Hawaii Updates: Cases At 580, 1 More Death; Judiciary Postpones Trials, Hana Checkpoints

Apr 19, 2020

Updated: 4/19/2020, 4:03 p.m.

Where Hawaii stands

The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases number 580 today, up 6 from the previous day, according to the state Department of Health's latest daily update. The death count increased by one to 10.

The heath department said an adult male visitor from Washington state between 40 to 59 years old died on Maui. He was hospitalized for an extended period in serious condition at Maui Memorial Medical. He had no previous medical conditions and his exposure may have been travel-related.

Oahu case count is now 385, Maui County 106, Hawaii Island 62, and Kauai 21. No cases are pending determination of county and six were diagnosed out of state.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said the death is the county's fourth.

"Every life lost in this pandemic is heartbreaking. I continue to ask everyone in Maui County and across our state to protect each other against the spread of this disease through social distancing and staying home for all but essential activities," the mayor said in a statement.

Maui Memorial cluster grows to 45 workers and patients

The state health department said three additional people tested positive and may be related to the Maui Memorial Medical Center cluster, bringing the number of workers and patients confirmed with the coronavirus to 45. Twenty-nine employees and 16 patients have been infected.

The department says it appears the outbreak may have started with one health care worker who was ill but still reported to work. All of those infected have been isolated, according to department officials.

The health department continues to investigate the infections. Health Director Bruce Anderson earlier criticized Maui Memorial for its lax infection controls. The facility only recently mandated those entering the hospital to don masks. Maui Memorial has maintained it was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Third Kailua-Kona McDonald's restaurant case brings cases to 30

A third McDonald's restaurant has an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number connected to the cluster to 30.

The latest restaurant is located at 75-5729 Kuakini Highway. The location has been voluntarily closed.

There are now 18 employees and 12 household members connected to the McDonald's outbreak. The health department is tracking contacts for the new cases while continuing to monitor the previous ones who are in isolation or quarantine. 

Trials postponed due to coronavirus

Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald has issued an order to postpone all state court trials amid the coronavirus pandemic, the state Judiciary said.

The order states all state trials in civil, criminal and family courts be postponed until May 29 or the termination of Gov. David Ige’s state of emergency, whichever is sooner, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

The exception would be if the chief judge of a circuit court orders otherwise.

“While our community has responded well to stay-at-home orders and the results of these public health measures have been encouraging, the Judiciary must continue to do our part to protect the health and safety of our court personnel and court users," Recktenwald said.

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: McDonald's Cluster Grows; Visitors Key To Reopening; Governor's Order Bans Walking, Running On State Beaches

The Committee on Operational Solutions was also formed under the order. The committee would accelerate the courts’ capabilities to conduct proceedings remotely due to the pandemic and would plan for the timely transition to return to increased court operations in the coming months.

Recktenwald has encouraged teleconferencing and videoconferencing to address as many cases as possible and appropriate to combat the spread of COVID-19.

--Associated Press

Maui County sets up Hana checkpoints

Checkpoints on Hana Highway and Piilani Highway are in effect to keep East Maui accessible to residents only.

The checkpoints were requested by the commnity, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino  said in a news release today. Hana reported one coronavirus case earlier this month and residents are concerned about the community's limited medical resources in the face of the epidemic. 

The checkpoints are located after Twin Falls on Hana Highway and at Ulupalakua Ranch on Piilani Highway.

Drivers will be required to show a license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance and placard or give a reason for travel.

Residents can pick up a placard to ease their way through the checkpoints but they are not mandatory. The placards are available at the Hana post office, Hana police station, Hasegawa General Store, Hana Health, Hana Ranch Store, Hana Pit Stop gas station, and Ulupalakua Ranch Office from 7 a.m to 3 p.m., Monday to Friday.

More visitors arriving

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says 109 visitors came to the state yesterday, undeterred by the mandatory 14-day quarantine. They were among 454 who arrived, including 157 returning residents. 

Others arriving were 103 flight crew members, 42 intended residents such as military members and 43 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 developments in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.