Hawaii Updates: 6 New Cases; First Virus Death Since May; DOH: Fewer Abiding By Safety Practices

Jun 27, 2020

Updated: 6/27/2020, 12:03 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported 6 new cases today. Yesterday, they announced Hawaii's 18th death from COVID-19. The elderly Honolulu man who died from the virus was the first coronavirus death in the islands since May 3. 

Of today's new cases, 5 are from Oahu and one case is from Kauai.

There has now been a total of 872 cases of COVID-19 statewide. The number of deaths stands at 18. Of the total cases, 110 have required hospitalization. The count includes Hawaii residents who were hospitalized out of state. Some 714 people have been released from isolation.

The case count for Oahu now stands at 613, Maui County at 122, Hawaii County at 86, and Kauai County at 35. There is a total of 16 residents who were diagnosed outside of Hawai’i.

The state also reported 17 new cases yesterday, the second daily jump in a row as the state plans for a partial lifting of the visitor quarantine on Aug. 1.

Gov. David Ige expressed his condolences yesterday to the man's family and friends and reiterated the need to continue safe practices in the pandemic.

"We must protect our kupuna and others who are at high risk, by practicing personal responsibility, especially around others outside our own immediate family or household," Ige said in a media release.

The state Department of Health also said yesterday that many residents are growing lax in their practices and attitudes about COVID-19. The number of people who considered the virus as a very serious health concern fell from 73% to 54% in less than two months, based on survey results.

The department said what is more alarming is that fewer residents are following safety recommendations "most of the time" or "part of the time."

Health Director Bruce Anderson said it is critically important that residents take the virus seriously.

“Recently, we’ve seen an increase in cases from community transmission," Anderson said. "We cannot interpret the reopening of businesses, restaurants, parks and other places as a license to let our guards down. Indeed, it is more important than ever to adhere to prevention measures we know work.”

Health officials say they believe the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases resulted from Hawaii residents becoming less vigilant. They continue to urge that residents to wear face masks when out and about, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently.

On Thursday, there were 16 new cases. Wednesday also saw 16 new cases, but on Tuesday, only three new cases were reported and four on Monday. That follows 11 on Sunday, 14 on Saturday, and 27 on Friday.

YMCA extends free grab & go kids lunch program through July

The YMCA of Honolulu has extended its free lunch program for children 18 and under through July 31. The lunch distribution is available Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at nine locations: 

  • INSPIRE Church, 95-061 Waimakua Dr, Mililani, HI 96789
  • Waipio Gardens, 95-024 Waihau Street, Mililani, HI 96789
  • Puohala Elementary, 45-233 Kulauli Street; Kaneohe, HI 96744
  • Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange (KVIBE) Program, 1638 Kamehameha IV Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819
  • Nuuanu YMCA, 1441 Pali Highway, Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Windward YMCA, 1200 Kailua Road, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
  • Halawa View Apartments, 99-009 Kaloloa Street, Aiea, Hi 96701
  • Puuwai Momi, 99-132 Kohomua Street, Aiea, Hi 96701
  • Kuhio Elementary, 2759 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

The extension of the program was made possible by grants from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Pettus Foundation, HMSA Foundation, and support from the Hawaii Resilience Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation, Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, No Kid Hungry by Share Our Strength, Ohana Health Plan, Papa Ola Lokahi and Na Lei Aloha Foundation.

Maui County defers penalty on late real property taxes

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino approved a one-time deferral of the 10 percent penalty on late real property taxes due on Aug. 2 because of the impacts of COVID-19.

Taxpayers have 60 days from Aug. 20 to Oct. 20 to make payments without penalty. They are still encouraged to pay their bills on time, however, to avoid the standard 1 percent monthly interest charge for unpaid balances after Aug. 20.

 

“Our community needs help in coping with the financial impacts of COVID-19, and we want to make sure our residents and businesses aren’t penalized for not being able to pay the full amount immediately due to financial impacts from COVID-19,” Victorino said in a news release.

 

Any balance owed as of Oct. 21 will be assessed the 10 percent penalty. If there is an outstanding real property tax balance as of Dec. 31, the homeowner will lose the exemption for the property. 

 

More information is available on the county property tax website

 

Kauai Mayor urges: wear your mask

 

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami says the county gets daily reports from the public about business managers and employees not wearing masks when around customers and co-workers. Customers have also refused to wear masks while in stores, according to the reports.

"There is a medical exemption in place for those who absolutely cannot wear a mask because of an existing medical condition, but the rest of us should be wearing our masks," the mayor said in his daily video update.

He said those who don't wear masks when in public put those around them at risk, including kupuna and those with health conditions.

Kauai has avoided large numbers of coronavirus cases; its total case count now stands at 34. But the mayor said a recent increase in cases in the past week "emphasize the need for anyone under quarantine to strictly follow their quarantine instructions, even if your initial test results come back negative, as you could develop symptoms at any point during the incubation period of 14 days."

More visitor arrive in advance of partial lifting of quarantine

Tourists continue to arrive in the islands although the mandatory quarantine will remain in place through July 31. Starting on Aug. 1, visitors can avoid quarantine if they show negative results from a valid COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Hawaii.

On Thursday, a total of 1,722 people arrived in Hawaii, among them 504 visitors and 500 returning residents, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Others arriving included 196 crew members, 124 transiting travelers, 228 military, 85 exempted from quarantine and 85 relocating to Hawaii.
 

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.