COVID-19 cases on the rise, could we be facing tighter restrictions again?

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID-19 cases have been in triple digits the past three days.

With the Easter holiday upon us, there are concerns things could get worse forcing officials to tighten restrictions again.

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Positive COVID cases are on the rise statewide: 100 on March 31, 114 on April 1, and 136 on April 2.

Honolulu’s weekly average is currently 58, putting the county at risk of snapping back to Tier 2.

That is something people don’t want.

Honolulu resident Teri Okuda said she thinks Honolulu should stay in Tier 3 “as long as people continue to maintain the safety protocols.”

Others think restrictions should be loosened even more.

“I think with the vaccinations and everything and a lot of the locals, we’ve all been, as far as I can see, been following the rules and social distancing,” said Honolulu resident Robyn Finai. “I think we should be able to move forward, not backwards.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said it would take more than current case counts to make that happen.

“To snap back, the mayor needs to go to the governor and ask for permission to move it back to Tier 2,” Caldwell explained. “If I was mayor today, I think I would recognize it would be very hard to snap back to Tier 2 and get everyone to comply.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi issued the following statement:

We are in consultation with the Governor and Hawai’i Department of Health given our shared concern regarding the recent increase in positive COVID-19 case counts. As we enter the Easter holiday weekend we stress to the public that hosting or participating in large unpermitted social gatherings will put more people at risk. The recent rogue events involving large illegal gatherings with no mask wearing and no physical distancing are jeopardizing our current Tier 3 status and are completely unacceptable.

HONOLULU MAYOR RICK BLANGIARDI

Blangiardi did not mention tightening restrictions.

“Instead of focusing on moving back,” Caldwell said, “I would focus on holding the line in Tier 3 and getting to Tier 4 and supporting Mayor Blangiardi with what he’s done in terms of opening up more businesses.”

Caldwell said the tier system was created before there was a vaccine and was meant to be organic.

“I think it could be modified and adjusted, it was always meant to do so,” he explained. “It was modified by Mayor Blangiardi, I think in very good ways.”

He said it makes sense to look at more than just case counts and positivity rates to decide whether to move back a tier.

“It could be other types of things. One I would be looking at the hospitals and how many people are in there,” said Caldwell.

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