Bracing for Douglas amid pandemic

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP

    This satellite image taken late Thursday shows Hurricane Douglas, right, churning in the Pacific Ocean heading towards Hawai‘i, left.

LIHU‘E — While there are currently zero active cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i as of Friday, Hawai‘i reported its second day of record virus cases Friday, with a single-day record of 60 new COVID-19 infections reported.

And as the state works to respond to the rising virus count, officials and residents are also preparing for the arrival of the first hurricane of the season.

Anticipating wet and windy weather, Gov. David Ige gave people in quarantine a little caveat to the rules — but only to get supplies.

“If you are in quarantine, to the extent possible, please have supplies and materials delivered and lean on friends and family to help build your supply kit,” Ige said in a statement Friday. “As a last resort, you are allowed to break quarantine, but only to procure necessary supplies and materials.”

He directed anyone in quarantine, if they must go out, to practice physical distancing, wear a mask, and minimize time outside the home or place of lodging.

“If possible, utilize curb-side pickup and similar options. To the extent possible, you should shelter in place. If you need to seek emergency shelter, please do so,” Ige said.

The majority of cases reported on Friday are on O‘ahu, with one case on Maui and one case being a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed out of state.

In a Friday announcement, state Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson said, “We’re concerned that this relatively high level of cases is persisting on O‘ahu.

“Some of the cases we’re reporting today are associated with existing clusters, known cases and household spread, but others are new, unassociated cases that indicate increasing community spread,” he said.

”In contact tracing, we continue to identify cases connected with gatherings or just hanging out with close friends. Until we all recognize the importance of physically distancing from people outside of their households and wearing masks, we face the prospect of even higher numbers.”

Emergency-management professionals across the state are working to ensure emergency shelters can accommodate social distancing and are stocked with the personal protection equipment needed to keep residents safe while sheltering from the storm.

At shelters, evacuees will have their temperatures checked for signs they may be infected with the coronavirus. People who have been quarantining themselves, either because they recently traveled to Hawai‘i from out of state or because they have been exposed to someone with the virus, may go to a shelter if their housing situation is unsafe.

John Cummings, public information officer for the Honolulu Emergency Management Agency, told Associated Press Friday that those with high temperatures or a travel history will either be isolated at that shelter or taken to a different site.

At about 5 p.m. Friday, Hurricane Douglas was 665 miles southeast of Hilo. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane. Douglas was moving northwest at 20 mph.

It’s expected to weaken as it passes over cooler water. But meteorologists warn strong winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous surf could afflict the entire state beginning Saturday.

Douglas is expected to be either a Category 1 hurricane or a strong tropical storm when it nears the eastern end of the state.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch for both the Big Island and Maui County, meaning hurricane conditions are possible in those areas within the next 36 to 48 hours.

NWS staff said Friday that weather advisories could be issued for Kauai in coming days, as the storm passes by the islands. Total rainfall accumulation is forecast to be between 6 and 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible.


Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or Associated Press contributed to this report.

  1. DA July 25, 2020 10:32 am Reply

    Time to reinstate a 14 day quarantine for people coming from Oahu.

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