Maui cases continue to increase as County waits on rule modification approval from Gov. Ige

Coronavirus

WAILUKU, Hawaii (KHON2) — Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is still awaiting approval from Gov. David Ige to modify some rules as the county continues to see double-digit cases.

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The Hawaii Department of Health’s (DOH) latest cluster report shows 108 cases on Maui linked to apartment complexes including the Harbor Lights Condominium complex.

Other clusters are linked to restaurants, food suppliers and social gatherings.

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Mayor Victorino said two cases were mainland travel-related, one was from inter-island travel and five were from long-term care facilities.

“A number are coming from a landscaping company with multiple cases,” Mayor Victorino added. “Dr. Lorrin Pang and his group are there right now making sure we catch any spread.”

Maui County has seen a drastic increase in cases since September.

According to the DOH COVID-19 dashboard, Maui County reported 31 cases in March; 84 in April; five in May; five cases in June; 44 cases in July; 172 in August; 50 in September; 133 in October; 150 in November; 483 in December; and as of Thursday, Jan. 14, there have been 348 cases.

Mayor Victorino requested during the week of Monday, Jan. 11, that big box stores limit their capacity by 30% and mom-and-pop retailers drop their capacity to 50%.

He also asked Gov. Ige to require all incoming travelers to download the Aloha Safe Alert App which helps with contact tracing.

Senator J Kalani English (D) Hana, Lanai, Molokai, helped roll out the app in Hana and Lanai.

He said about 2,000 of the approximately 2,500 Lanai residents downloaded the app.

The app communicates with phones that are within six-feet of the device with the app for more than 15 minutes. The device will receive a notification to get tested if a close contact tests positive.

“The more people who download it, the more effective it becomes,” explained Sen. English. “It’s not tracing you or anything like that.”

“It should help us to bring down the cases of transmission significantly,” he added.

Mayor Victorino also requested essential workers be tested if they are on-island longer than 24 hours.

Victorino has not heard back yet from Governor Ige on his requests.

Cases have also popped up in rural areas on Maui.

Principals at Lanai Elementary and High School and Hana Elementary and High School notified parents this week of one student testing positive at each school.

Senator English said Maui has been diligent in providing rapid tests in several communities and the positive result came from a rapid test.

“I want to be very cautious with the Hana case, because it may, in fact, be a false positive,” Senator English said.

The student did take a second test, but Sen. English wants the community to remain calm and vigilant.

Mayor Victorino said, 250 tests were done in Hana on Thursday, Jan. 14, and zero came back positive.

He added that 500 more tests will be done at Harbor Lights this weekend.

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