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Hawaii Updates: Another Death Tied to Maui Memorial; Visitor Arrivals Spike, Airport Concerns Raised

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Updated: 5/3/2020, 12:03 p.m.

Where Hawaii stands

Health officials today reported another coronavirus-related death at Maui Memorial Medical Center, bringing the state's death toll to 17. The Maui woman had been at the hospital since late February and became infected in mid-April.

While the coronavirus is not believed to be the primary cause of death due to the woman's other serious illnesses, it may have been a contributing factor, the health department said in a news release.

“With the pending reopening of businesses, we urge everyone to continue doing what they’ve been doing -- stay at home, unless it’s necessary to go out, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and wear masks," said Health Director Bruce Anderson. "For now, this is our new normal, in order to protect each other and prevent the spread of the disease.”

The health department said today that after data cleaning, duplicates were removed from the counts and the statewide number is 620, up 2. Hawaii has seen a run of single-digit daily increases, continuing a trend that is spurring efforts to reopen the state. 

Oahu's case count is now at 400, Maui County stands at 116, Hawaii County at 74, and Kauai at 21. Nine were diagnosed out of state.

Jump in arrivals, airport screening gaps flagged

Arrivals to Hawaii yesterday rose again with 188 visitors among over 800 travelers coming to the islands on that day, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today. On Friday, the state saw 223 visitors among 700 arrivals. The tourst counts have increased despite a mandatory 14-day quarantine that some visitors have not observed.

Twenty-seven visitors were ordered to leave the state because of quarantine violations or because they lacked lodging, the state Senate's COVID-19 committee said in a news release. Another 330 have been referred to law enforcement.

On Friday, members of the committee visited the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to watch how arriving passengers are processed and their places of lodging verified.

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: Case count p by 1. Unemployment claims still backlogged. Governor joins Western states' pact. UH dorm students get quarantine reprieve.

Committee members have pointed to a gap in the process that allows visitors to cite reservations that are fewer than the 14 days required under the quarantine order. Screeners are also not calling residential addresses, which could include illegal vacation rentals.

As the number of tourists increase when Hawaii reopens to visitors, senators question whether the state can ramp up its screening to process 30,000 daily tourists, which was the count before the pandemic.

The Senate committee is expected to reconvene this week.

Two cited at Sacred Falls State Park

Two visitors were cited at the closed Sacred Falls State Park Friday by law enforcement officers, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Kaylah Myers, 22, of New York was cited for violating emergency rules, which include a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving tourists. Her companion, Samuel Gillespie, 23, who is with the U.S. Army and stationed at Schofield Barracks, was cited for being in a closed area.

Sacred Falls has been closed since May 1999 after eight people died and many others injured in a rockfall near the waterfall. 

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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