Hawaii mayors weigh more restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — COVID-19 cases are surging across all islands while Gov. David Ige and county mayors discuss the possibility of bringing back tougher restrictions in order to reduce virus transmission.

The state is dealing with a steady increase of COVID-19 cases; The daily new case average stands at 713.

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Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said the delta variant remains a concern for the county, he said it is time to take action and request more restrictions.

Victorino said, “It’s spreading all over, all over the state, all over this county.”

The virus is once again making its way into smaller rural communities. On Thursday, Aug. 19, four cases were reported on Molokai and one on Lanai.

“One of them was a particular business on Molokai, for which there was a lot of contact with that business. It’s a financial institution and they’ve done their proper cleanup, shut down,” Victorino said. “On Lanai, it was an individual case, contracted they believe when they came here to Maui for some business.” 

Mayor Victorino asked residents to wear masks, physically distance and get vaccinated, now more than ever. He said more COVID-19 restrictions will likely be announced soon.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami in a statement said, while hospital capacity on the Garden Isle is not a concern at this point, patients in need of more care could tax hospitals on Oahu.

“Here on Kauai, while we are seeing higher case counts, we are not experiencing the same capacity concerns at our healthcare facilities that other islands are facing. The Department of Health has been in close contact with the CEO’s of both of our local hospitals and we continue to be in a manageable position. However, we are one state. I recognize that any patient on Kauai who requires medical transport will be draining an already-taxed healthcare system on Oahu. In that sense, I am open to support any uniform preventative measures the Governor deems fit for all four counties.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, meanwhile, did not discard a vaccine passport proposal for restaurants, gyms and other social activities.

“All we really have to do is, work with either Clear or CommonPass, who we already have a deep relationship with, who are helping us with the Safe Travels program to show that people are vaccinated,” Green said. “It may very well make things easier in life because then people can go to concerts and be vaccinated and safe.” 

Victorino said he would not oppose a vaccine passport program for certain activities.

Victorino said, “There comes a point where sometimes you got to take punitive action because incentives don’t seem to work.” 

The governor and county mayors are also discussing the possibility of bringing back a pre-travel test requirement for people coming into the state.

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