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55 arrested in COVID violations

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Hawaii special agents have visited 3,200 hotel rooms to check on visitors required to quarantine and have arrested 55 for violating quarantine, the state reported Sunday.

“Hawaii to date, there have been 55 arrests for travel self-quarantine violations,” the state said in a news release. “But the primary focus of these operations is to educate travelers and to touch base during their quarantine periods and to address incidences of travelers attempting to work around the system.”

The special agents conducting quarantine checks work for the state Department of the Attorney General’s Investigation Division.

Deputy Chief Special Agent Paul Jones said, “We’re just trying to keep people honest and accountable, and let residents know that even though enforcement is difficult with some visitors playing the system, so to speak, to avoid quarantine, we’re out there doing what we can to protect them.”

Hawaii requires visitors who do not have a negative COVID-19 test to self-quarantine for 10 days.

Hilton Hawaiian Village Director of Security Jerry Dolak said in the news release that the predominant reason guests are required to quarantine is because they failed to use one of the state’s approved testing methods. The Hilton property has an entire floor reserved for quarantining guests and ensures food is delivered to travelers’ rooms, the release said.

Jones praised the Hilton. “They’re doing an incredible job. I’m impressed with the work they’ve done. It’s very efficient and very effective, and I wish all lodging properties would follow their lead. They’ve got it under control.”

Meanwhile, state Department of Health officials Sunday reported 113 new coronavirus infections statewide, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic to 32,580 cases.

No new coronavirus-related fatalities were reported Sunday, so the statewide death toll remained 483.

Sunday’s new statewide infection cases included 80 on Oahu, 16 on Maui, nine on Kauai, three on Hawaii island and five Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state, according to health officials. One previous infection case on Oahu was removed from the state’s tally.

The statistics released Sunday reflect the new infection cases reported to the department Friday.

The number of coronavirus cases by island since the start of the outbreak are 24,980 on Oahu, 3,422 on Maui, 2,703 in Hawaii County, 269 on Kauai, 111 on Lanai and 37 on Molokai. There are also 1,058 Hawaii residents who were diagnosed outside the state.

Health officials also said Sunday that of the state’s total infection count, 1,162 cases were considered active. Officials say they consider infections reported in the past 14 days to be a “proxy number for active cases.” The number of active cases in the state decreased by one Sunday.

By island, Oahu has 851 active cases, Maui has 179, Kauai has 69, the Big Island has 61, Molokai has two and Lanai has none.

The Hawaii COVID-19 vaccine summary said 1,202,060 vaccine doses had been administered through state and federal distribution programs as of Friday.

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