Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell urged Oahu residents not to treat this Halloween the same as pre-COVID-19 holidays as the island stays on track to move into Tier 3 no earlier than mid-November.
“One night of letting your guard down could create a whole bunch of problems for all of us on this island and in the state of Hawaii,” Caldwell said.
Hawaii health officials reported two coronavirus-related fatalities and 77 new COVID-19 infections statewide today, bringing the totals since the start of the pandemic to 215 deaths and 14,911 cases. Today’s new infection cases include 60 on Oahu, two on Lanai, eight on Hawaii island, one on Kauai, and six Hawaii residents diagnosed out of state.
“If you look at our country, 40 states are seeing spikes in cases,” Caldwell said. “We’re one of the few states that’s doing really well.”
Caldwell and health officials said people can get creative this Halloween such as watching a scary movie indoors, carving a pumpkin, or meeting over Zoom instead of going out.
“Be safe, be careful, don’t trick or treat,” Caldwell said.
Hawaii Pacific Health Executive Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Melinda Ashton echoed Caldwell’s statements.
“I know that people can be tired of being creative with their kids,” she said. “It’s hard to come up with one more way to celebrate something that’s different than what we always did before, but it’s going to be necessary because we absolutely want to keep this virus under control.”
Oahu moved to the less-restrictive Tier 2 of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s four-tier economic recovery plan on Oct. 22, and must stay in that tier for four weeks. To move to Tier 3 no earlier than Nov. 19, Oahu must maintain a seven-day average case count of 49 or fewer cases, and a seven-day average positivity rate of 2.49% or lower for 14 consecutive days at the end of the four-week period. Today’s seven-day average case count is 50 and the positivity rate was 2% for Oahu.
“During this special time of the year, we can still show love to our families and practice kuleana and love to those in our broader community by being very careful,” Caldwell said. “… We do believe in kuleana, if we practice that, we can move onto Tier 3.”
Dr. Paul Eakin, a pediatric emergency medicine physician for Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, recommended everyone wear face masks when venturing outside, washing their hands frequently, and staying at least six feet away from people outside their household.
“Don’t wear a face mask under your Halloween mask — it could affect your breathing,” Eakin said.
Health officials said a face mask should take priority over the Halloween mask.
During a Q&A session following the press conference, Caldwell said he has made previous requests to Gov. David Ige for a statewide mask mandate. Confusion about rules on mask-wearing has been widespread across Hawaii.
“I’ll probably make that request to the governor again; I’ve done it a number of times and he gives his reasons why not,” Caldwell said. “But I think it’s important — I’d like to see that happen.”