UPDATE (12:45 p.m.) – The number of COVID-19 cases identified and reported on Hawaiʻi Island has increased (from 3 to 5) since this morning’s report from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense. Full noon update is here.
(BIVN) – The number of COVID019 cases identified on Hawaiʻi Island remains unchanged at 3, the County of Hawaiʻi says, and there are no lockdown orders for the Big Island as of Monday.
Mayor Harry Kim spoke on today’s Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense message, saying:
On policies for Hawaii Island, there are no changes for any policies on closures of beaches, government programs, and status for state and county employees for the island of Hawaiʻi.
There may be some misunderstandings this morning as counties on Maui and Oʻahu have initiated for their counties some changes over the weekend. The governor has been working with all counties on a state proclamation to bring cohesion on policies for this state.
This is expected to be completed and in effect by Wednesday, March 25th.
For your information the number of confirmed cases for Hawaiʻi Island remain unchanged at three. Two are quarantined at home and closely monitored by the Department of Health. They are reported to be in very good condition. The third has fully recovered and returned home on the mainland. All three contacted the virus while on the mainland.
For your information, the county of Hawaiʻi governmental of programs of cleansing and prevention is out in force 7 days a week and will continue.
This is a community issue and it will take a community effort to keep Hawaiʻi you safe. As a community, practice everyday measures of prevention and most important to keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy. The community of Hawaiʻi thanks all health care providers for your dedication and sacrifice for our safety.
The mayor’s message on Monday provides some insight into his failure to respond to a Hawaiʻi County Council resolution urging the administration to initiate a lockdown on the Big Island in order to slow the spread of the virus. Following Sunday’s “stay-at-home, work-at-home” orders issued by Honolulu and Maui, Puna councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz expressed her concerns in a written and recorded statement.
I asked Mayor Kim to provide the Council with a decision on the 15 day lock down resolutions by end of day Friday, March 20. He asked to give him until midnight, and I obliged.
The entire community was watching Friday’s emergency meeting. We all felt assured he would make a decision that put public health first. I’m sad to say that he has not provided the Council with any updates over the weekend. What we got Friday was a statement announcing closure of all beach parks and shoreline access. Where does that leave families like mine who rely on fishing to feed their ‘ohana?
After the Governor’s presser announcing a 14-day quarantine for residents and visitors arriving to the islands, Mayor Kim weighed in during a live interview with KWXX. He praised the Governor for this step, and it is a welcome one, but in and of itself does not go far enough. The Mayor continues to maintain the a shutdown is detrimental to the health and welfare of our community. He urges folks to make the judgement for themselves to isolate and social distance. He said to trust in the County government’s judgement.
I am part of County government and I unequivocally and respectfully disagree with the Mayor’s call on this. It’s not popular to speak out so openly and honestly, but the Administration must know that the Council, all of our State Legislators, the medical community, the public-at-large is not on board.
The modeling done by CovidActNow.org shows we have precious little time to act. All other counties across the state have used this tool to frame their policies and decisions; they have invoked emergency rules, ordering people to stay home except for essential activities. How dire and desperate does Hawaii Island’s situation need to get before harsh steps are taken?
We don’t want strong suggestions, and to hope people do the right thing. We need strong, clear direction so have a fighting chance to survive.