It takes everyone doing their part by following the simple and now-common steps: wear your mask, physically distance, wash your hands frequently and, perhaps most important, stay home if sick. With everyone’s kokua, we can get back to where we were and enjoy all the good things life in Hawaii has to offer.”

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

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