(BIVN) – There were no newly identified cases of COVID-19 in all of Hawaiʻi, the state health department reported at noon on Friday, keeping the statewide cumulative total at 629.
The cumulative total number of cases on Hawaiʻi island remains at 74. “From this, 72 have been cleared as recovered with the remaining 2 quarantined at home and monitored by the Department of Health,” the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense agency reported this morning. “At this date, for Hawaii Island no one is hospitalized.”
Statewide, 566 of the 629 cases have been released from isolation. The state health department clarified that number “includes cases that meet isolation release criteria, have died, or have left the jurisdiction.” Isolation should be maintained until at least 3 days (72 hours) after resolution of fever and myalgia without the use of antipyretics OR at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset, whichever is longer, health officials say.
Health Official Says “Likely Just A Lull”
After posting the noon update showing there are no newly identified cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi, state officials quickly issued a media release, cautioning everyone to remain vigilant. The release stated:
Today is the first day since the Hawai‘i Dept. of Health (DOH) began identifying new positive cases of the coronavirus on Feb. 28, 2020, that the state has not reported any new cases. While this is good news, it does not mean, in any way, the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
Hawai‘i State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, “We have seen a steady decline in new cases over the past several weeks, although today we’re at zero, we want to maintain these declines. As businesses reopen, as people become more active and travel more freely, we will inevitably see an increase in cases.” Health experts indicate that while Hawai‘i is fortunate to have this pause, it should be used to reassess response capacity, preparedness plans, and to ensure the state is ready for a second and potentially larger wave of the disease.
Of particular concern now, is Hawai‘i residents resuming travel to the mainland, particularly to COVID-19 hotspots. Dr. Park explained, “Travel continues to pose a risk for the spread and reintroduction of the coronavirus. This risk is not just posed by visitors. Residents can actually pose a greater risk by unknowingly infecting others. When people travel for entirely appropriate and necessary reasons (work, healthcare, significant family events) they can inadvertently bring the infection home.” Park and other health experts say this is why it is critically important for everyone (visitors and residents) to observe the mandatory traveler 14-day self-quarantine. It protects our community.
The State is again emphasizing that Hawai‘i is not a “me first” culture, but a culture of “we.” This philosophy is what’s allowed control of the COVID-19 pandemic up until this point. Hawai‘i residents particularly respect our kupuna and others who may be more susceptible to this serious disease.
UPDATE: The Hawaiʻi Department of Health later offered a correction, saying that according to records, “testing at State Laboratories Division began on Feb. 28, 2020. On March 14, 2002 DOH reported two new positive cases. The last time, before today that 0 new positive cases were reported was March 13.”
The DOH says the “strongest defense we have against future, rapid increases in COVID-19 cases is dependent on everyone’s consistent observation of safe practices”, such as:
- Wear a mask when you are outside your home.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Keep a distance of 6 feet from non-household members.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces often.
- And stay at home when you are sick.
Jail Population Update
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the prisons or jails.
From the Hawaii Department of Public Safety:
From March 2 to May 8 there has been a substantial reduction in the jail population across the state. These reductions are due to the huge, up-front diversion efforts made by county police departments, PSD’s Intake Services Center Division and the State Judiciary. More recent, additional reductions are due to the collaborative efforts of the state public defender’s office, county prosecutors, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and the Supreme Court appointed Special Master, Judge Dan Foley.
Fishing Sector To Get Federal Help
From the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources:
Hawai‘i’s struggling fisheries could be getting some help. On Thursday, the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $300 million in fisheries assistance funding provided by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). This funding is to states, tribes, and territories with coastal and marine fisheries who have been negatively affected by COVID–19.
The DLNR and its Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is currently in the process of developing a spending plan, which, if approved by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will allow fishery participants to apply for financial relief from Hawai‘i’s $4.3 million portion. “This is welcome relief for our struggling local fisheries,” said Brian Neilson, DAR Administrator. “Unfortunately, it will only cover a fraction of the economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so we continue to encourage residents to support our local fishers and seafood producers as much as possible.”
Fishery participants eligible for funding include commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses. For questions about eligibility or the application: email@example.com.
“This new federal funding will help us maintain our supply of fresh ahi during this pandemic, ensuring Hawai‘i families will continue to have access to the locally sourced fish they rely on,” said U.S. Senator Schatz (D-Hawaiʻi)
OHA Approves $3 Million For Beneficiaries
From the Office of Hawaiian Affairs:
The OHA Board of Trustees today announced the approval of a $3-million emergency relief package to help individual beneficiaries as well as Native Hawaiian communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis.
“The last three months have turned our people’s lives upside down,” said OHA Chair Colette Machado. “OHA is doing whatever we can to help our families and communities hurt by this crisis. I thank my fellow trustees and administration for contributing to OHA’s relief efforts.”
Chair Machado continued: “To our beneficiaries, our hearts go out to all of you and please know that OHA remains committed to aiding our Lāhui. We are a resilient people who have persevered through tremendous adversity over the course of our history. We will make it through this by sticking together and eventually come out on the other side stronger than ever.”
For more information, visit oha.org/covid19.