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The Latest: 0 Deaths, 78 New Cases; Teachers May Get Special Attention In Surveillance Testing

ap_coronavirus_covid-19_testing_sample_hawaii_department_of_health.jpg
Associated Press
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In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Hawaiʻi Department of Health microbiologist Mark Nagata demonstrates the process for testing a sample for coronavirus at the department's laboratory in Pearl City, Hawaiʻi.

Updated: 11/2/2020, 3:10 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported no deaths and 78 new COVID-19 cases today. The total infections since the pandemic began now number 15,231.

Oahu had 65 new cases, Hawaii County 4, Kauai 1, Lanai 1, Maui 2 and Molokai none. There were 5 new cases diagnosed out of state. The death toll stands at 219.

There have been 13,250 cases on Oahu, 1,304 on Hawaii Island, 410 on Maui, 100 on Lanai, 66 on Kauai, and 17 on Molokai. There have been 84 cases diagnosed out of state.

On Lanai, a stay-at-home order remains in effect after an outbreak that stemmed from large gatherings and household transmission.

About 400 people Lanai on the island were tested Saturday in a second surge screening at the old Dole Administration Building, according to Maui County.

Results from the two surge testing events are expected to increase the island's case count as they are reported.

Teachers returning from travel could be tested in surveillance program

There may be a stronger focus on testing Hawaii’s public school teachers who travel -- under the state’s passenger surveillance program.

The program aims to randomly test 10 percent of travelers four days after they arrive in the islands. The idea is to see if the Safe Travels pre-travel screening is working in detecting most COVID-positive cases.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green says he wants to expand the program to specifically test teachers who return from trans-Pacific trips.

"I do hope to offer it to all teachers that have traveled to assess whether there's any additional risk for our classroom. I expect there will not be," he said. "But it's another way for us to provide some assurance to our people that we're operating safely and that as we go back to work -- in this case, teachers will be going back to work in person at some point -- that we can have a good picture of what their COVID risks are."

A state Department of Education spokesperson says the plan isn’t yet finalized but surveillance testing could cover entire school communities, including staff, students and their families.

There is $1.5 million in federal funds to conduct surveillance testing through the end of the year.

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Hawaii already submitted more votes than in 2016

More Hawaii residents have already voted in this year’s election than did in the 2016 contest.

At the end of last week, over 484,000 Hawaii residents had already voted, surpassing the 2016 turnout even before Election Day.

 

Tomorrow is officially Election Day but with Hawaii conducting the election entirely by mail, except for limited in-person voter service centers, Nov. 3 is more like the end of a weeks-long election.

 

If you haven’t already mailed your ballot, don't. In Hawaii, ballots must be received by the elections office by 7 p.m. tomorrow, which means it's now too late for the mail.

 

But ballot deposit boxes on each island are available and will accept ballots until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check the state's elections office map for ballot deposit box locations.

 

If you haven’t yet registered, same-day registration and in-person voting are available at a limited number of voter service centers around the state. Locations can also be found on the election office map

 

--HPR's Ryan Finnerty

State to launch expanded COVID-19 dashboard

The state's emergency management agency (HI-EMA) and the Department of Health plan to launch an expanded data dashboard this afternoon on COVID-19.

The dashboard, which launched in September, already had certain information about the coronavirus in Hawaii, such as the percentage of mask-wearing by county and statewide testing.

There will soon be county-by-county hospital resources, such as ICU beds and ventilators, as well as daily visitor arrivals, tax revenues, unemployment claims and bankruptcy filings.

The data will also be available on mobile devices.

“In addition to virus data, this new COVID-19 dashboard will provide a single site where users can find data on Hawai‘i’s economy, as well as additional information on travel, tourism and how hospitals are coping with the pandemic,” said HI-EMA Administrator Luke Meyers in a news release. The agency will maintain and update the dashboard.

Health Director Libby Char said the dashboard is evolving. "Measuring our progress, preparing, and planning for our entire state involves much more than counting positive cases," she said. "We appreciate HI-EMA's work to enhance and maintain the data dashboard."

--HPR's News Staff

Local businesses getting help with online listings

A small group of volunteers are trying to help local businesses build their online brand for free during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaiiverse started in 2016 as a video project documenting historical and cultural sites on Hawaii Island.

Hawaiiverse co-founder Jared Kushi says when the pandemic began affecting the state, the group shifted its focus to local companies and the community.

Kushi says the group is working with the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and filmmakers and photographers at Propeller U.S.A to help businesses reach new customers. 

"The beauty of it is that once we create the initial listing, they get full control over their listing," he said. "So think of it as a profile page for that business. And they can log in anytime, change the type of coupon they’re offering, change the business hours, if they move locations, even upload new pictures to keep them updated. So we’re actually giving them an online presence if they don’t have one."

Hawaiiverse only showcases Hawaii Island and Oahu businesses so far. But Kushi hopes it will soon expand to feature businesses across the state.

More information can be found at hawaiiverse.com.

--HPR's Casey Harlow

 

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