Hawaii issues stay-at-home order for Lanai after outbreak
HONOLULU — Hawaii’s governor has implemented a stay-at-home order and travel restrictions for the island of Lanai beginning Tuesday because of an outbreak of coronavirus infections.
Gov. David Ige signed the order Monday requiring residents and visitors to remain at home or where they’re staying except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping.
Travel to and from Lanai, which is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is 9 miles (15 kilometers) from Maui, is expected to be restricted to essential workers or for medical purposes, while anyone arriving on the island must quarantine for 14 days.
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said the order would remain in effect for two weeks but could be extended if the number of cases keeps rising on Lanai.
The state Department of Health reported 79 infections there as of Monday, but officials predicted the figure could grow. Lanai had not reported any cases before last week.
The number of cases could be higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
Straub Medical Center in Honolulu and the Hawaii National Guard planned to send personnel to help with testing.
Social distancing to slow the spread of the virus is a challenge for residents crowded at home and elsewhere, Victorino said.
“All they have to do is one person gets sick and it transmits very quickly throughout the community because they go to the same churches, they don’t wear masks as often or as they should,” Victorino said. “I think that’s something that’s been really negligible on their part. But we’re now trying to educate them.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.