Oahu will be put under another stay-at-home, work-from-home order starting 12:01 a.m. Thursday for two weeks, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today.
Caldwell said Gov. David Ige approved the order this morning to help tamp down on the rise of coronavirus cases on Oahu and to ease the growing pressure on the island’s hospitals.
The order is similar to the one put into place in March, with only essential workers and businesses allowed to operate.
“We’re going to see how it goes,” Caldwell said at a news conference at Honolulu Fire Department headquarters in Honolulu. “We’re hopeful the number will decline.”
But he also indicated the order could be extended if triple-digit daily COVID-19 case numbers continue to persist.
“Everybody has to do their part,” he said, referring to social distancing, wearing face masks and other recommendations to curb the spread of the virus. “We can do this.”
Also announced was a plan to hire hundreds of additional contact tracers and to conduct surge testing over the next two weeks.
Caldwell said the city wants to use federal CARES Act money to hire between 250 and 500 contact tracers to work in coordination with the state Department of Health.
And, with monetary support from the federal government, 5,000 coronavirus tests will be administered each day across the island at no charge to those tested, for a total of 60,000 tests.
Drive-through and walk-in testing will start Wednesday at Kaneohe District Park and Leeward Community College and Thursday at Ewa Mahiko, Waianae and Kalakaua district parks. Other sites will be announced later.
Preregister at DoINeedaCOVID19Test.com.
Ige said the surge testing, which will be open to everyone, will be in addition to the current 1,000 to 2,000 tests already administered in the islands.
As for the lockdown order, Ige stressed that it will not affect the neighbor islands, which continue to see fewer cases than Oahu.
“I think the mayor and I both agree that we wish that the actions taken already would have been more successful,” he said. “It has flattened the curve a little but we both agree we have to do more.”
Caldwell also clarified that restaurants would be allowed to remain open for takeout only, while salons and gyms, which had been allowed to operate even as city and state parks recently closed, will be shut down as well.
“If you need to get a haircut, go now,” he said.
Watch a replay of the briefing via the video above, or go to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Facebook page.