(BIVN) – There were 211 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi as of noon on Thursday, health officials announced.
Most of the new cases were on Oʻahu. On Hawaiʻi island, there were seventeen (17) newly reported cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 227.
There were four new deaths reported statewide.
UPDATE – (3:50 p.m.) – From the Hawaiʻi Department of Health:
Hawai‘i’s COVID-19 death toll rises to 79 with the passing of four (4) more O‘ahu residents, two men and two women. All had underlying health conditions. One of the men and one of the women were older than 80. Another man was in the 60 to 69-year-old age group, and the other woman was in the 70 to 79-year old age group.
The State of Hawaiʻi still counts three deaths on Hawaiʻi island, although both Hilo Medical Center and the County of Hawaiʻi report four (4) deaths have occurred in connection with the cluster at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.
UPDATE – (4 p.m.) – Hilo Medical Center later on Thursday reported a 5th death at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. HMC wrote:
1 death at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home occurred on Wednesday, September 2 in the early evening and was not included in yesterday’s update. 5 total deaths related to COVID-19 with significant, underlying health issues. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of these veterans who served our country.
A total of 46 residents and 15 employees of the home have tested positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday evening, Hilo Medical Center reported 9 total COVID-positive patients are hospitalized. Four (4) are in the ICU, five (5) in the COVID Unit.
UPDATE – (4 p.m.) – Mayor Harry Kim announced on Thursday the opening of a Central Command Post to expand operations to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Hawai‘i County. The County stated:
The purpose of the umbrella organization, under the Mayor’s Office, is to better coordinate programs of County, State, and Federal agencies, and private sector entities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aunty Sally Kaleohano’s Luau Hale is being converted into an emergency operation center, which will house staff from County and State agencies…
The operations center will be tasked with, but not limited to:
- Public education
- Contact tracing
- Monitoring of incoming passengers
- Quarantine/isolation facilities
- Care facilities
“The Governor’s Office and the State Department of Health, along with County and other State agencies will be part of the Command Center,” Mayor Kim said. “We will all be working as a team on the same goal: to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to keep our people safe.”
Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense issued a second radio message on Thursday afternoon, reflecting the new State numbers. Civil defense said:
COVID-19 update as of noon today. The number of active cases, on Hawaii Island, reported and monitored by the Department of Health is two hundred and twenty-seven (227). There are seventeen (17) new cases of Coronavirus on Hawaii Island. All individuals associated with a gathering at Milolii have been identified and contacted by the Department of Health. All positive cases from this cluster are now isolated and being monitored by the Department of Health. The investigation of this cluster is ongoing. At this date, for Hawaii Island, eight (8) are hospitalized and four deaths have been reported.
In efforts to control the spread of the Coronavirus on Hawaii Island, the following are in effect:
· Effective September 4th through September 19th all beach and shoreline parks are closed. The activities of exercising, fishing, food gathering, use of restroom, shower facilities and access to the ocean will continue to be allowed. Call Civil Defense at 935-0031 for more information.
· Increased testing will continue throughout the Island. Remember the purpose of testing is to identify positive cases as early as possible and in this way help stop the spread of the virus and to provide early treatment. Turn-out and the patience of the public has been very good. Thank you!
· The Hawaii County Police Department will continue their enforcement of the preventative polices.
We need everybody to be responsible and follow the preventive policies of face coverings, distancing, and gatherings. With your help, we can stop the spread of the virus to keep your family, friends, and neighbors safe.
UPDATE – (3:55 p.m.) – The State says it has secured an additional week of federal unemployment benefits. From the Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Joint Information Center:
Gov. Ige and DLIR Acting Director Anne Eustaquio announced Thursday that Hawaiʻi was approved for an additional week of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. This adds one additional week of a $300 plus-up for various types of unemployment benefits on top of the three weeks initially approved by FEMA on August 29. Gov Ige said, “This will bring an extra week of relief to many who are still unemployed due to the impact of the coronavirus on our economy. I’m taking this action to maximize all available federal funds to help people in Hawaiʻi who are unemployed because of COVID-19.” Eustquio said, “The DLIR is working to build a new program within the unemployment computer system to implement and pay LWA benefits. In conjunction with FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor concerning program administration, the state will work diligently to complete this process as quickly as possible.”
To qualify for the $300 benefit, recipients must be eligible for at least $100 in weekly benefit and must certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Payments would be retroactive to August 1, 2020. Claimants will be notified by email and through a news release on how and when to file their self-certification.
Unlike the FPUC program that ended in July, LWA is a grant with a finite amount of funding. When FEMA exhausts its grant funding, it will no longer have the resources to provide LWA payments and the program will end. If the federal program does not exhaust the LWA grant funding, payments will end on Dec. 26, 2020.
UPDATE – (4:10 p.m.) – The County of Hawaiʻi says applications for the Coronavirus Relief Fund, providing business and nonprofit grants, are now being accepted. This media release was issued on Thursday:
The Holomua Hawaiʻi program will distribute up to $22 million in Hawaiʻi County’s CARES Act funding in the form of one-time reimbursement grants up to $10,000 to county businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Holomua Hawaiʻi is a reimbursement grant program for costs incurred from business interruption due to the COVID-19 Emergency Proclamation on March 23, 2020, for the time period when the applicant was impacted.
The County of Hawaiʻi has selected Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union to lead this Holomua Hawaiʻi grant program in collaboration with the following credit union partners: Big Island Federal Credit Union, CU Hawaii Federal Credit Union, Hawaii County Employees Federal Credit Union, Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and HFS Federal Credit Union.