The Latest: 3 Deaths, 310 New Cases; 30 More OCCC Inmates Test Positive; Surge Testing Continues
Updated: 8/29/2020, 4:30 p.m.
Where we stand
Hawaii Department of Health today reported three more deaths and 310 new cases. The latest case count brings the state's total to 8,139 and deaths to 62. Of the new cases, 263 are on Oahu, 39 on Hawaii Island, 7 in Maui County and 1 on Kauai.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said today in his daily Instagram video that he's concerned about the Big Island cases. He said 17 out of 24 Intensive care unit beds on the island are occupied, a couple of them with COVID patients. He also said 17 individuals are in the hospital in Hilo, which represents a large increase for the island.
Green called the current postivity rate of about 10% a significant number, one that is monitored to see whether cases are coming down. He said 272 indiviuals are hospitalized, a number that he said is stable.
"So keep our fingers crossed that that number begins to drop as we've been in the stay-at-home order," Green said. He urged people to wear masks and avoid any groups.
With the newest cases, the total COVID-19 counts stand at 7,410 on Oahu, 330 in Maui County, 318 on Hawaii Island and 57 on Kauai. One Maui case was removed from the counts based on updated information.
Yesterday, four deaths were reported. Three of the deaths were Oahu residents and one a Maui resident. Two of the Oahu fatalities were men who had been hospitalized with underlying conditions. One was 70 to 79 years old and the other was older than 80 years old. The third Oahu death was a woman, age 70 to 79, also hospitalized with underlying conditions. The Maui death was a woman over 80, who was hospitalized with underlying health conditions.
Gov. David Ige has cautioned that as results return from the surge testing underway, there will be increases in the number of new positive cases. The free tests, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are running for 14 days at various locations around Oahu. No symptoms or doctor's order are required, but officials urge those who want to be tested to register at doineedacovid19test.com.
Check the site for times and locations. A major testing site is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday on the H-3 Freeway, which will be closed in both directions.
Today's positvity rate stood at 9.6%, meaning of 2,757 tests given, 9.6% or 265 were positive.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said he would like to see daily case counts drop to the 25 to 50 after his latest stay-at-home, work from home order runs for two weeks. This is the second time the city has imposed a lockdown.
Among the latest cases:
• Thirty more Oahu Community Correctional Center inmates and 4 OCCC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, the state Department of Public Safety reported today. This brings the total number of OCCC inmates testing positive to 286, 78 who are active, and for staff up to 57, 45 of whom are active. Halawa Correctional Facility also reported one additional staff member testing positive. One inmate and one staff earlier tested positive. All three are active. Meanwhile, under the Hawaii Supreme Court order to release certain inmates from state correctional facilities because of COVID-19 and overcrowding, another 29 inmates were released yesterday, including 8 on Kauai, 5 on Oahu and 16 on Maui.
Correction: A previous version of the story contained an error in the name of the Department of Health and Human Services.
New app required of all travelers starting Sept. 1
All travelers will need to download and use the new Safe Travels application to report required health and travel information, the state announced.
The app asks for information about the traveler, including a phone number and address.
The application can be found at https://travel.hawaii.gov.
Safe Travel is one of several requirements for travel to and in Hawaii and will replace the paper forms for interisland and trans-Pacific travel. Temperature screening on arrival and secondary screening if a traveler's temperature is 100.4 Fahrenheit or higher are in place and pre-flight COVID-19 tests to avoid the mandatory quarantine are planned.
Travelers are enouraged to set up their accounts in the app ahead of time and then submit health information 24 hours before departure. They will then receive a QR code via email that can be on their phone or printed out so that it can be scanned at the airport.
The app can also generate automatic quarantine check-in reminders by email and text messages.
The state says the app will give the health department information to protect the public's health and provide the state attorney general's office and county police with information to enforce quarantine rules.
The app was developed by Google and its partner SpringML for $638,000 in federal CARES Act funds, according to the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services.
Maui mayor approves production of 'Temptation Island'
Trade Winds Production has received approval from Mayor Michael Victorino to film the show "Temptation Island" under COVID-19 safety procedures.
"Our first priority continues to be for the well-being of our local residents and workers," Victorino said in a statement. "We have received the production company's extensive safety protocols and precautions, which includes having a team of doctors, nurses and medical professionals on-site for the duration of filming."
The cast and crew flying into Maui are required to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours before their flights. Only those testing negative are allowed into Maui, the mayor's announcement said. They will be transported directly to the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort to complete a modified seven-day quarantine.
The cast and crew will also be tested on day 5 and 6. If both tests are negative, they can complete their seven-day quarantine and be allowed to work on the production. Those testing positive will be isolated and evaluated by a physician.
Anyone working on the show will wear KN95 masks during the production, except when eating or in their rooms.
The production has exclusive use of the Andaz Maui, but the beach remains open to the public. Resort workers who chose not to return to work will still be eligible for unemployment.
Hotel workers were given the option to stay at the resort within the isolation zone of the production. Those who return home cannot interact with the cast or crew and will be subject to additional daily testing.
Hawaii State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson said the production is expected to spend about $7.5 million on Maui, which she said equates to about 4,500 visitors on the island.
DOH issues red placard to Kealakekua restaurant for COVID-19 violation
The Korner Pocket Bar and Grill, operated by Anahkahna Inc., received a red placard after a health inspector observed two employees in the kitche who did not wear face masks.
This came after the the state Department of Health's food safety branch five days earlier gave the owner a warning letter for failing to have tables spaced six feet apart and a worker who did not have a face covering.
The establishment, located at 81-970 Haleki‘i St. in Kealakekua on the Big Island, wass forced to close on Monday, but allowed to reopen after a follow-up inspection.
The placard was the first issued to a food establishment for a COVID-19 violation.
900 nurses respond to call for hospital nursing staff
An urgent call for nurses issued by the state and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii representing hospitals drew 900 responses, HAH said. The need of nurses is acute beause of the increasing hospitalizations for COVID-19.
Recent nursing graduates who have not taken their licensing exams can get waivers, allowing more experienced nurses to care for sicker patients.
Additional healthcare workers can apply by completing a survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HRN.