The Latest: 10 Deaths, 143 New Cases; Ige, Kahele Condemn Protestors at U.S. Capitol

Jan 6, 2021

Updated 1/6/21, 3:30 p.m.

Governor David Ige condemned the actions of protestors who stormed the U.S. Capitol in D.C. Monday morning, protesting the congressional confirmation of the presidential election’s result.

“It is an assault on our democracy and everything that our country stands for,” Ige said.

“Every state in this country has certified the election results. And we had unprecedented voter turnout. The nation has spoken and Joe Biden will be the next president. It is time for us to move on.”

The Ige administration said it’s monitoring demonstrations from President Donald Trump supporters in Hawaii that have continued through the week.

“Typically, we’ll try to find out as much as we can about the protest, if we can identify the leaders, we do try to engage and have a dialogue and a discussion about what is acceptable and what is not,” Ige said.

“Certainly, we have not had any of the violence or chaos that we are seeing across the country.”

Hawaii’s GOP published several tweets echoing Trump’s allegations of election fraud-- which there has been no evidence of.

Ige urged the Hawaii GOP to, “really look at and examine the facts and evidence presented.”

“There has been absolutely no credible evidence presented in any court across this country that indicates any level of election fraud, that would have overturned the result.”

Hawaii’s congressional delegation has been safely accounted for.

In a statement, Senator Brian Schatz condemned the actions of protestors, but said it will not stop congress from affirming the results of the presidential election.

Congressman Kai Kahele also condemned the actions of extremist Trump supporters. Kahele was about to leave his Washington DC house when the mob stormed the US Capitol.

"It's a mix of emotions, it's sadness, it's anger, you know it's deeply troubling what I saw today," Kahele said.

"And to see some of our most sacred places be desecrated, be penetrated by anarchists, by seditionists, today is a threat to our democracy. I'm angered by it and it's really disturbing."

--HPR's Ashley Mizuo, Casey Harlow contributed to this story.

Vaccination Distribution to Ramp Up in Coming Weeks

People in Hawaii may be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine sooner than expected in the state's updated vaccination plan.

It has been a few weeks since vaccinations began in Hawaii. Frontline healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities were first to receive them.

However, people over the age of 75 will soon have access to the vaccine as well as other essential workers that include correctional officers, emergency service dispatchers and teachers. The vaccinations of these groups are expected to happen now through March.

"The big picture on the vaccination plan is our kupuna. And those who care for our kupuna and keep our state going. That's the overarching principle of our vaccination program," Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said.

Between March and May, vaccinations will go to those over the age of 65, those with underlying conditions and other essential workers not covered in the previous phase.

The general population can expect to receive the vaccine in early summer.

Green said the state expects to vaccinate 600,00 individuals by June. That means the state will have to deliver 1.2 million doses because both available vaccines require two shots three and four weeks apart.

"It's possible because we'll be ramping up very significantly. And everyone across the country is doing exactly that. You have to start slow, because on that first day, we got five trays, which was 4,875 doses," Green said.

"Obviously, that was a very quiet first week, you saw the vaccinations go in Hawaii Pacific Health, Queens and other hospitals. Each week we will do more. And now that we're going to be getting toward 25,000 doses this week, and our projection based on what we've heard is about 150,000 doses each month, we'll just continue to ramp up and try to use all of those."

State health director Libby Char noted that more data on the vaccination process is expected soon.

"We're trying to get metrics out. I'd like to be able to share at least a rough number every day. And so we're kind of refining that," she said.

"Because it's data, and we're relying on so many different sites to report the amount of vaccine that was given. And we're also cross linking that with a federal database, we're probably goign to have a day or two lag in the data coming out, so that we can make sure that it's as accurate as it can be. But I would like to have that public facing so people can get a sense of how many doses of vaccine were given on a given day, or administered on any given day."

According to Green, about 55% of Hawaii residents said they would get vaccinated. He still expects that with time 80% of the state will get vaccinated.

Green says there will be more information next week for those who are over 75-years-old and qualifying essential workers.

-- HPR's Ashley Mizuo

Where we stand

The state Department of Health reported 143 new cases and 10 new fatalities on Wednesday.

According to the state's numbers, Oahu had 85, Maui 28, Hawaii County 8, Kauai 3, Molokai 1, and Lanai had none.

The latest state counts bring the Oahu total to 18,499, Hawaii County, 1,946, Maui 1,119, Kauai 153, Lanai 106, and Molokai 23. The number of out-of-state cases totals 464 (17 new cases).

Since the pandemic began, the state has tallied 22,310 cases. The death toll stands at 299.

Maui County employee tests positive, County Building to remain open

A Maui County employee, who works in the mayor's office, has tested positive for COVID-19. Mayor Michael Victorino on Tuesday said the employee is asymptomatic, and is isolating at home. The employee last worked in the County Building on Thursday, December 31.

The manager of the Department of Health's Maui District Health Office notified Victorino that close contacts of the employee have been notified by DOH contact tracers. Victorino and the DOH belive it is "very unlikely" that anyone not contacted by health officials have been affected.

In a released statement, Victorino says the County Building will remain open, and has been professionally disinfected. The building will be professionally sanitized again.

Residents are urged to conduct business with the county either online or by using the drop box in front of the building.

Water and solid waste payments can be done in person at the Maui County Service Center or Maui County Small Business Resource Center located in the Maui Mall.

Vog forecast model available to the public

Residents can track real time data and forecasts of vog coming from Kīlauea with a model from the University of Hawaiʻi.

UH's Vog Measurement and Prediction, or V-Map, project started in 2010, with the focus of forecasting the disperson and trajectories of volcanic smog -- most commonly known as vog.

"Sulfur dioxide is the primary pollutant that comes out of the Kīlauea volcano," says Steven Businger, director of V-Map. "It reacts with oxygen and moisture to produce sulfate aerosol and sulfuric acid. Both the sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid are very corrosive, and they are problematic to human health."

Vog can create asthma and other breathing issues for people. But the mix of sulfur dioxide with the elements can also contribute to acid rain.

The program has forecasted vog concentrations up until the summer of 2018, during the last Kīlauea eruption. But after the eruption stopped, V-Map scaled back due to the very minimal amount of vog coming from the volcano.

Now the program is ramping back up to monitor the vog being emitted from the eruption at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Businger says the model helps local agencies and residents get real time data of vog concentrations and dispersion.

V-Map's forecast model can be found online at weather.hawaii.edu/vmap

-- HPR's Casey Harlow