Ige limits social gatherings to 10 indoors, 25 outdoors to curb the spread of COVID

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KHON2 10 August, 2021 - 05:18pm 64 views

People in line to eat at Marukami Udon in Waikiki in July 2021. (KHON2)

High-risk businesses, including restaurants, bars, gyms and churches, must be capped at 50% capacity. Schools will not be impacted.

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On Tuesday, the Hawaii State Department of Health reported 436 new COVID-19 cases: 292 are on Oahu, 76 on the Big Island, 15 on Kauai, 33 on Maui, three on Molokai and 17 diagnosed out of state. That brings the state total to 46,376. Click here to see the full breakdown.

“We anticipate that it would be four to six weeks to see significant reduction in the case counts we are seeing,” Ige said during the news conference.

After meeting with Ige last week, the mayors say it’s clear that more has to be done to slow the spread of coronavirus. However, they don’t want restrictions to have as much impact on local businesses. The plan is to be more strategic, with less disruption to businesses.

Most of the COVID-19 infections have been community spread from social gatherings. Outdoor gatherings have now been restricted from 75 to 25 people, and indoor gatherings have been knocked down from 25 to 10 people. For professionally structured events larger than 50 people, such as weddings or concerts, organizers may seek consultation from their county leaders.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi sent a statement this week saying, “I would prefer to not impose further restrictions, but we need to get a buy-in from the vaccine holdouts.”

Oahu organizers may submit their COVID mitigation plans here.

Check out more news from around Hawaii

State officials have previously talked about making changes to the Safe Travels Program. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 last week that there are discussions on reversing the vaccine exception and only allowing the 72-hour pre-test for travelers to avoid quarantine rules. Those plans are still on hold. Click here to read more.

Officials continue to stress the importance of testing for those who believe they may have been infected. The health department says there are many sites offering free tests. Click here, then go to the Health Information, then to Testing Isolation and Quarantine. When you put your zip code in, a list of pharmacies will pop up that offer free COVID-19 testing. KHON2 has also compiled a list here.

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Richard Pezzulo is the current executive director who said this is all part of their conservation mission.

The department is conducting coronavirus testing at all correctional centers statewide.

Riley Regan, of troop 325, is just 16 years old, and he already wants to help others.

Read full article at KHON2

Ige Executive Order Once Again Reduces Gatherings and Sets Capacity Limits | Maui Now

Maui Now 10 August, 2021 - 10:00pm

Governor David Ige today signed an executive order that sets statewide limits for social gatherings, restaurants and bars and other settings.

The takes effect immediately and includes the following provisions:

For events that are already planned, Gov. Ige suggested that organizers contact the counties which are in charge of establishing procedures that will allow them to review the requests. He said some transition challenges are expected, but wants people to make the best effort they can in the coming days.

For now, there are no changes planned for the state’s Safe Travels program or to the state’s in-person learning.

“We are evaluating the Safe Travels program, but we would note that the number of cases from visitors is relatively low–it’s 1-2%. The bulk of the travel related cases… are about 15-20% are residents traveling outside of the islands, getting infected and returning to our islands. So at this point in time, we won’t be making any specific changes to the safe travels program,” said Gov. Ige.

In regards to public schools and returning in person learning, Gov. Ige said, “educational professionals across the country recognize the severe impact the pandemic has had on our young people. We do know that tour school settings are more than the book learning that occurs. In addition to the education, it is about socializing and the social interactions between our children. We do have a structured and layered program in all of our schools. We are prepared for identifying those who may be sick, and isolating and testing them as quickly as possible. We continue to believe that the benefits of in-person learning exceeds the risks,” he said.

The order comes as the state’s COVID-19 case counts have seen a significant spike, with widespread community transmission. According to Gov. Ige, Hawaiʻi saw case counts double about every 7-10 days in the month of July.

Today there were a total of 436 cases statewide. This comes on the heels of record high case counts of more than 600 cases on several days this past week. The latest data represents an average of 537 cases per day for the state over the past seven days. 

“Our test positivity rate is 7.25% and today in our hospitals, we have 219 COVID patients. Just for comparison, a month ago in July, the seven day average was 60 instead of 500, the test positivity was at 2.25% and we had 48 in the hospitals,” said Gov. Ige.

State officials say the bulk of cases making it to the hospital are in unvaccinated individuals. “That’s why we’ve made a big effort to make the vaccine widely available and provide all the information you might need to make an informed decision for yourself,” said Gov. Ige.

