26 cases confirmed

LIHU‘E — Hawaii’s newly created Special Senate Committee on COVID-19 held its first meeting Thursday, as the state Department of Health confirmed six new cases of COVID-19.

Airport Division of the Department of Transportation agreed with the committee’s recommendation to include a new 14-day quarantine of any airline passengers and urged Governor David Ige to put the plan into action immediately.

The plan will require hiring or reassigning approximately 500 people and cost approximately $1 million per month.

While Kaua‘i remains at two cases, Hawai‘i Island is still at one case, O‘ahu is now at 18 cases and Maui is now at five cases, for a total of 26 confirmed cases in Hawai‘i.

Officials say the two individuals who tested positive on Kaua‘i are still recovering in isolation.

“The 10 today were results of extensive testing and analysis by private labs around the state,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, DOH director.

“We have now over a thousand sample results over the past week or so. That’s contributing to our total database,” he said. “All of the cases as far as we know have a travel history or are individuals that have been exposed to someone that has been traveling.”

Anderson said there is no evidence of extensive community transmission in the state. DOH has completed a second round of testing as part of its surveillance program.

“We received no reports of any positive test among those individuals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Josh Green tightened up recommendations Thursday, saying everyone should stay home with the exceptions of those getting food or seeking medical care.

He repeated some of Gov. David Igue’s suggestions Wednesday to stop the spread of COVID-19. Green also added a few of his own. Suggestions included limiting non-essential travel to Hawai‘i through April 30, quarantining anyone who flies into Hawai‘i for two weeks and completing isolation for every positive COVID-19 case.

Green also said Thursday the state continues to work with the National Guard to set up extra hospital support statewide, and is working toward airport screening, as well as ordering more masks and swabs.

Hawai‘i state Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara has been confirmed as having COVID-19, the first positive case at the Hawai‘i State Capitol building. The Legislature has suspended the current session in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a Thursday memo about the confirmed case, Senate President Ron Kouchi recommended that all Senate offices close until further notice.

“Senator Clarence Nishihara has informed me that he tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Nishihara has informed me that he is awaiting contact from the Department of Health to begin investigative tracing of the virus,” Kouchi said in the memo.

Speaker of the House Scott Saiki also weighed in on the pandemic Thursday, sending the governor a letter of request for more immediate action.

In that letter, Saiki also recommended a quarantine for people arriving from outside Hawai‘i, that all nonessential travel be prohibited, and that all schools and childcare centers be closed. Saiki also recommended:

w Institution of an immediate statewide shut down for the next 15 days;

w Ordering all people in Hawai‘i to shelter in place for the next 15 days and take necessary steps to ensure that the supply chain for basic necessities — food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, cargo and public safety — is secure;

w Ordering the securing and requisition of any needed hospital and medical supplies that are necessary to assist with the coming need to treat individuals due to COVID-19.

“The directives from the lieutenant governor and mayors are mere recommendations. As governor, you are the only person in the state who has the direct authority to institute these actions. I implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety and welfare of all the people of Hawai‘i,” Saiki said.

The state Department of Education announced public and charter schools will remain closed to students through Monday, April 6.

Here are some highlights of what to expect before school is reopened again:

w April 3: Custodians, principals and administrators return to work;

w April 4-5 (weekend): Custodians continue deep cleaning of campuses;

w April 6: Teachers return to work to prepare classrooms;

“The goal is to begin instruction on April 7 whether teachers will be at home or in their class,” said Dr. Christina Kishimoto, DOE superintendent.

”We are looking at different formats, like pamphlets of homework, distance learning and web hubs. We will be discussing these plans and will be prepared to make announcements in these next few weeks,” said Kishimoto.

The County of Kaua‘i’s curfew which Mayor Derek Kawakami announced begins today. The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily until further notice. To avoid a $5,000 penalty fee or a year in jail, county officials advise everyone to stay at home during the curfew hours.

Exceptions to this curfew include driving to or from home to work during the curfew hours, picking someone up from the airport and seeking medical attention. More information about the curfew and exceptions is available at kauai.gov.

Ige supports the mayors, he said, and stated his thoughts in a Thursday press release.

“The mayors understand the unique needs of their communities and are putting in place restrictions and guidance that best meet those needs,” the governor said.

”Their efforts align with CDC guidelines and the direction provided by the state Department of Health and the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. They have my full support and commitment to continue to work cooperatively as we move forward in our efforts to fight COVID-19,” said Ige.

“One of the best ways to show aloha for each other at this critical time is to refrain from being in large gatherings and to keep a safe, healthy distance from each other,” said Anderson.

“You may be healthy, but others around you may not be as fortunate. By practicing social distancing, you’re limiting the potential for exposure to any illness in your household and protecting everyone in our community,” said Anderson.

”We all need to consider the health and wellbeing of others, especially seniors, those with preexisting health conditions and others whose health may be compromised.”

The Thursday DOH press release reiterated that individuals who are not sick should not be tested even if they have been exposed to COVID-19.

Individuals who are sick with respiratory illness (fever and cough or shortness of breath) and who are at a higher risk for severe respiratory infections (kupuna, those with chronic medical conditions including immunosuppression) should call their usual source of health care to discuss whether they should be tested for COVID-19 and/or other infections such as influenza.

According to the DOH:

w A provider’s referral is required to receive testing;

w Those without providers may call an urgent-care center or community clinic in their area.

Anyone having difficulty breathing should seek medical care immediately. If possible, call your health-care provider first.

The DOH recommends other people with mild illness should help protect the most vulnerable and conserve precious supplies by practicing social-distancing measures, monitoring their illnesses, and calling their health-care provider if their symptoms worsen or persist.

