(BIVN) – The State of Hawaiʻi reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 statewide at noon on Monday, bringing the cumulative total to 387. Of those cases, 7% have required hospitalization, and over 80% were residents returning from other areas.
Today, the state also reported the 5th death connected to the coronavirus pandemic; a Maui man over 65-years-old. The state health department is still investigating the circumstances behind the man’s death but it’s believed he had underlying medical conditions. “He did have exposure to travelers, but it’s not known whether this was a risk factor associated with his death,” the state reported.
One (1) of the new cases is a minor (below 18-years-old) and the other 15 are adults. Five (5) of the new reported cases are travel-associated, two (2) are community related, and nine (9) are unknown at this time.
Governor Ige Extends Condolences
Gov. David Ige, today, extended his deepest condolences to the familes and friends of the latest Hawai‘i residents who passed away due to COVID-19. The governor said it is with a heavy heart that one of our O‘ahu neighbors passed away on Saturday, and then another tragic loss with the passing of a Maui man. Governor Ige commented, “It is extremely heartbreaking each time we learn of another resident who passes away from this virus. We are reminded daily of the devastating effect this virus is having here at home and across the country, where it is devastating communities in states like New York, Washington, Louisiana and California.” He said, “We can’t let this happen here. We need to stop the spread. We need to stop it now. The coronavirus has no boundaries.”
Hawaiʻi County Numbers
The state added one new case to its total for Hawaiʻi County (23), although the total cumulative number of cases according to Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense – which has maintained a higher count (25) – says there has been no increase. The county said on Monday morning:
On the COVID-19 status, the total number of people tested positive from day one for Hawaii Island is 25. From this, 20 have been cleared by the Department of Health. The remaining 5 are quarantined at home and are being monitored by the Department of Health.
To keep Hawaii safe your help is needed. We expect those that always take care of us to always be there. Please do your part by following the policies of ‘Stay at Home’, social distancing, gatherings, and your good health. Let’s all protect each other.
Thank you for listening and know how lucky we are to be here on Hawaii.
Hawaiʻi Passenger Arrivals By Air (HTA)
Yesterday, 583 people arrived in Hawaii including 126 visitors and 233 residents. In comparison, during this same time last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors. The state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine started on March 26th for all passengers arriving in Hawaii from out of state. The order was expanded on April 1st to include interisland travelers. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.
Testing for Critical Infrastructure Workers
A medical team has been established in partnership with the Emergency Operations Center to complete COVID-19 testing for critical infrastructure workers. This team is comprised of healthcare workers from across the state and will immediately activate to test critical infrastructure workers, like healthcare providers, EMS, police, firefighters and other others, should they be exposed to a COVID-19 positive case without wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or develop COVID-19 symptoms themselves. This team is an essential resource in the fight against COVID-19 because it allows quick identification and isolation of possible cases of Hawaii’s front-line workers.
Face Masks Are No Substitute For Physical Distancing
Across the state, customers and staff at pharmacies, supermarkets, and take-out food establishments are wearing cloth masks and using physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many local and national chain stores have established controls on how many customers can enter a store at one time. The Joint Information Center has produced a printable store-front poster to further encourage physical distancing, aimed at flattening the curve of new COVID-19 cases. Download the poster here.
“I’m pleased to see how quickly people are responding to the guidance to use face covering in addition to physical distancing and only going out for essential reasons,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “We urge all essential businesses to immediately implement physical distancing measures, throughout their operations, not just at the check-out counters. Wearing a cloth or fabric mask complements other critical measures and can prevent spreading the disease to others.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health (DOH) have recommended wearing a cloth face covering in public places, like stores and at takeout food establishments, masks are not a substitute from physical distancing.
“Physical distancing is still the most effective way of preventing the spread of this disease in Hawai‘i,” said Anderson. “If you aren’t used to wearing a mask, it’s difficult to remember not to touch your face when putting it on or adjusting it. It is so important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands to prevent catching the virus.”
The CDC guidance emphasizes that maintaining 6-foot physical distancing remains important for slowing the spread of the virus. Masks are primarily considered an infection source control measure designed to keep sick people from spreading their germs to others. Masks complement physical distancing. They are not a substitute for stay-at-home orders and probably less effective than frequent handwashing and simply staying a safe distance away from other people, who may be infected and not know it.
“It’s alright,” Anderson added, “to politely remind others to practice good physical distancing, even when they’re wearing a mask.”
New Website for Mental Health, Homeless Service Providers
Today, the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group (BHHSURG) launched a website to ensure the continuity of coverage of essential health and homelessness services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website features resources for providers who work with mental health and homeless populations, including provider Q&A webinars, weekly newsletters, updates from partners, and guidance on using telehealth and personal protective equipment. The site also contains information for clients and consumers, such as guidance on everyday prevention and how to access services. The goal is to enable providers and the people they serve to find answers to common questions and to provide them with updates to behavioral health homelessness and other social services during this challenging crisis.
“This website will help us stay connected to our providers and the community, allowing us to share important COVID-19 news and guidance statewide,” said Eddie Mersereau, Deputy Director of Behavioral Health at the Hawai‘i State Department of Health. “Behavioral health and homelessness services remain essential during this worldwide pandemic and will be vital far beyond its resolution as a result of economic, social and psychological impacts.”
The BHHSURG was formed to oversee the majority of the state’s public behavioral health and homelessness services systems. Partners include the Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration, the Governor’s Office, Department of Human Services’ Homeless Program Office, and all four counties.
To view the website or to subscribe to the BHHSURG newsletter, visit bhhsurg.hawaii.gov.