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Hawaii Updates: State Exceeds 1,000 COVID-19 Cases; Summer Fun Worker Tests Positive

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State Department of Health
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Updated: 7/5/2020, 1:35 p.m.

State health officials today reported 25 new COVID-19 cases. With 1,023 total cases, Hawaii has now marked a milestone.

Among today's new cases, 24 were on Oahu. One case was deducted from the county's total after information was updated. Oahu's case count now stands at 744, Maui County's at 128, Hawaii County's at 93 and Kauai County's at 40. A total of 18 residents have been diagnosed outside of Hawaii. One-hundred eighteen people have been hospitalized and 777 have been released from isolation.

The latest death announced Friday was an elderly Oahu woman with underlying health conditions, according to officials. Her passing brought the state death count to 19.

Oahu's recent cases have been scattered throughout the island, with confirmed cases in Honolulu, Kailua, Mililani, Pearl City, Wahiawa, Waialua, Waianae, Kaneohe, Waimanalo and Waipahu.  The widening distribution of cases signals that the virus has spread on Oahu and is no longer confined to just a few communities.

Back in March, travel was more of a risk factor. Now, community spread is a larger worry.

Officials continue to urge residents to take safety precautions during the July 4th holiday weekend. They advised people to stay at home among those in their household and, if they go out, to wear face masks and socially distance.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday amended the city's COVID-19 emergency order and mandated face coverings indoors and, in some cases, outdoors.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson told KITV there are now nine positive cases tied to the Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant training. The health department is also monitoring another cluster of cases  involving people who gathered and shared food at a potluck.

Anderson also said he recently signed an agreement with CVS for pre-flight testing as the state prepares to allow some quarantine-free tourism on Aug. 1. Visitors who can show a negative result from a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight would be spared the 14-day self-quarantine required for all arrivals.

Meanwhile, the count of positive cases among residents at the Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center increased by one last week. The state's largest skilled nursing facility now has 12 residents who have tested positive, seven of whom have been hospitalized, according to Hale Nani's website. Six staff members have also tested positive.

City says worker at Summer Fun park site tested postive

A city employee at the H?‘ae‘ae Community Park in Waipah?'s Village Park has tested positve for COVID-19. The city Department of Parks and Recreation said the case was reported this weekend.

According to officials, the worker had minimal interaction with the Summer Fun children and was wearing a face covering and gloves. She did not show symptoms and is self-isolating at home.

Forty-eight children and five staff members were present during the first two days of the program before it took a break for the July 4th holiday. It will resume again tomorrow.

All of the children, families and staff are being offered free COVID-19 tests at community health centers if their insurance plans do not cover the cost, said Mayor Kirk Caldwell in a news release.

“This employee exhibited excellent judgment both in their regular use of personal protective equipment and the expedient manner in which notifications were made to supervisors and those contacted in the last few days," he said. "This is a prime example of how important it is for everyone to wear their facial coverings, and how this simple act is one of the easiest and most important things we can all do to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

The department said it had implemented safety procedures at the Summer Fun program before the incident and will continue to follow the guidelines. These include daily temperature checks, frequent use of hand sanitizers, physical distancing whenever possible and face coverings.

Man dies after falling from boat off Fort DeRussy

A surfer saw a man in distress in the water yesterday morning in Waikiki and attempted to resuscitate him while alerting emergency personnel. 

Honolulu ocean safety, emergency services and the fire department found an unresponsive 55-year-old man who had fallen from a boat off Fort DeRussy, said a city spokewoman by email.

The man was brought to shore where emergency responders continued rescue efforts but he could not be revived and was pronounced dead.

As of late yesterday afternoon, ocean safety had conducted 92 rescues, including 52 on the East Shore, with Sandy Beach being the busiest; 23 on the South Shore, 12 on the West Shore and 5 on the North Shore.

Kauai man arrested after refusing to wear mask in store

Kaua‘i police arrested a Kapa‘a yesterday after they said he refused to wear a mask in a North Shore store and got into a verbal fight with an employee. Police say he allegedly threatened to leave the store and return with a gun.

Police arrested Ryan Buley, 34, on charges of terroristic threatening and harassment.

According to early reports, Buley entered K?lauea Market at 1:30 p.m. without a mask as required under COVID-19 emergency orders. After the altercation in the store, he left the market but police tracked him down and took him into custody.

He was released after posting $5,150 bail. His court date on the felony charges is set for September.

Hundreds of visitors continue to arrive 

On Saturday, 2,099 people landed in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, including 687 visitors and 607 returning residents. 

Among the arrivals were 237 crew members, 125 transiting travelers, 204 military, 77 travelers exempted from quarantine, and 162 passengers relocating to Hawaii.

The state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine remains in effect through July. On Aug. 1, those who can document a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their flight can skip the 14-day self-quarantine. More information for travelers is available on the health department's website.

This is a developing story. Please check back for upates. Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest COVID-19 developments and the state's phased reopening. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.

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