(BIVN) – There were 112 newly reported cases of COVID-19 in the State of Hawaiʻi on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic over 30,000 cases. Of that, nine (9) new cases were identified on the Big Island.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health says there have been 140 cases of COVID-19 reported on Hawaiʻi island in the past 14 days. Hawaiʻi County has seen an average 1.6% test positivity rate over the last 14 days, with an average of eleven (11) new cases per day.
On the health department’s zip code area map showing reported COVID-19 cases with onset dates in the past 14 days, there are three (3) areas on Hawaiʻi island showing totals of over 10 cases:
- 96720 (Hilo) – 51 cases
- 96740 (Kona) – 31 cases
- 96771 (Puna) – 12 cases
“The next community testing will be Monday when two district tests are scheduled in South Kona,” the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense announced. “One at Greenwell Park in Captain Cook. One at the Honaunau Rodeo Arena in Honaunau.”
Hilo Medical Center has opened vaccination registration and scheduling for individuals 16-years and older. A vaccination POD was held on Saturday, April 3, at the Edith Kanakaʻole Tennis Stadium. The County says individuals 16-years and older will also be able to register with other vaccine providers starting Monday, April 5. For a complete listing of all vaccine providers on Hawaii Island go to the Hawaiʻi County webpage.
$600k For Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home
The Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo will receive an estimated $600,000 in federal funding to support “improved facilities” and “continued operations” following the deadly COVID outbreak that occurred at the home last fall.
From U.S. Senator Brian Schatz:
“Last fall, Yukio Okutsu was understaffed and ill equipped to stop a deadly COVID outbreak. This new federal funding will help the home upgrade its facilities and ensure its workers remain on the payroll so that it can keep its residents healthy and safe,” said Senator Schatz.
This funding comes from a federal fund designated for grants to support each state’s share of total veteran residents in nursing home and domiciliary care. As the only state veterans home in Hawai‘i, Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home will receive at least $428,000 in new federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act and an additional $172,741.20 from the COVID relief package signed into law in December. The state will also receive funding to deploy strike teams to respond to outbreaks at long-term care facilities.
During a deadly outbreak of the virus at the Yukio Okutsu facility in September 2020, Senator Schatz called for and secured federal intervention and a change in management for the home.
Airline Calls For Updated Guidance
Hawaiian Airlines on Friday issued the following statement in response to updated travel guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine, the CDC said.
“We are pleased to see today’s CDC determination that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically without testing or needing to quarantine,” Hawaiian Airlines stated. “We are hopeful the state of Hawai‘i will update the Safe Travels program to align with these recommendations. The CDC’s guidance underscores the effectiveness of vaccinations, as well as the comprehensive health and safety protocols adopted by the airline industry. While we must all continue to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and each other, it’s time to restore freedom of travel to allow families and friends to reconnect and generate crucial economic activity.”