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The Latest: 3 Deaths, 66 New Cases; Lanai's Count Rises By 9 As Stay-At-Home Order Takes Effect

lanai_masks_ap__1_.jpg
County of Maui
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Masks are distributed at a testing event on Lanai on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.

Updated: 10/27/2020, 12:40 p.m. The Hawaii Department of Health today reported three deaths and 66 new COVID-19 cases. The count for Lanai , which is seeing an outbreak that has locked down the island, increased by 9 cases to 87 in total.

The latest count brings the total number of COVID cases during the pandemic to 14,773. The death toll rose to 215.

Oahu had 50 new cases, 3 for Hawaii Island, 2 for Maui, 9 for Lanai, and none for Kauai County. Two more cases were diagnosed out of state. One case from Oahu and one from Lanai were removed from the counts due to updated information.

Oahu has now had 12,913 cases, Hawaii Island 1,233, Maui 403, Molokai 17, Lanai 87 and Kauai 62. Fifty-eight cases have been diagnosed out of state. 

Results from Saturday's mass testing of about 1,000 people on Lanai were "extremely good," Mayor Michael Victorino said, but he declined to disclose details yesterday, saying he would do so today after a closer review of the numbers.

Lanai had no recorded cases of the coronavirus before its first cases were reported last week.

As of this morning, a stay-at-home order and travel restrictions are in effect for Lanai after Gov. David Ige approved Victornio's request for a lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus.

Asked during his daily video update if he thought cases on Lanai would run into the triple digits as Lt. Gov. Josh Green has predicted, the mayor said he would not guess at what might happen.

"I'm not into speculating. I'm watching the official numbers as they come across and right now hospitalization has not been needed by anyone to this point," he said.

According to Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz, the health department attributes the Lanai outbreak to a couple of large social gatherings.

"This shows how quickly the virus can spread when we attend large parties and refuse to wear masks or physically distance ourselves from others," Baz said.

The stay-at-home order requires residents and visitors to remain at home or in their lodgings except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping and medical appointments. Only one member of a family should leave home at a time, the county said, unless children or those who are disabled cannot be left alone.

Interisland and intracounty travel are restricted to essential work or medical purposes under the order. All others who arrive on Lanai are required to quarantine for 14 days.

The stay-at-home order remains in effect until Nov. 11 but it could be extended if needed. Essential workers traveling to Lanai can request limited quarantine using a form on the Maui County website.

Victorino also said of 537 voluntary second tests taken by travelers after their arrival in Maui County recently, only one tested positive. He said the results show that travel is not a major contributor to positive cases in the county compared to community spread.

Caldwell calls for another rail plan to avoid loss of federal funds

 

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants the HART rail authority to adopt another plan to finish the transit line to Ala Moana.

Caldwell last month pulled the city from a public-private partnership known as P-3 to build the last four miles of the route, citing high cost and delays.

The city and the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation will need a plan for the final leg by December 30th or they risk losing $250 million in federal funds.

The mayor says HART’s CEO Andy Robbins has to stop pursuing the public-private partnership, and start working with the city.

"At this point, we’re kind of up to the end of the line. If they continue to proceed and not listen to the city administration, the City Council, the majority of the [HART] board, I don’t know what else is left for us to do. But they’re going to hit a wall, and we can lose the $250 million," the mayor said.

 

"There’s not a lot of time left -- it’s two months and a holiday season with Thanksgiving kicking in. And it’s just going to be harder to have hearings and schedule things, and we’re gonna run out of time. And then who knows what happens."

 

Robbins said in a statement the public-private partnership is still the best plan moving forward.

HART’s board of directors meets today to decide how to proceed with the project.

--HPR's Casey Harlow

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