HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige said he is frustrated because he believes Hawaii’s surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations could have been avoided.

“I definitely feel like it was preventable if we could have gotten more people vaccinated sooner,” Ige said to KHON2’s Lauren Day.

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On Wednesday, Aug. 25, tougher restrictions on social gatherings went into effect for Oahu.

Ige said he will have no choice but to implement even more restrictions if Hawaii’s COVID situation does not get better.

“We are trying to look at targeted restrictions and measures that can get to the activity that we see spreading the virus,” he said.

Ige said he does not want to implement a full lockdown like 2020s stay at home order, however.

“I think what we would not want to do is just a broad shutdown of all businesses,” Ige said. “We clearly understand that businesses are struggling, and we don’t want to create more economic turmoil in our community.”

Ige made national headlines this week for his announcement telling visitors not to come to Hawaii.

“Now is not a good time to come to Hawaii,” he reiterated.

Ige did not make changes to the Safe Travels program, despite the request. He said re-implementing the pre-travel test is not easy.

“Our safe travels program was built on CDC guidance and CDC guidance at this point in time is those who are fully vaccinated can travel without testing,” he said about the challenges when it comes to restricting travel to the islands.

The governor said the virus is not going away anytime soon. He added that the numbers show people are letting their guards down — including those who are fully vaccinated.

“We are seeing more vaccinated individuals becoming sick,” he said. “Because they’re vaccinated, they think that they don’t have COVID. Their symptoms are mild… and yet they are carrying a very significant viral load of the virus, and can infect others.”

Ige said Hawaii needs to learn to live with the virus and to slow the spread. The community needs to act like it did at the start of the pandemic, according to Ige.

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“[I] just want to ask everyone to not have a gathering for the next four to six weeks, so we can stop spreading the virus,” he said.