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Learning new rules

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A line of people forms Wednesday morning as shoppers wait to enter a big-box store in Puhi.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Retired Senior and Volunteer Program participant Feifei Gao and Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank warehouse supervisor Rizaldy Tolentino practice social distancing as presented in the mayor’s Emergency Rule No. 5 while packing for the Backpack program that will be delivered Friday as requested by the schools during the shutdown.

LIHU‘E — The number of positive COVID-19 cases on Kaua‘i rose to five Wednesday, as Hawai‘i health officials announced the one death linked to COVID-19 in Hawai‘i wasn’t actually related to the virus.

A worker at the state laboratory mistakenly recorded the negative test as a positive, the director of the laboratory told Associated Press Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, six new cases were reported statewide, bringing the number of Hawai‘i cases to 95.

Mayor Derek Kawakami re-emphasized the bottom line of this Emergency Rule No. 5, which localized Gov. David Ige’s statewide stay-at-home order, a rule that took effect Wednesday just after midnight.

In a nutshell, the rule is meant to keep the general public at home in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

”Everyone should be staying home. We know this virus is spreading in our community, and the more we interact with one another, the faster it spreads,” Kawakami said Wednesday. “Think of it this way: The less we move right now, the quicker we can get back to normal.”

Grocery stores and outlets like Costco and Walmart are allowed to be open under the emergency rule, with strict limits on the number of people allowed in the stores at any one given time, as well as implementation of the six-foot, social-distancing rule. Class sizes are limited to five in one room for schools under the rule. Banks and financial institutions are allowed to remain open, and mail will continue.

Other exceptions include health-care services, facilities and medical students; farming and the distribution of goods; subsistence and commercial fishing for fish sales, but not recreational or sport fishing; “essential” services, trades, activities and organizations; and outdoor exercise, like surfing or dog-walking — though only with members of the same household and following social-distancing guidelines.

“Essential” is defined in the rule in varying ways depending upon the subject, but generally refers to activities, trades and organizations that are needed for things like critical infrastructure, emergency response, recovery efforts and government function.

In total there are 33 exceptions to the local Emergency Rule No. 5.

“Yes, the rules get into very-specific guidelines and exceptions, but let’s break it down this way,” Kawakami said. “Stay home. As much as you can, stay home.”

Wednesday, a county spokesperson confirmed zero warnings or citations have been issued by Kaua‘i Police Department in relation to breaking the 9 p.m. to 5 am. curfew or the mayor’s stay-at-home order. Police Chief Todd Raybuck will be updating the public on enforcement of those rules today, the spokesperson said.

Ige has ordered all travelers arriving in the island to quarantine themselves for 14 days, starting today.

Wednesday, health officials said most who have tested positive for COVID-19 traveled out of state or had been exposed to someone who traveled. A total of 4,658 tests have been conducted in Hawai‘i to date, the state Department of Health said.

The mistaken report of a COVID-19-related death was related to a sample tested at the state laboratory on Monday, after a private laboratory test generated inconclusive results for the specimen. The state laboratory test returned a negative result, yet an analyst wrote it down as being positive, Edward Desmond, the laboratory’s director, told Associated Press.

A supervisor failed to catch the error, he said. The DOH reported the incorrect result Monday evening.

“We’re deeply apologetic about this. And we see the seriousness of it. And we don’t want it to reflect badly on the Department of Health or the state government,” Desmond told a hearing of the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19.

On Kaua‘i, Kawakami said Wednesday the five individuals with COVID-19 on Kaua‘i are all in isolation — four adult visitors and one adult resident.


Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or

  1. LMat March 26, 2020 8:47 am Reply

    Way too many exceptions to the stay-at-home mandate. Renders it absolutely pointless.

    1. xMan March 27, 2020 9:48 am Reply

      Oh don’t worry. Total & complete lockdown might be coming soon. Just gotta get everything in place.

  2. Charlie Chimknee March 26, 2020 10:46 pm Reply

    Vote for me, I’ll set you free…in a couple of weeks.

    Home of the brave (we’re not scared), Land of the Free…!

  3. Mrs. Goodcookie April 2, 2020 9:36 pm Reply

    Garden Island, i just love the selection of picture for this post. It shows everything you are not supposed to do. Lovely. Why can’t you ever seem to get these pictures right? I see this picture, and there is no way I would go anywhere near costco. Just look at that. over 25 people in it, crowded around each other like mice at a parmesan cheese festival. Are you serious? Is this responsible reporting? And that went out in full color print newspaper? Are you kidding me?

    I just do not understand what is happening in your editors chair. Is no one actually looking at things with any sense of moral responsibility? Or was the picture used to show just how crowded costco is, and how they are not doing any social distancing, and no one in the public is wearing any kind of masks over their faces, and the aereosolization of that place must be a million droplets per square foot of air inside there!

    Why isn’t the garden island reporting that the new guideline is to wear masks, and what about the new findings that even speaking or breathing for heavens sake can transfer it! Look at those people, and take out at least 10 that will be exposed after getting much needed food!

    Why not use groups of people who have tested negative, or gone through the virus already and are immune, to go to the store for people? Do not tell me that all the people in that picture aren’t spreading it all over the place! Costco is irresponsible for allowing so many people in the store! I can only imagine what it must be like to shop in there right now! Horrors! That goes for aqll the other big stores as well. People, what part of stay home don’t you get! Christs Thumbs, get a grip! And it seems as if everything is now exempted so whats the poplint? Everyone has to work then, and everyone comes in and breaths all over them and they go home to their families!

    Its time for the national guard and a complete shutdown. Listen, we didn’t have any stores like this after Iniki. The military fed us rations three meals a day. now, that’s tricky with this virus, but i can see going neighborhood to neighborhood lining up spaced apart and getting a decent hot meal. people just want to go on and be just the same. None of you remember we did this before. You are all very forgetful. Shame.

    We do need to get food. but we need to do it in small groups in an orderly manner, distancing!

    Your newspaper should have a section on the online platform, that runs updates 24/7! People go online first before picking up a paper. People are wary of paper now, because it can pick up the virus. letter carriers are getting sick. So, people will read the online editions more. Do like the other newspapers are doing, so you can update things like, “The virus is now aerosolized in the air, and breathing and speaking can pass it!” “wear a mask, the guidelines have changed!” “the virus can live on money and coins, put your money on a cashcard!” Stuff like that! And a running total of how many cases in the state, and deaths.

    Everyone is packing the store. sheesh. Its insane. Shame on everyone in this picture. Dont be going “Oh look, I made it into the newspaper, there I am!”., Yeah. There you are. right next to the other guy and the other guy sharing all the delicious closeness of trying to pack in there all at once.

    On the positive side. These people are not inside but outside, and the report did say the wind might disperse it quickly. Which is awesome when there are tradewinds.

    gonna suck when the tradewinds go away. Just saying. I don’t mean to be harsh but my goodness, really?

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