Gov. Ige: Hawaii doesn’t meet the criteria to start reopening

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Eleven new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, April 16, bringing the statewide total to 541.

Among the new cases, two healthcare workers at Wahiawa General Hospital Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. And on the Big Island, another person tested positive in connection with the cluster at a Kona McDonald’s.

Officials say that this downward trend is good news and that we’re beginning to flatten the curve.

But a lot still needs to be done in order to reopen the state.

When it comes to reopening the city, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the stay-at-home order will remain but with modifications. Don’t think daily living will be back to normal when COVID-19 cases start to drop. There are 4 criteria city officials need to see before moving towards reopening:

  • Epidemiology: We need to see a decrease in cases
  • Healthcare system: Do we have sufficient PPEs for health care workers?
  • Public health system: We have a system in place for contact tracing
  • Societal readiness: How do we continue to practice good social distancing?

“I think the days of sitting together to watch a football game in the short term is not going to occur. Or watching a volleyball game at Stan Sheriff Center or going to our Blaisdell for a rock concert or symphony concert. Won’t be happening until the very end of this pandemic when it’s eliminated,” said Mayor Caldwell.

Eventually, the plan is to open small businesses first and still practice social distancing.

“And by the way, if we see a spike, we may actually pull back from where we are. We modify the order, the stay-at-home, work-at-home order, to retreat a bit before we go,” said the Mayor.

Governor David Ige says we appear to be flattening the curve. But adds Hawaii does not satisfy the White House criteria for a phased opening at this time.

“Notably, this requires a downward trajectory of cases for a 14-day period. We’re making progress but we’re not there yet,” said Gov. Ige. “The focus really is on the trajectory of new cases identified. There are a number of conditions that are in the guidelines we’re looking at also.”

We looked at the President’s proposal and found the 14-day downward trajectory of cases, as a reopening criterion, can be based on either a downward trajectory of documented cases or fewer positives as a percent of overall tests. Hawaii’s overall number of currently-ill COVID patients has dropped for nine straight days. And our analysis shows the percent of positives compared to overall cases is lower today in Hawaii than it was 14 days ago.

The governor says Hawaii’s economy is at a complete standstill. Officials are looking at all options but if salary cuts were made, the Governor says it will start with him and his cabinet members.


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