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Honolulu mayor will not shut down businesses or limit gatherings amid the increase in COVID-19 cases

Casey Harlow / HPR
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi (FILE)

Despite the increase in COVID cases on Oʻahu, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said his administration will not be shutting down businesses or limiting gathering sizes.

He highly encouraged residents to receive their booster shots if they haven’t already, saying it is the best way to stay protected.

"Make no mistake about it — we have the hammer in this deal, and we will drop the hammer if we have to," Blangiardi said at a press conference. "What we’re asking now is for compliance."

"We’re asking people to understand where we are under the circumstances and help fight back through this disease. And the best way people can fight back through this disease is for the third time and not the final time, to get a booster," Blangiardi said.

Only 26% of Oʻahu residents who are eligible for boosters have received the third dose.

Hawaiʻi COVID-19 dashboard as of Dec. 30, 2021
Hawaiʻi Department of Health
Hawaiʻi COVID-19 dashboard as of Dec. 30, 2021

As of Thursday, Oʻahu had a seven-day average daily case count of 1,460 and a test positivity rate of 16.3%. There were 95 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Wednesday.

Hawaiʻi set an all-time record for new coronavirus cases on Thursday as the state reported 3,484 new infections. There has been a sharp and steady increase of new cases in Hawaiʻi over the past 14 days. The state was averaging just over 100 new cases a day at the beginning of the month.

The University of Hawaiʻi system said it would hold most classes online when the semester begins in January.

But Hawaiʻi public school students will be in classrooms when the new term begins on Jan. 4. Interim Hawaiʻi School Superintendent Keith Hayashi said that while there are concerns about rising numbers of COVID cases, the benefits of in-person learning on students’ social and academic development are equally important.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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