Hawaii Updates: 9 New Cases; Study Says Hawaii Testing Suppressing COVID

Jul 1, 2020

Updated: 7/1/2020, 11:51 a.m.

 

The Hawaii Health Department announced 9 new cases of COVID-19 today. Seven cases are on Oahu and two on Maui. Oahu's case count stands at 659, Maui County's at 125, Hawaii County's at 87 and Kauai's at 38. A total of 17 residents were diagnosed outside of Hawaii.

The total case count is now 926. The number of deaths remains at 18. Of the total cases, 116 have required hospitalization. The number includes Hawaii residents who were hospitalized out of state. Some 741 people have been released from isolation.

New analysis: Hawaii among 4 states testing enough to suppress COVID-19

According to a new analysis by Harvard researchers and a public health consortium, only four states are doing enough testing for COVID-19 suppression: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Vermont. All are relatively small populations with small outbreaks, the study notes. West Virginia is close to its target.

To effectively suppress the virus or bring new cases to a low enough level to allow everyday life to return to near normal, testing must be robust.

 Researchers at Harvard conducting an analysis for NPR found that while more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, most are still falling short.

According to the Harvard research, Hawaii is meeting testing targets to both mitigate or keep the size of current outbreaks from growing as well as to suppress new infections so that life can more or less safely resume.

 

To suppress the disease, Hawaii would need to conduct 330 daily tests, according to the analysis. The state says Hawaii far surpasses that, averaging 1,206 tests per day.

Returning residents arrested in quarantine violation cases

 

Special agents with the state attorney general's office arrested two Hawaii men in connection with violating the state's mandatory quarantine order.

 

Michael J. “Kilomana” Danner, 61, of Kaneohe was arrested on June 18 by deputy sheriffs at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for refusing to complete the mandatory travel form and failing to abide by the order for self-quarantine, the state said in a news release.

 

Danner posted on social media that he planned to defy the quarantine order, investigators said, and posted his activities on his wife’s social media site. He was served twice with orders restricting him to his residence and he continued to post his defiance, according to the state.

 

On Monday, the special agents followed him to the home of an elderly woman where he had been doing carpentry work for several days. He was arrested on a charge of violating quarantine and his bail set at $2,000.

 

Darrel A.S. Ramirez, 29, of Mililani, was arrested after special agents made quarantine checks on him. On June 26, an investigator found he was at a park with his son. Officials said he turned himself in, was arrested, booked and charged. His bail was also set at $2,000.

 

A total of 21 returning residents or visitors have been arrested since the mandatory quarantine took effect. Starting on Aug. 1, travelers who fail to take a COVID-19 test with negative results prior to their flight will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. 

 

DHS shares Native Hawaiian data on COVID-19 impacts

 

The state Department of Human Services is sharing information with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs about Native Hawaiians in programs that include Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and other social assistance programs. 

 

“The data they are providing is critical for us, the state and our community partners to understand the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 on our beneficiaries," said  OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey. "This information will help ensure that state and community resources can be targeted in the most efficient way to meet the needs of Native Hawaiians."

 

The collaboration aims to examine how Native Hawaiians have been impacted by the pandemic and to see if systemic conditions place the community at greater risk. 

 

Women's furlough program gets panel's backing

The House Finance Committee yesterday approved a bill providing $450,000 for a half-way home for women inmates.

Before the vote, Committee Chair Sylvia Luke took the state Public Safety Department to task for pulling money from the program then reversing itself to support the funding bill.

“So I’m glad the Public Safety Department finally understands the undisputed, in their words, importance of community-based reentry programs. So bravo, bravo," she said.

"But I don’t think them submitting this written testimony in support will change our mind – 'cause I think that’s what they’re hoping that because now they submitted testimony we’re going to say, ‘No need the bill.’ But I think we will still insist on this bill because they have lost a lot of credibility with this Legislature.”

Asked for a response, the department said in an emailed statement: "We appreciate the House of Representatives' initiative to provide funds for the community-based furlough program for women. We await the legislative process and will follow through with the intent of the legislation." 

The YWCA Fernhurst program is helping women transition from prison back into the community.

The measure now goes to the full House for a final reading and, if approved, advances to the Senate for review.

County COVID-19 Call Center changing hours 

The Maui County's call center will operate from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The phone number is (808) 270-7855.

The call center will be closed on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, to observe the Independence Day holiday.

The call center answers questions relating to COVID-19 in Maui County. Those offering supplies, help and resources are also encouraged to call.

More information is available at mauicounty.gov and covid19mauinui.com.

More visitors arrive on Monday

 

A total of 1,750 people arrived in the islands on Monday, including 479 visitors and 503 returning residents. Others arriving in the state: 241 crew members, 234 military, 111 exempt from quarantine, 58 relocating to Hawaii, and 124 transiting travelers.

 

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.