More positive cases expected as Lanai begins its two-week shut-down


LANAI CITY, Hawaii (KHON2) — Lanai is on lock-down. Oct. 27 marked the first day of a mandatory 14-day stay-at-home order for the Pineapple Island that runs through Nov. 11. The order prohibits all travel to and from the island except for essential business.

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The order was put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 within the tight-knit community. A cluster emerged on Lanai on Oct. 20 with four cases. Within a week the number of cases increased to 87.

“People are just kind of, they’re not panicking. They’re worried, they’re concerned, it is scary. But there’s no need for panic,” said Lanai resident Kathy Carroll.

Kathy and her husband Mike, own the Mike Carroll Gallery. She said it is frustrating as a small business owner to have to close again when they just started seeing customers.

But Carroll added that she knows the shutdown is necessary and what is best for the community.

“It’s one of those, you know, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst situations,” said Carroll.

Lanai resident Helen Tabura said she thinks officials should have locked things down sooner.

“I think a lot of people on Lanai already been on lockdown because they’re afraid,” Tabura said.

Pine Island Market assistant manager Corie Honda said residents have been stocking up since last week. The market is one of just two grocery stores on the island.

Honda said they were running short on some supplies last week and are waiting for the barge to arrive on Oct. 28.

Even though the stay-at-home order took effect on Oct. 27, Honda said business was steady all day with people coming in to buy essentials.

“Rice, water, canned food — those are the top. Just their basic everyday needs,” said Honda.

Lanai Community Health Center Associate Medical Director Jared Medeiros said they have identified some hot spots and households impacted by the virus. He believes the lock-down will help contain the spread.

“If we can kind of get everybody to just stop movement, we need to prevent those (infected) households from jumping from another household to another household. That’s the part that’s been really key. Then the other part we’re combating is the passing of the virus within households,” Medeiros explained.

The Department of Health confirmed 87 cases on Lanai on Oct. 27, but Medeiros said there will likely be more positive cases in the coming days.

“We have a lot of tests from Monday that are still pending. I have a high suspicion they’re positive because they’re from individuals in the same household as positive patients,” said Medeiros.

He said three out of 108 tests administered on Oct. 25 at Lanai Community Health Center came in positive on Oct. 26. DOH still needs to confirm the three positive cases before they are added to the official case count. Medeiros said they are still waiting for results from the other 105 tests.

More people are also experiencing COVID-19 symptoms compared to last week, according to Medeiros.

“Hypoxia is definitely going on now, or people’s oxygenation rates are starting to drop.”

He said it causes people to feel lightheaded and dizzy.

“Your body’s not able to get oxygen where it needs to go because, you know, it just can’t function right. So the lungs are not working good.”

Due to limited medical facilities, Medeiros said he has already sent one patient off-island for treatment.

“I’m likely to send possibly another four to five more patients off (Wednesday) to go to Maui, preemptively.”

Another mass testing event will take place on Oct. 31. residents who haven’t been tested are urged to.

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