Earlier today, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green Tweeted that 50% of COVID hospitalizations in Hawaiʻi now, are people under 50. Gov. Ige attributes the shift to positive work in vaccinating the older demographic.

“I think that a big change in the age of those being infected by COVID is just, we have done a terrific job in protecting our kupuna here in the state,” said Gov. Ige. “I know when I spoke with Dr. [Libby] Char, she believed that those 60 and older were at 80-85% of the population fully vaccinated. So what you’re seeing is the fact that the virus is spreading amongst those who are not vaccinated, and those who are not vaccinated tend to be age 18-40, and they’re the ones who are getting infected with the virus.”

According to Gov. Ige, the state is seeing transmission and clusters from people going to work, attending social gatherings, and going to restaurants when they are sick. “We need to take action and we need to take action now. We need to minimize person to person contact in order to reduce transmission. We do know vaccines work and wearing masks work, but we all need to be committed to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

He said this is why the state implemented a vaccine and testing policy for state and county employees, which was announced last week.

“All of these efforts are ongoing and will improve vaccination rates in our community. We know that we won’t see benefit from the increase in vaccinations going up for another 6-7 weeks. In the meantime, we must take action now in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially with the new Delta variant, which has wreaked havoc in our communities,” said Gov. Ige.

He continued to relay a message that the current actions are being taken in order to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

“With the combined rise in vaccination rates and limits on gathering sizes, both efforts can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and get us to where we need to be and able to move back to normal,” said Gov. Ige.

“As always, we know what we can do individually to help fight COVID-19: stay at home when you’re sick and keep your children home when they’re sick; wear your mask when indoors or in large groups when outdoors when you can’t maintain your distance; wash your hand and use hand sanitizer. These simple everyday measures that we all can do, can contribute in our fight against COVID-19.”

Maui Managing Director Sandy Baz participated in the media briefing in place of Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. When asked if the new order will have impacts on public gatherings like the follow-up demonstration planned by medical freedom advocates, Baz said they mayor “has always supported people’s rights to express their freedoms.” He said the county would be working with the state to ensure rules are followed.

Yesterday’s demonstration drew an estimated 500 people, well above the 25 allowed under the governor’s executive order.

When asked about overcrowding at Kahului Airport, Gov. Ige said the state continues to work with the airlines to manage the arrival times of flights. He said a request has been made for flights to be staggered, but called it a “work in progress.”

Other measures that have been taken include pre-arrival check-ins, and working with the FAA to ensure that physical distance is maintained to the extent that space is available.

Gov. Ige concluded, “We want to encourage all who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The only way to slow the spread , especially with the Delta variant is for everyone to do their part.”

Social gatherings limited, but ‘professionally organized’ events can still happen

Hawaii News Now 10 August, 2021 - 08:36pm

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ige immediately capped social gatherings at 25 people outdoors, 10 people indoors, and limited capacity for restaurants, bars and gyms at 50%.

However, events organized professionally can go on with more than 50 people as long as organizers take extra steps to communicate with the county, and show mitigation efforts are in place.

Ige briefly explained which events would fall under that category.

“The professionally organized events are those events like weddings, or banquets, or meetings and conventions at convention facilities, or ballroom facilities. It would also include professionally organized activities like at the Waikiki Shell and others,” Gov. Ige said.

Under these new rules, organizers will have to submit a COVID mitigation plan detailing their safeguards.

“So what we are asking is that for those events that are more than 50 that they submit their mitigation plans to the counties and every county would have a different process. So that we could ... review the plans and ensure that the mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 are implemented,” Ige added.

Social gatherings limited, but ‘professionally organized’ events can still happen

Honolulu Civil Beat 10 August, 2021 - 08:36pm

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ige immediately capped social gatherings at 25 people outdoors, 10 people indoors, and limited capacity for restaurants, bars and gyms at 50%.

However, events organized professionally can go on with more than 50 people as long as organizers take extra steps to communicate with the county, and show mitigation efforts are in place.

Ige briefly explained which events would fall under that category.

“The professionally organized events are those events like weddings, or banquets, or meetings and conventions at convention facilities, or ballroom facilities. It would also include professionally organized activities like at the Waikiki Shell and others,” Gov. Ige said.

Under these new rules, organizers will have to submit a COVID mitigation plan detailing their safeguards.

“So what we are asking is that for those events that are more than 50 that they submit their mitigation plans to the counties and every county would have a different process. So that we could ... review the plans and ensure that the mitigation measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 are implemented,” Ige added.

