Hawaii Updates: Weekend Curfew For Oahu; New Cases Slow; Maui Memorial Infection Control Rules
Updated: 4/9/2020, 4:52 p.m.
Starting tomorrow night and ending Monday morning, no vehicles will be allowed on Oahu roads between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., with a few exceptions.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard announced the trial curfew today. It's a ramp-up of enforcement during the current coronavirus crisis when residents should be staying at home.
Ballard says the department won't set up roadblocks, but it will have more officers patroling the roads overnight.
"So what does that mean? That means if you’re out there, then the officers may stop you. There are some exceptions to this. So for those people who are driving to and from work, for those people who are making deliveries, security vehicles, those who are picking up medication, and also, of course, anybody who needs to go to the hospital, or there’s an emergency. And, of course, you know, any of our first responders.
"So please, stay home. That’s all that we’re asking you," she said.
Officials will decide Monday whether the curfew will be extended until the end of the month, Ballard said.
The curfew is similar to one that's been in effect on Kauai since March 20.
As of Wednesday, HPD has issued 700 citations and made 41 arrests since the city’s stay-at-home, work-from-home order took effect March 23.
--HPR's Casey Harlow
Where Hawaii stands
The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases today number 442, up by 7 from yesterday, according to the state's latest daily update. That represents the smallest number of new cases in recent days. The death count stands at six.
Oahu now has 334 cases, Maui 57, Big Island 28 and Kauai 18. There are 3 pending investigation and 2 cases were diagnosed out of state. Forty-two cases have required hospitalization.
The health department said the number of travel-related cases is dropping and there is greater concern about community spread.
--HPR News Staff
Health Director: Maui Memorial didn't follow infection control protocols
Maui Memorial Medical Center failed to follow infection control rules, and that may have contributed to the outbreak there, Hawaii Health Director Bruce Anderson told state senators yesterday. The hospital wants his statements retracted.
About 15 hospital workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
They have been furloughed and were removed from the workplace, said Michael Rembis, chief executive officer of the Maui Health Care System that operates the hospital and five other health facilities.
Anderson said the cases began emerging in mid-March. It was only this week that the health department became aware of the cluster of cases and tied them back to the hospital.
He said the cases largely involved one wing of the hospital and that Maui Memorial remains open and continues to operate. Lt. Gov. Josh Green earlier in the day told the senators that eight of the employees worked in the hospital's oncology unit among medically compromised patients.
The source of the infections is unclear, but Anderson said the hospital's practices may have contributed to the outbreak.
“Maui Memorial has not adhered to the infection control rules that most hospitals around the state are, where they require masks for people who come to the building," Anderson said. Other hospitals like the Queen's Medical Center also require temperature checks for those entering the hospital and most don't allow visitors anymore.
"But Maui was not doing that," he said.
Anderson also said the notion that there's lots of personal protective equipment around wasn't the case at Maui Memorial. He said several people at the hospital contacted him and said the PPEs were rationed. Some had trouble getting masks and other equipment on occasion, he said.
He noted his remarks applied to Maui Memorial, and not statewide. "Most of the hospitals here are doing a terrific job,” he said.
HPR contacted Maui Memorial's communications director Lisa Paulson for a response to the director’s comments and we are awaiting a statement.
Earlier in the day, Rembis joined Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to announce the coronavirus had infected the hospital workers.
He said when the workers began showing symptoms, they were furloughed and tested and turned up positive. "So we're taking an abundance of caution. When anyone shows symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, we're furloughing them, and asking them to go home, shelter themselves and take care of themselves and ensuring they're all tested," he said.
The mayor said plans are in the works to move the workers to a quarantine site away from their families. The county was working to accelerate testing of other hospital workers and expedite the results, he said. The count also planned to redirect any available PPEs to the hospital for its staff.
--HPR's Sandee Oshiro
Maui screenings scheduled today, tomorrow
Maui County and the Premier Medical Group have scheduled drive-through screenings for the coronavirus -- today in Kahului and tomorrow in Hana.
Today's event is set from 8 a.m to 10 a.m. for first responders and health care personnel only at Keopuolani Regional Park. Starting at 10 a.m., the general public will be screened.
Enter the park through Wahinepio Avenue; left turns from Kaahumanu Avenue won't be allowed.
Tomorrow, the Hana drive-through screening runs from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for essential workers only in the parking lot across from the tennis court at the Hana Ball Park. Screening for the general public begins at 9 a.m.
Priority will go to those with symptoms, have travled within the last 2 to 3 weeks, live in three-generation households.
First responders and health care workers should bring their work IDs. All participants for both screenings should:
- Remain in their vehicles.
- Bring a valid ID.
- Be prepared to fill out informational sheets.
- There will be no charge, co-pays or deductible fees, but bring any insurance card.
Senators want tighter controls on arrivals
State lawmakers are asking the Ige administration to place tighter restrictions on visitors coming to the islands.
A special Senate committee met yesterday to discuss efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Senators repeated their concerns that visitors keep coming – and their disappointment in Gov. David Ige’s decision not to back a letter to President Trump asking he close down nonessential travel to the islands.
Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Director Ken Hara says he’s certain visitors are not following the order to self-quarantine.
"We may look at mandatory quarantine at a location that we control. So they arrive, we test them for their temperature, we put them on buses, and we take them to a hotel room and mandate the quarantine. So not self-quarantine. So that may be the next escalation in policy," Hara said, who said he and governor had a discussion on that.
Hara told the committee he will carry their concerns to the governor.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported another increase in arriving visitors. On Tuesday, 160 tourists came to the islands along with 239 returning residents.
--HPR's Casey Harlow
6 Pride of America crew members test positive
Sixl crew members of the Price of America, the passenger ship docked in Honolulu Harbor, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the state Department of Transportation announced yesterday.
Two crew members have been hospitalized and the other crew members remain isolated aboard the ship. About 500 crew members are on the vessel.
Those crew members who are healthy are being allowed to leave the ship to get to the airport for flights home. They are required to wear masks while traveling. When they arrive in their states, they will need to home quarantine for 14 days.
The Pride of American has had no passengers since March 14, when cruise lines suspended operations in response to the coronavirus.
PPE donations accepted today on Oahu
Homemade and unopened, store-bought personal protective equipment like masks and googles are being collected today at three Oahu locations:
- KROC Center in Kapolei: 91-3257 Kualakai Parkway, Ewa Beach. Today, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call (808) 682-5505 for information.
- Key Project in Kaneohe: 47-200 Waihee Road, Kaneohe. Today, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Call (808) 239-5777 for information.
- Kalihi YMCA: 1335 Kalihi St. Today, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call (808) 848-2494 for information.
For more information on the project, go to the state Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group website.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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