There was one new COVID-19 case reported on Monday, which marks nine straight days of single-digit numbers in Hawaii.
Lt. Governor Josh Green said if Hawaii’s numbers remain low, “by mid-month we could see some significant changes that would relax some of our restrictions, we’re being careful.”
“It’s a balance between making sure we’re ready for a resurgence of the disease, but also having such a small viral load, that we can actually do some of the things safely,” he continued.
He said people would have to continue social distancing and wearing masks in public.
“But I think we’re coming to a point soon where we’re able to re-open the economy and re-store some normalcy,” he added.
Re-opening the economy is part of ‘Phase 2,’ which Dr. Green said is “the post-acute phase of the outbreak.”
“There are a lot of very diligent people working on that right now, so as Phase 2 rolls out, we’ll try and give you a lot of updates,” he said.
To date, 80% of Hawaii’s cases have recovered.
“The curve is flat. It was a success, [Hawaii residents] did it, which is amazing,” he said.
He said states like Georgia re-opening too quickly is reckless.
“Georgia is doing something I think is pretty reckless, I think they’re going to see a spike in fatalities unfortunately,” he said.
“What we need to do is kind of have our kamaaina structures re-stored which the Governor and his team are working hard on. We’ll get there soon, and it will be exciting when the Governor can start announcing some of those things,” Lt. Gov. Green said.
He also said that within the next few days more antibody testing will be made available in the state.
Lt. Gov. Green said Clinical Labs will be able to run 1,000 tests per day and that they are working on finalizing equipment. He said test results come back quickly and the test itself is cheap.
“That will tell us a lot better if there’s background infection that was out there, that people got better and they developed antibodies. It’s a very big information piece for us so that’s great.”
“All of these things are coming together that’s why patience is important but at this rate we will end up being the safest, most successful state in dealing with COVID-19,” Lt. Gov Green said.
He said the antibody tests will help officials learn more about the virus here in Hawaii in a short amount of time.
“We can see if there was a higher rate of COVID-19 in some part of the state, we can see if there was a higher rate among first responders, or restaurant workers, there is a lot of important information which will further arm my colleagues in health to respond,” said Green.
He is also working with a team to see how warmer temperatures play a roll in slowing down the virus.
“When temperatures reach 95 degrees you see about a 95% decrease in the survivability of the virus,” he said. “Droplets dry up, the virus dies much faster so I’ve been anticipating and had some of our partners do some analytics for me.”
“If temperatures are normal for Hawaii and the trends hold like they have over the years for Hawaii, come May 20, we’ll see a significant additional decline in the survivability of the virus which will also help us ,” he said.
He said most of the country will also see a steep decline as summer heats up.
Although Hawaii’s numbers remain low, he reminded the public that beaches are not open for sunbathing and fun.
“The rules are… you can go exercise, you can be with your family exercising, we are not sunbathing at the beach, we cannot cluster and stay at the beach,” he said.
“The beach itself is not for lounging and hanging out. Save that for like June, I think that’s when all of that will be good. We’ll let our tans fade for a little bit, and stay alive a little more. I think that’s a good trade off,” Green said.
“I have to say Hawaii people made me very proud that they have tolerated a very, very hard period and we’re going to be better and stronger for this and we’re going to be able to re-assess our priorities as an economy and people. Lots of good will come from this and very little downside once we get through the economic woes. It’s amazing we haven’t had more cases or fatalities, it’s totally amazing.”
The stay at home order for Hawaii was extended through May 31.
Anyone flying into Hawaii will also be required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.