Hospitalizations hit record high as mayors, governor discuss restrictions


HONOLULU (KHON2) — There were roughly 380 COVID hospitalizations statewide earlier Friday afternoon. It’s the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began.

However, many health officials are wondering why restrictions weren’t put in place ahead of the three-day holiday weekend.

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“We had so many more restrictions in place, earlier in the pandemic, when we had fewer cases,” explained Maui Health Systems CEO Michael Rembis. “We have more now. We have more illness. We have more ICU patients than ever before, and we have fewer restrictions than we’ve ever had. I’m concerned.”

Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth sent a request to Governor David Ige to shut down Big Island beaches and to bring back the pre-travel testing program for all travelers. Roth said 90% of Big Island coronavirus patients are unvaccinated.

“People ask ‘are these vaccines working?’” Roth said. “Well yeah, they’re working, they’re designed to keep people from dying, and getting seriously ill, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”

A total lockdown has been discussed, but some say it wouldn’t be fair to punish the vaccinated.

“If you shut everything down, and you send people back into bankruptcy, not able to pay their rent or their mortgage or food for their kids because 17% of the people have chosen not to be safe, it’s a very harsh decision to make,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green.

A vaccine passport would allow vaccinated individuals into restaurants, bars, and gyms while unvaccinated people would have to take a pre-test beforehand.

“I would be in favor of vaccine passport being able to show your card before you go into the business that you’re fully vaccinated to reduce the spread and not mixing vaccinated and not vaccinated people together,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said on Thursday.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said he will support any uniform preventative measures the governor deems fit.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s team said the city is working to determine what is feasible.

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The governor’s office said it will not comment on proposals while they’re being reviewed or discussed.

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