In effort to combat COVID surge in Hawaii, Gov. Ige reinstates restrictions on gatherings

Hawaii News Now 10 August, 2021 - 06:17pm

“The delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands,” Ige said, in a news conference. “We have seen increased transmission and we must take action in order that our health system is not overwhelmed.”

The following restrictions will take effect immediately:

His press conference comes as the state continues to report some of its highest case counts since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported 436 new COVID-19 cases. But over the weekend, Hawaii continued to see cases over 600.

“We need to minimize person-to-person contact in order to reduce transmission,” Ige said, adding that the virus has been spreading largely due to people gathering when they are sick.

Previously, outdoor gatherings of up to 75 people were allowed, while indoor gatherings were at 25.

County mayors were also on board with the new restrictions — and said it’s imperative that people continue to get vaccinated and wear their masks.

“We’re not where we were just a couple weeks ago,” Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said. “We’re in a very different place. It’s very aggressive and everybody needs to wake up, pay attention and do the responsible thing and please get vaccinated.”

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said the situation is personal for him after he suffered a heart attack earlier this year. The fact that ICUs are at full capacity makes it dangerous not only for COVID patients, but non-COVID patients, he said.

“What we’re seeing now with our hospitals is unacceptable,” Roth said. “All of our hospitals are at capacity. Some of our hospitals are over capacity, so these are steps that have to be taken to keep our community safe and healthy.”

Despite concerns related to travel, Ige said there would be no changes to the state’s Safe Travels program at this time.

“We are evaluating the Safe Travels program, but we would note that the number of cases from visitors is relatively low, it’s 1 or 2%,” Ige said, adding that the bulk of travel-related cases are returning residents.

Ige also noted that with more than 200 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Tuesday, most of them were unvaccinated individuals, stressing once again the importance of vaccinations.

He also said that virtually every hospital facility in the state was implementing surge plans and he is projecting contracting up to 500 healthcare professionals from the mainland to deal with the surge.

“We anticipate that it would be four to six weeks to see a significant reduction in the case counts that we are seeing,” Ige said. “We are hopeful that if people do their part and they maintain physical distancing, we can have the case counts drop more quickly than that, but clearly it would be up to all of us as a community to successfully fight against the transmission of COVID-19.”

In effort to combat COVID surge in Hawaii, Gov. Ige reinstates restrictions on gatherings

USA TODAY 10 August, 2021 - 06:17pm

“The delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands,” Ige said, in a news conference. “We have seen increased transmission and we must take action in order that our health system is not overwhelmed.”

The following restrictions will take effect immediately:

His press conference comes as the state continues to report some of its highest case counts since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state reported 436 new COVID-19 cases. But over the weekend, Hawaii continued to see cases over 600.

“We need to minimize person-to-person contact in order to reduce transmission,” Ige said, adding that the virus has been spreading largely due to people gathering when they are sick.

Previously, outdoor gatherings of up to 75 people were allowed, while indoor gatherings were at 25.

County mayors were also on board with the new restrictions — and said it’s imperative that people continue to get vaccinated and wear their masks.

“We’re not where we were just a couple weeks ago,” Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said. “We’re in a very different place. It’s very aggressive and everybody needs to wake up, pay attention and do the responsible thing and please get vaccinated.”

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said the situation is personal for him after he suffered a heart attack earlier this year. The fact that ICUs are at full capacity makes it dangerous not only for COVID patients, but non-COVID patients, he said.

“What we’re seeing now with our hospitals is unacceptable,” Roth said. “All of our hospitals are at capacity. Some of our hospitals are over capacity, so these are steps that have to be taken to keep our community safe and healthy.”

Despite concerns related to travel, Ige said there would be no changes to the state’s Safe Travels program at this time.

“We are evaluating the Safe Travels program, but we would note that the number of cases from visitors is relatively low, it’s 1 or 2%,” Ige said, adding that the bulk of travel-related cases are returning residents.

Ige also noted that with more than 200 COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Tuesday, most of them were unvaccinated individuals, stressing once again the importance of vaccinations.

He also said that virtually every hospital facility in the state was implementing surge plans and he is projecting contracting up to 500 healthcare professionals from the mainland to deal with the surge.

“We anticipate that it would be four to six weeks to see a significant reduction in the case counts that we are seeing,” Ige said. “We are hopeful that if people do their part and they maintain physical distancing, we can have the case counts drop more quickly than that, but clearly it would be up to all of us as a community to successfully fight against the transmission of COVID-19.”

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