Updated: 10/7/2020, 12:17 p.m. One of the country's most trusted doctors on COVID-19 says Hawaii can reopen to tourists with precautions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes for Health, spoke with Lt. Gov. Josh Green on Olelo community television this morning.
Green is leading the state's plan to reopen to tourists on October 15 but has met with opposition from Neighbor Island mayors who say the program is not safe enough.
Green asked Fauci for his thoughts on reopening safely.
"The reality is, no matter what you do, there are going to be infected people who slip through the cracks, it's inevitable it's going to happen. The critical issue is that since you have such a low level of infection, right now, that you should be able to handle that and prevent that, from blipping up, I mean, you've got to be able to be able to prevent that from happening. If you do that, you can accept that you're going to have some time or other after you open up, regardless of what you do, there's going to be some people infected."
Fauci says on top of the pre-test, Hawaii could also test everyone arriving with cheap, rapid tests that have a sensitivity rate of about 85 percent.
Or it could do what Green has proposed -- a surveillance test that targets certain travelers. Fauci suggested they can include college students arriving from COVID hot areas.
Where we stand
The Hawaii Department of Health today reported three new deaths from COVID-19 and 110 new cases. The latest statewide case count brought the total number of infections to 13,045 since the pandemic began. Deaths total 163.
There have now been 11,702 cases on Oahu (90 new cases), 852 on Hawaii Island (18 new cases), 396 for Maui County (no new cases), and 59 on Kauai County (no new cases). Those diagnosed out of state rose to 36.
Yesterday's 7-day average positivity rate stood at 2.6% statewide, 3.2% on Oahu, 2.8% on Hawaii Island, 0% on Kauai, and 0.4% on Maui.
The three deaths reported yesterday were all Oahu woman in their 60s who had been hospitalized.
University of Nations testing today
COVID-19 testing will be conducted on hundreds of staff and students at a university in Hawaii following a recent outbreak.
West Hawaii Today reported officials at the University of the Nations Kona confirmed 30 cases associated with the Big Island campus had been identified as of Monday.
A university spokesperson says all of the people who were infected have been isolated. The positive cases included 22 people living at the Kailua-Kona campus, while eight were staff members living away from the campus.
Up to 200 staff and 300 students were expected to be tested for the virus this week.