Hawaii Updates: 28 New Cases; State Sued Again For Quarantine Order

Jul 19, 2020

Updated: 7/19/2020, 5:12 p.m.

The Hawaii Health Department today reported 28 new COVID-19 cases. The last time the state reported deaths was on Friday with two new deaths, bringing the total to 24. Of today's new cases, 26 are on Oahu, 2 on Hawaii Island.

The latest death is an elderly Oahu woman with underlying medical conditions who died Thursday. The department also reported the death of an elderly man who suffered from a medical condition and had been convalescing at home.

The city reported Friday that one of its TheHandiVan driver tested positive after a household member was infected. He informed Oahu Transit Services Inc., operator of TheBus and TheHandiVan, of his relative's positive test on Monday and was placed on leave and quarantined. He received his results on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, an outbreak at Hawaii State Hospital was up to 20 cases as of Friday, including 10 construction workers and 10 staff employees. No patients have tested positive.

The health department is offering testing to any worker who thinks he or she was exposed. The positive cases at a construction site, where an annex of the hospital is being built, primarily involves contractors and subcontractors, the department said.

The state's total case count now stands at 1,381. Oahu has 1,065 cases, Maui County has 135, Hawai’i County has 113, and Kauai County has 43. Three cases are pending determination of location. There are now 22 residents who were diagnosed out of state. Some 1,043 people have been released from isolation. 

City closes bar after report of emergency order violation

Honolulu Liquor Commission investigators shut down a bar yesterday on Keeaumoku Street after they said it violated the city's COVID-19 emergency order shortening liquor service hours and tightening enforcement of safety measures.

Investigators received a complaint at 12:57 a.m. that Café Gangnam at 655 Keeaumoku St, was serving liquor beyond the midnight cutoff. The city said a team found the doors locked, although customers were inside. 

About a dozen people were seen without face masks and not social distancing, the city said. Investigators also saw alcohol on tables after first being denied entry.

"This is the kind of situation where one person can affect the lives of many," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement. "This is exactly the kind of behavior that can lead to the disastrous situation we're seeing on the continent right now."

The bar was cited for obstructing commission operations, having its doors locked with customers inside and violating the emergency order, which authorizes the city to close bars for 24 hours if they are found to have violated the safety rules.

The city said the manager understood the orders and acknowledged the bar had to be closed.

Another lawsuit filed against Ige on emergency order

The conservative nonprofit Center for American Liberty sued Gov. David Ige Friday, challenging his authority to issue emergency orders beyond a 60-day period provided by state law.

The suit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Richard Partal who relocated to Hawaii in May 2020. He was exempted from the 14-day mandatory quarantine because of employment. His family then relocated in July.

He and his 2-year-old son were reported for violating quarantine. Partal was told by the county that his quarantine had been revoked, according to the suit, and that he and his wife would need to sleep apart during the quarantine. 

“Governor Ige continues to ignore Hawaii law insisting that all travelers to the State quarantine for 14-days upon arrival,” said Harmeet K. Dhillon, chief executive officer of the Center for American Liberty.

“While numerous governors, in both red states and blue states alike, continue to violate civil liberties in response to COVID-19, few responses have been as egregious as Governor Ige’s response."

Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to the state Attorney General, issued a statement today: "Just like the preceding lawsuits, this is [sic] suit is without merit. We will be whole heartedly defending the Governor's Emergency Proclamation."

A U.S. District court rejected another challenge to the quarantine order backed by the Justice Department earlier this month, denying the plaintiffs a request for a temporary restraining order against the quarantie's enforcement. Dhillon also represented the group bringing suit in that case. 

Public schools plan to resume sports, extracurricular activities Aug. 19

Fall sports will resume about two weeks after public schools reopen on Aug. 4 along with other types of extracurricular activities.

The state Department of Education said the first two weeks of the school yer will be spent assessing learning needs, adjustment to safety procedures and conducting employee training and preparing for in-classroom and virtual instruction.

"We recognize the importance of extracurricular activities when it comess to the overall educationnal experience of our students," said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. "Given the current global health crisis, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of our students and staff while trying to balance a whole-child approach to learning that these programs provide."

Information on the schools reopening plan is available on the department's website.

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.