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Hawaii Updates: 7 New COVID-19 Cases; Mayor Says Spike In Oahu Cases 'Concerning'

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Sandee Oshiro/HPR
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FILE -- Bicyclists, skaters and others enjoy the city's car-free Open Streets event along Kalakaua Avenue on June 21, 2020. The city plans to extend the Sunday event through July.

Where we stand

The Hawaii Department of Health reports seven new cases of COVID-19 in the state. Six cases are on Oahu and one case is on the Hawaii Island. The low case count comes after the weekend and several days of double-digit increases in daily cases.

The state's total case count now stands at 1,030 with 19 deaths. Oahu has 750 cases, Maui County has 128, the Hawaii County has 94 and Kauai County has 40. Eighteen residents have been diagnosed outside of the state. One-hundred nineteen people have required hospitalization and 781 people have been released from isolation.

Honolulu Mayor Concerned About Increase In Cases

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the recent spike in COVID-19 cases on Oahu is worrying, and whether the Hawaii continues to reopen as planned will depend on the number of infections the state sees.

The mayor spoke at the Open Street Sundays event on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki yesterday, when 25 new cases were reported, all on Oahu. They brought the state coronavirus case total to over 1,000 -- a local milestone in the continuing worldwide pandemic.

“I have to say it is disappointing and also concerning the number of cases that we've seen on Oahu as we started to thaw out our economy," the mayor said at a press conference. "You know, they've gone as high as 27, 28, 29 (daily cases) as we’re thawing out, and we haven't even welcomed visitors back to our shores.

"And really the Department of Health holds our future in their hands through testing, contact tracing, isolation and support. And now the test is on, right? -- as we open up and thaw out."

He said so long as the department can continue to manage the contact tracing caseload, officials will have the confidence to carry on with the phased reopening.

"But if they're unable to do it, that means we have to slow down. I don't think any of us want to not continue to open up and get our jobs back and get our lives back. It's really important that the Department of Health do their job, and what's really important is we do our job -- face coverings and physical distancing.”

The mayor also said if there are further cases, the city could close down one Summer Fun program after a worker tested positive at a Waipahu location.

The city says the employee was an administrator who was infected by her husband and had minimum contact with the 48 children at H?‘ae‘ae Community Park in Village Park. The program will reopen today.

About 2,000 People Arrive In The State

Yesterday, 2,066 people arrived in Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Of that number, 463 people were visitors, and 430 people were returning residents. 

Others that arrived in the state included 279 military members, 200 who are exempt from quarantining, 177 crew members, 114 travelers in transit, and 92 people who say they are relocating to Hawaii.

City extends Open Streets event in Waikiki

The Kalakaua Open Streets will be continued through the month of July. Under the program, the main road through Waikiki is closed to vehicles on Sundays to allow residents to bicycle, skate and patronize businesses that are opening up to residents.

Residents are about the only customers for Waikiki businesses right now since tourism, except for several hundred daily arriving visitors, has essentially shut down because of COVID-19.

Arriving visitors and returning residents are mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days under the state's emergency orders.

Starting on Aug. 1, the state plans to offer arriving visitors the option to avoid the quarantine if they can show a negative result from a test taken within 72 hours of their flight to the islands.

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.

State public libraries planning expanded pickup hours

The Hawaii State Public Library System is adding some evening and weekend hours to allow patrons to pick up materials they have ordered.

The libraries are not fully open but takeout services and computer use by appointment are continuing. The McCully-Moiliili and Liliha branches are under construction and remain closed.

“We’ve heard from many library patrons that want to pick up materials, but cannot visit our libraries because of their work schedules. As our community begins returning to work, we want to make sure more people have an opportunity to access library services, especially our families and students," said State Librarian Stacey A. Aldrich in a news release.

Materials can be reserved by looking up the library catalog online and then calling the branch where patrons would like to have their orders held for pickup.

Computer time reservations can be made online on the library website or by calling a library branch. Limited walk-ins may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. All equipment and high-touch areas are cleaned after each computer session.

Anyone entering a library building is required to wear a face covering, which shields both their nose and mouth. 

The library system is also extending use of its Ancestry Library Edition from home through July 31. More information on the research database is available at librarieshawaii.org.

 

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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