UPDATE: 1:05 p.m.
Oahu’s stay-at-home, work-from-home order to curb a surge in new daily coronavirus cases will continue for the next two weeks, with modifications to allow for limited outdoor activities, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today.
Parks, beaches and trails will reopen to allow for solo activities, including reading, meditating, eating lunch, jogging and sitting on the beach alone, the mayor said at a news conference at Honolulu Hale.
“One thing we’re not going to do a second time is rush to reopen and then have another spike and have that occur during the holiday season,” Caldwell said.
“It’s not a simple one size fits all. We’re going to take it slow and cautiously so we don’t have to do another lockdown,” he added. “It does mean there could be frustration with the pace. We’re putting health and safety first so we can get to a healthy economy.”
The order that went into effect on Aug. 27 is set to end on Thursday.
“We’re turning the corner on active cases and the hospital numbers have begun to decline,” Lt. Gov. Josh Green told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “I’m really proud of people — their sacrifices worked. It is certainly time to increase people’s freedom somewhat and make sure people can be outside in low-risk activities. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
With declining infections, the state can begin to open tourism on Oct. 1, Green said.
“I hope that with contact tracing and testing in place it’ll prevent a repeat outbreak — that’s critical,” he added. “We have a chance now to knock COVID down.”
Caldwell earlier told the newspaper that he was continuing to evaluate daily the status of the health care system, contact tracing capabilities, test positivity rate, case counts, and other factors such as patterns of transmission, to determine the best course of action.
“However, at a rate of over 200 cases per day, or 800 positive cases every four days, there will continue to be significant strain both on contact tracing and isolation efforts, as well as hospital capacity,” the mayor said on Friday.
Caldwell added that considering the two- to 14-day incubation period of the virus, it will take one to two weeks before the benefits of the stay-at-home order kick in. Additionally, more cases could emerge from the surge testing ongoing on Oahu.
The state reported today two new coronavirus deaths on Oahu and 66 new infections, the first double-digit daily increase in more than a month after triple digits for most of August and early September. The statewide totals since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 88 fatalities and 10,025 cases.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will discuss the status of the second stay-at-home, work-from-home order for Oahu during a media briefing at Honolulu Hale today at 1 p.m.
The 14-day lockdown order began on Aug. 27.
The discussion will be held on the grassy area fronting the building.
Watch the briefing via the video above, or go to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Facebook page.