Hawaii Updates: 4 New COVID-19 Cases; Legislature To Resume; City Summer Fun Free But Limited

Jun 10, 2020

Updated: 6/10/2020, 1:11 p.m.

Where we stand

Four new cases of COVID-19 have been reported today by the state health department. All of the cases have been reported on Oahu. 

After updated testing information, the new number of COVID-19 cases statewide is 685. The number of deaths has remained at 17. The case count for Oahu is now at 451, Maui County at 120, Hawaii County at 81 and Kauai County at 21. About 622 people have been released from isolation.

Pacific Islanders make up about 13% of reported cases in Hawai’i despite only making up 4% of the state's population. Filipinos are also overly overrepresented in COVID-19 case numbers. While Filipinos only make up 16% of the population, they account for 21% of the state's COVID-19 cases.The state is continuing to investigate and monitor three cases of COVID-19 at two senior facilities -- two involving workers at Kalakaua Gardens, a senior living facility in Waikiki, and one at Maunalani Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a longterm skilled nursing facility. 

As a precaution, additional testing of patients and staff is ongoing, the state health department said.
The health officials have warned that as the state reopens businesses and activities, there will be more new cases. Officials urged residents to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including using face masks and practicing social distancing.

Legislature to resume in June

State lawmakers will return to the Capitol later this month. Leaders in the state House and Senate announced yesterday that the Legislature will reconvene on June 22 for a final three-week stint to close out the 2020 session. 

Lawmakers normally are in session from January through May, but have twice had to pause legislative activities this year – once over concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and a second time over financial uncertainty related to the pandemic recession.

The main focus of legislators will be to balance the budget with significantly less tax revenue than predicted at the beginning of the year.

They will also consider bills covering emergency requirements and the on-going pandemic.

But, according to House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, lawmakers will also debate a measure aimed at increasing police transparency.

"Many of the other things that are being considered, we should watch at the national level, but they are things that are complicated. This Legislature has shown that its committed, by H.B. 285, that is already under consideration, to deal with issues of excessive force," she said.

"I think we can continue to apply pressure. I will say that the Women’s Legislative Caucus has over the years been very focused on police reforms. So we have a history in this Legislature of dealing with police reforms and we really need to do it thoughtfully."

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: Honolulu Police Suspend Use of Neck Restraints; More State Parks Reopen; 6 New Cases

House Bill 285 would require police departments to disclose the identity of any officer who is suspended or terminated. It would also make those records open to the public.

Last year, the statewide police union submitted a seven-page letter opposing the proposal on the grounds that it would allow the release of officers’ names before the conclusion of an investigation.

--HPR's Ryan Finnerty

City Summer Fun is free this year, but spaces limited

Honolulu’s city parks summer fun program will be free this year. The catch? Only a third of the usual spots are available. That’s so the program can impose social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"Usually we charge $25 per child," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "And this summer is going to be free so that children can come and have fun together and be away from their parents for a while as their parents begin to go back to work. We are really working hard to find out ways to make it easier for people to climb out of the pandemic, to get back to their lives."

The Summer Fun program will serve 3,600 children ages 6 to 13 for the month of July. Kids will play outside in groups of 12 and be required to wear masks.

Lunch will be provided at select locations.

Parents can sign up online on a first come, first serve basis starting on June 18 at 6 p.m. There’ll be another round of sign ups on June 20 at 9 a.m.

The program is also looking to hire senior group leaders over 18 years old. The job pays $15 an hour.

Those interested can apply at their nearest parks and recreation facility.

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Maui opening bars, resuming outdoor organized sports

Maui County is allowing bars to open on June 15, but nightclubs, theaters, public gathering venues, banquet halls, community centers and gyms will remain closed.

“Maui County continues to see a very small number of new cases and maintains the highest rate of testing per capita in the state,” Mayor Michael Victorino said Tuesday in a news release. “These two factors are crucial in allowing us to reopen more services and activities for our residents, which also supports our Kamaʻaina economy.”

Bars can open 50% of their occupancy capacity. Groups are limited to 10 people and must stay six feet away from other groups. They bars are encouraged to set up separate exists and entrances and to use cashless and receiptless transaction.

Canoe paddling can resume on June 15 under the county rules. Six and 12-person paddling will be allowed and paddles and other equipment should not be shared. While gloves and masks are encouraged, they are not being required.

Outdoor organized team sports like soccer, baseball and softball are also being phased in. On June 15, team practice and skills-building drills are allowed to resume. On July 1, competitive team play can restart. Football and rugby cannot start for now.

Indoor gatherings have also been expanded to up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings can include a maximum of 100 persons.

More information is available on the county's website.

Kauai arrests two men in separate quarantine violation cases

Kauai police arrested Benjamin McGranahan on Friday after authorities say he refused to abide by the 14-day quarantine required of all arriving travelers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

McGranahan, 25, of Canoga Park, California, posted $100 bail and was escorted by Kauai police to a quarantine location to remain for 14 days. He will be subject to compliance checks by the police and Hawaii National Guard, the county said in a news release.

A second man, Sean Wade, 55, of Captain Cook, Hawaii Island, arrived on Kauai on Monday. He was arrested later that day after he was reported to police for allegedly trespassing on property in 'Anini.

He was released from the police detention center yesterday and escorted back to Lihue Airport, where he chose to return to Hawaii Island.

"We would like to remind everyone that even though the island is opening back up, Hawaii's 14-day quarantine remains in effect for interisland travel until June 16," said Mark Begley, patrol services bureau assistant chief. "For mainland travelers and arrivals, the 14-day quarantine will remain in effect even longer."

Police and Hawaii National Guard are stationed at Lihue Airport and other island  airports where authorities continue to verify information on arrivals subject to the quarantine.

Kauai police have made 16 arrests related to quarantine violations. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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.