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Hawaii Updates: Count At 371; Hawaii Guard To Help At Airports; 2nd Molokai Case; Uptick In Visitors

Flickr / versello
Flickr / versello

Updated: 4/5/2020, 9:18 p.m.

The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases now number 371, up by 20 from the previous day, according to the state's latest daily update. The death count stands at four.

Oahu has 281 cases, Maui 43, Big Island 22 and Kauai 16. There are seven pending investigation and two cases were diagnosed out of state. Twenty-one cases have required hospitalization.

The health department said the number of travel-related cases are dropping and there is greater concern about community spread. Eleven of the 20 new cases are associated with travel and two are community-related. Kauai is the only county without community spread and Lanai has no reported cases.

An East Oahu man over 65 years old is the fourth person in Hawaii to die from the coronavirus, state health officials said yesterday. 

The fourth death was an adult over 65 years old who passed away yesterday morning, the health department said in its daily noon update. The man may have been exposed to someone who traveled and had been hospitalized, the health department said. 

As of Feb. 28, Oahu has seen 266 cases, Maui County 38, Hawaii Island County 22 and Kauai County 15. Eight are pending investigation and two were diagnosed out of state.

The third coronavirus-related death in Hawai?i was University of Hawaii botany professor Art Whistler, UH President David Lassner said in a message to university faculty and staff.

Whistler was known for his work in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific islands. "He was a scientist, naturalist and educator who touched the lives of students, colleagues and communities throughout the Pacific," Lassner said.

Whistler appears to have been infected on a trip to Washington state and was hospitalized after his return. His death is the first for the university.



Hawaii National Guard to help with airport medical screenings


Hawaii National Guard members will be at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and Hilo International Airport starting tomorrow helping to screen passengers and airline crew members. 


Their presence at Kahului, Lihue amd Kona airports will follow soon, the state said in a news release.


The unarmed Guard members will be stationed at arrival gates and security check points assisting the state Department of Transportation. By tomorrow, 342 will be activated to support the state and counties in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Arriving passengers on domestic and international flights as well as interisland passengers who are departing will have their temperatures checked to see if they have symptoms of the virus.


Molokai records its second coronavirus case


Molokai has its second reported case of the coronavirus, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced. The person is an employee at Molokai's Friendly Market Center, where the island's first coronavirus case also worked.


Maui officials said they asked the store employees to be tested following the first case and the second employee turned up postive.


"I have been told that all employees at Friendly Market Center have immediately self-quarantined and that the store will be closed until April 20," the mayor said in a news release.


Molokai's first case is an adult male who may have contracted COVID-19 while traveling and was hospitalized on Oahu as of last week.


Victorino said he and other Maui officials are working with local businesses to sanitize their buildings and surrounding areas. He said services and goods will continue to be provided to the island.



More visitors arriving despite quarantine


The Hawaii Tourism Authority says 106 visitors arrived in the islands yesterday, this despite a mandatory quarantine imposed on arriving travelers that took effect on March 26.


Three of Hawaii's mayors have called on Gov. David Ige to support a shutdown of the airports to nonessential travelers, but he has rejected the request. Ige said he talked with federal officials and was told passengers can't be prevented from taking flights to the islands.


The 106 visitors represented a slight increase from the day before for the second day running and were among 683 arrivals. They also included 220 residents returning to the state, 204 crew members, 60 intended new residents such as returning students, and 93 transiting travelers.


Yesterday's visitors arrived on Oahu (78), Lihue (18), Maui (8) and Kona (4).


Around this time last year, the state was seeing about 30,000 daily arrivals.


The HTA's numbers do not include interisland travelers, who also fall under the quarantine order.

Kauai mayor says 'no tolerance' for any who break quarantine

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said the county has received reports of individuals not abiding by the state's mandatory quarantine.


In his daily video report yesterday, Kawakami charged a few people were jeopardizing the work of everyone who is sacrificing their jobs and freedoms. 


Yesterday's updates: Visitors continue to arrive; No airport closures; Third man arrested in quarantine case


"When everybody is putting their own personal needs aside as a community effort -- to have a few folks undermine this operation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," he said. He called the reported quarantine breakers "covidiots."


He said if people don't abide by the quarantine, the health department can get a court order to force compliance.


Kauai only has travel-related cases and no community spread, Kawakami said. But he said the crisis is like a slow hurricane and the state is not through the eye yet. 



This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest developments in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.

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