Gov. Ige considers bringing back stay-at-home order

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials say Oahu hospitals are close to the point of being overwhelmed, and Governor David Ige is considering bringing back more restrictions for Oahu, like the stay-at-home order.

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Additional restrictions such as limited gatherings and the shut down of parks and beaches were brought back one week ago. And the number of daily cases keeps growing. So Gov. Ige says stricter measures are coming if things don’t get better.

“This could include going back to the stay-at-home orders or other restrictive measure that we need to implement in order to stem the increase in the number of COVID cases. It also means that we will be looking at a delay of the transpacific pre-travel testing program,” said Ige.

He says more restrictions will only apply to Oahu because an overwhelming majority of the cases are there. As for delaying the reopening of tourism to transpacific travelers, he says he has not made an official decision.

“With the case count increasing the way it has, it will be very difficult to implement and start the pre-travel testing program on September 1. But we have not made that decision. We do want to see another few days of data,” said Ige.

The governor also announced that new leadership will be in charge of the contact tracing duties at the state health department. Dr. Emily Roberson and Deputy Director Dannette Wong Tomiyasu will take over after calls from the lieutenant governor and other state leaders to replace Dr. Sarah Park.

“There’s always room for improvement. Dr. Roberson will be working on increasing efficiency capacity and reach and effectiveness of the Disease Investigative Branch,” said Tomiyasu.

She says more contact tracers will be hired to add on to the 100 currently on Oahu and plus 21 from the Hawaii National Guard.

“We are onboarding approximately 20 contact tracers hired from the UH training program with another 20 beginning the onboarding process next week,” said Tomiyasu.

Staff from other branches of DOH will be added but it’s not clear if that even comes close to what some health experts say is needed for Hawaii, which is more than 500.

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