(BIVN) – The number of presumptive positive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi remain at 2, officials say. 7 people are under investigation with testing pending, and 45 other people under investigation have tested negative.
As of Friday afternoon, 27 individuals are self-monitoring with public health supervision. Of those, 24 are on Oahu and 3 are on Maui.
The following updates on the COVID-19 pandemic have been provided by state and county officials:
According to the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense: “President Trump has issued a National Emergency Declaration which will enable needed resources, removes obstacles, and increases testing capacity to battle the coronavirus pandemic affecting the United States.”
Civil Defense on National Travel Policies
The President announced effective at midnight, foreign nationals who have been in Europe in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States and that all US citizens, permanent residents, and family members returning from Europe will be subject to extra screening and 14-day self-isolation.
Before traveling, review Travel Advisories and Alerts for Destination(s). The State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide specific advice to travelers on their websites.
Guidance on Public Events and Group Gatherings (DOH)
To protect the public’s health and wellbeing, the Hawa‘i Department of Health is recommending large, crowded gatherings or public events that include 100 people or more be postponed or canceled. These events include concerts and conferences, as well as professional, college and school sporting events. The Department of Health is recommending smaller gatherings held in enclosed spaces that do not allow social distancing also be postponed or canceled or held virtually. When possible, attendees should be no fewer than two-arms-length or six feet apart. Elderly adults and those with underlying health conditions who are at a greater risk for COVID-19 or respiratory illnesses should avoid attending large public gatherings.
Clarification of COVID-19 Test Candidates (DOH)
COVID-19 testing is not intended for all residents. Testing those who are well or at low risk for exposure is not an efficient use of resources. To ensure judicious use of resources, healthcare providers statewide are triaging and determining if their patients meet the criteria to initiate COVID-19 testing. Patients must have a physician’s order to be tested.
This week, the Department of Health issued a medical advisory with risk assessment and management guidelines to healthcare providers to identify patients who are most at risk for COVID-19 infection. Those considered at high risk are those who have been living with an intimate partner, or is caring for a person who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Those who are at medium risk are those who have traveled to an affected country or state, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, within the past 14 days; has had intimate contact with a confirmed symptomatic person; or has had close contact with a symptomatic person without precautions.
Testing at the DOH State Laboratories Division is being conducted on Persons Under Investigation who are at high or medium risk.
Persons who are considered low risk are those who have been in the same indoor environment such a planes and restaurants without having close contact with a confirmed symptomatic person.
The Queen’s Medical Center – Punchbowl
The Queen’s Medical Center- Punchbowl has established a triage center. A tent has been set up to conduct COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Only symptomatic people at risk will be tested. The tent is only for those with mild to moderate flu-like symptoms. Patients that need any significant level of care will be triaged into the main emergency room. Other healthcare facilities, including those on the neighbor islands, are also have plans to establish similar COVID-19 testing sites.
Community Surveillance Testing Program
The first samples collected from the community surveillance program are being tested this week. The program, announced earlier this week, is being conducted in collaboration with the CDC. The tests are being conducted at the Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division.
The Department of Health will be testing samples from patients with respiratory symptoms that have been collected by doctor’s offices and outpatient settings statewide. The results will enable the state to identify and notify persons who test positive and take additional actions to try to stop the spread of the virus. The Department of Health will contact the provider and patient in the event of a positive result and provide further guidance.
Cruise Ship and Cargo Shipping
Department of Transportation Harbors reports that Cargo Shipping between the west coast and interisland will NOT be interrupted and Harbors will REMAIN OPEN to continue the movement of freight.
The Department of Transportation also reports that the majority of cruise ship companies are ceasing operations for the health and safety of all concerned.
DOH says Matson is continuing operations without interruption. Te company reported:
All Matson operations continue uninterrupted. Matson intends to maintain all service schedules as normal with three arrivals a week to Honolulu and twice a week calls to each neighbor island port. Matson is committed to taking all appropriate steps to ensure the continuation of services, including the deployment of reserve vessels if necessary to continue meeting the needs of our customers. Matson is monitoring developments closely and ensuring compliance with all United States Coast Guard and local, federal and international government reporting and prevention directives for maritime operations. Matson also has frequent and regular communication with the United States Coast Guard and Hawaii State Department of Transportation regarding commercial port operations.
Hawaiian Airlines today announced it will reduce flight capacity systemwide in April (by 8-10 percent) and May (by 15-20 percent) in response to declining demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Extended Hours for Public Calls to AUW 2-1-1 on COVID-19
Aloha United Way has extended its public call center hours to 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., 7 days a week. For more information or questions about COVID-19:
Call 2-1-1 from any location in the state
Visit health.hawaii.gov/covid19 or coronavirus.gov
- Yesterday the Merry Monarch and County of Hawaii announced the cancellation of the 2020 Merry Monarch Festival as an important issue concerning the health and welfare of the people of Hawaii.
- The Ke Kai Ala Foundation, host of the Kona Brewers Festival, has decided to postpone the 25th Kona Brewers Festival anniversary celebration due to global COVID19 concerns. The event was set for March 14, 2020.
- (ADDED) The Kailua Village Business Improvement District has cancelled the Kokua Kailua Afternoon Stroll scheduled for this Sunday, March 15.
- The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) in conjunction with its member leagues – the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF), Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH), Kauai Interscholastic Federation (KIF), Maui Interscholastic League (MIL), and the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) – announced that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all interscholastic competition will be suspended indefinitely based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat.
- The March West Hawaiʻi Communiy forum has been cancelled.
- The Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) is suspending all public events at the Hawaii State Capitol, Hawaii State Art Museum, Washington Place, and other facilities it manages beginning Monday, March 16. Events at DAGS facilities are tentatively set to resume on May 15.
- Mokuaikaua Church announced today it will postpone its 200th birthday celebration planned from March 30 through April 4 due to coronavirus concerns. The church will reschedule the festivities at a later date.
- The Department of Health has cancelled the public informational meetings on the Hawaiʻi Beach Monitoring Program that were previously announced and scheduled for Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.