•••

Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

6 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee March 20, 2020 12:26 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,
    350,000,000…that is 350 million Americans…and just 150 people died so far from CoVid19 virus, is only a fraction of a %. Like 0.00000152 %.

    The dead from the virus are predominantly those people on multiple prescription drugs, the already sick with obesity, diabetes, lung and heart diseases, weak immune system, etc., and those also killed by medical errors while being treated for this new virus. And Others get infected but are without symptoms, or only undergo mild symptoms, and worldwide 80,000 have already gotten over the virus and have even developed natural immunity to the virus as a result of confronting the virus.

    cBut people are freaking out, in panic over this virus pandemic…but not a word is mentioned on any day of people who die of heart, lung, and stroke diseases, Cancers, diabetes, obesity, etc, and others with autism, Parkinson’s, and dementia. No mention of those dying or those ill in epidemic proportions from the common avoidable by diet…chronic degenerative diseases.

    Yearly US seasonal flu infections by person to person contagion are a few million Americans of which usually 25,000 to 35,000 die annually, though this year it has only been 16,000…still sadness all around.

    And another US EPIDEMIC being IGNORED: Ralph Nader, has been tracking medical deaths in hospitals for maybe 2 decades and now using MD’s as the researchers has found repeatedly that 5,000 Americans die in US hospitals from medical errors, doctor inattention, misuse of drugs, death during anesthesia for surgery and other procedures at the rate of 5,000 American citizen’s Deaths per WEEK, MAKING IT 250,000 medical deaths per year caused by hospitals and doctors at the 6,000 hospitals in America…and nothing mentioned in the media, no measures taken to prevent this…in 10 years this 2,500,000 dead peor by error or bad medical methods.

    Yet 150 dead people so far by virus brings on emergency quarantines, lockdowns, business closures, paranoia, food hoarding, Rushed Race to dangerous vaccines, curfews, travel restriction, etc., and while all that may be reasonable; what in the heck allows tolerance of the other medical atrocities going on, much less the Big Food atrocity provided at our stores wherein our foods are saturated with toxic chemicals, and dangerous disease causing carcinogenic petrochemicals used for medicines: all the while more and more Americans are getting diseases that are more and more able to be prevented without drugs…these are chronic degenerative diseases.

    The CoVid19 virus may be a disaster, but the current food, drugs, and medical malpractice and errors already are a disaster, and clearly a joke that no one is laughing at.


  2. LMat March 20, 2020 7:52 am Reply

    So, all cases in Hawaii have stemmed from outsiders traveling in, but, you can break curfew if you’re picking someone up from the airport…!!! WTH is the point of the curfew!! And WHY are we still letting tourists in!!!!!


  3. sarahbernhardt March 20, 2020 6:22 pm Reply

    Oh good old charlie kimchee. hehe been seeing your comments for years. you are a real peice of work. i take it you are a Ralph Nader fan. You also like to throw around those subtle racist insults too. much like your handle. as for the other poster, you answered your own question.

    We have a curfew so the person you picked up at the airport who just came from an infected area which means anywhere on the planet right now and comes home, actually stays home and doesn’t go out partying and brings home the virus to tutu who was very good to you your whole life and then she dies. Also, that person will be going into a 14 day lockdown anyways. If you are exposed so will you.

    Did you know an entire family in Italy died in one night? yes that happened four members and two were in their 40s. this virus morphs its never been seen in humans before and it is morphing quickly now that it has been introduced. its not going to be even recognizable as the original disease once it is done, and it looks like its going to hit younger and younger people.

    Also if doctors and nurses in the 30s and 40s are dying from it imagine what that means. Do you have any friends who are nurses aids, ? They are putting their lives on the line. TO save our collective you know whats . And yes I agree with you. we need to stop them but the governor is dragging. and i voted for him. we have a great young mayor listen to him and pay attention and do what is asked without complaint

    It also frees up the roads and the community so that police and essential workers like doctors and nurses and food deliveries can handle everything, and be safe. IT causes less issues for the police to deal with, and allows essential workers to actually work and do their job. and it prevents community spread.

    Did you know that last night there were almost 700 new cases just during the night? DId you also know that a 14 year old died from it, and that the cases in Italy are much younger that originally thought and that those cases are requiring hospitalization which means it isn’t really “mild”.

    This is not pneumonia and it isn’t the flu. It is something far worse and more deadly. It will take deaths on Kauai for you to wake up. Be lucky if it isn’t someone you know.
    Grow up and take it seriously./ Your person to be picked up will be required to be 14 days in lockdown.

    now if you were taking it seriously ok. i take that part back. look everyone is confused right now but our mayor is the best one so far. the whole state is praising him for this curfew.

    we had one before people just forget because it was a long time ago. I have seen comments about that and i concur those comments. Derek is doing something much better. notice when this is over that our deaths and numbers will be much lower than any other island because he didn’t wait and took precautions now. He is young, so why aren’t the young listening? No make sense.


  4. crusty opihi March 20, 2020 6:25 pm Reply

    sarah i think that 700 was in italy. you forgot to put that in there. so i just am correcting that. Also, i think it was 675 last night overnight in Italy.


  5. kauai resident March 20, 2020 6:40 pm Reply

    I’m not worried about the corona virus. I’m worried that the citizens of Kauai just had the civil liberties taken away at the drop of a hat… all out of fear, from a virus that has been hyped up in the media to be more than it really is. I’m worried that our country and this island can slide into a situation where the government is god even though it is known to be fraught with corruption an incompetence. Fear from a virus that has been reported to be man made, maybe by our gov’t or by china’s … now step out into the streets tonight and our loving govt can lock you up in jail for one whole year… all in the name of your personal saftey


  6. notahippi March 20, 2020 7:05 pm Reply

    just keep visitors out and we will all be protect able to work and go when and where we want/


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